"Communication Problems" = Coaches’ Problem (UPDATED 9/15)

Sep 13, 2010 at 6:32 PM

The more I think about this supposed "communication" issue the more incesed I get at the absolute ridiculous nature of it all. (Here's the background)

We are talking about THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL PART OF COACHING - calling the plays. It's not rocket science. Coaches at the high school and college level do it every game. And there are thirty-one other teams that seemingly have NO problem getting a play called. Well, thirty as Peyton Manning is pretty much an autonomous offensive play-caller.

This just reeks of a coaches' problem. Jimmy Raye is either indecisive, or overly pedantic if he is incapable of getting a play call to quarterback's coach Mike Johnson in time. While most other teams are worrying about how to adjust to a particular blitz scheme, or how to exploit overly aggressive corners (we shall heretofore call this the Pete Carroll adjustment) the 49ers are worrying about whether their offensive coordinator is going to be on the field or in the booth.

What this indicates is a general lack of preparedness by the coaching staff. Raye and Sing do not act decisively in short-yardage, game-critical situations. This is, simply stated, a coaches failure. And if there is failure at the top, it will filter down through the ranks to the rest of the team.

Maybe next week the 49ers will ponder changing their equipment manager. Or. Maybe they should re-evaluate they way they huddle up. I mean, maybe that's why Crabtree isn't running the right plays (according to Smith). Oh wait, Crabtree ran the right plays (according to Sing). But who can really be sure if Alex Smith never got the play call to begin with and had to fill in the blanks? No one really knows because after one week the 49ers have exposed themselves as a team that can't even handle the basics.

It's even worse that I originally thought. This morning I read anaccount by Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports of the 49ers play-calling woes. Here's a choice bit of information from the article:

[quote=Jason Cole]"It seems like Jimmy calls plays from memory a lot of the time and not exactly the way it's written down," said one of the aforementioned sources, adding that the plays often get garbled. "He knows the plays and he knows the right thing to call, but he's fumbling through his papers and it's like, 'Hey, we need to get a play called.' "
So our offensive coordinator is basically sending jumbled, incomplete plays to the sideline and Mike Johnson has to play Jimmy Raye Mad-Libs in order to get the call in.

The grand solution? Put Jimmy Raye on the field. Because Raye, a man who "fumbles through his own papers" while in the relatively calm coaches booth is going to do much better on the sideline. The hectic, bustling, loud, non-desk having, players-flying-at-you sideline. Right.

This is another Band-Aid fix for a team who, thus far, can only beat one NFL team. Themselves.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • rjberryx
    A reasonable fan can't help but wonder how this communication issue has impeded Smiths progress as QB - especially if Smith was being a good soldier and not saying anything until now. Raye seems very articulate on camera and obviously knowledgeable about his career. He and Sing need to get this fixed quickly because the alternatives are not good, since we are already into the season.
    Sep 14, 2010 at 6:19 AM
  • Johnny
    I agree with you completely. I'm so tired of the losing ways. Right now we have no excuse to lose, but we FIND A WAY to do it. The game was disgusting, disturbing and one us fans would like to forget. I guess if there is a silver lining here, it's that the "communication problem" can be fixed (if that's really the issue) It's something that should be a complete non-issue by monday night. Whether Smith wears a wristband or Raye comes to the sidelines or both, I dont care. Just get it done. one thing I had to point out, play call in on time or not, once we were set and ready to go after a TO on those short yardage plays the O-line got ZERO push over the D-line. Wether you have to burn a time out or not, if you get punched in the mouth all day you will lose games. Bottom line: Get it together guys! Act like you're an NFL football team please!
    Sep 13, 2010 at 11:14 PM
    Response: The communication problem is a symptom of the larger problem. You can put a band-aid on it, but something else will rear it's head soon.
  • Andrew from Rishikesh
    This is your basic stuff, snap the ball before the referee calls a delay of game or you blow a timeout. Look at winning teams, they are in and out of the huddle and never get a delay of game penalty. Winning teams are crisp and precise. Kind of reminds me of Joe and Steve running big time offenses. When does this team get it? Will it be next week or next year or never. Pete Carroll showed us that winning is in the present tense even with a team that was blown up in the off season. Singletary's tough guy talk will take on a losers lament in a very short time. We've been down this road so many times in the last 7 or 8 years. If this coaching staff can't run the ball early the game is over.
    Sep 13, 2010 at 10:05 PM
  • jorge
    u need to shut up!!!phillip rivers the good qbs in the nfl is struggling in kc! idiot its only game 1 we will bounce back.
    Sep 13, 2010 at 9:14 PM
    Response: You're right, it is only week one. And this team could still very well win the division. But Phillip Rivers doesn't have to worry about wether or not his coaching staff can CALL PLAYS. And losing by a score is way different that getting blown out.
  • NinerNate
    Completely agree. First, how in the world is this even an issue? These are professionals! Second, this was an issue in the preseason, why in the world did they not solve it? Singletary's run/defense philosophy can get a team to a Super Bowl once every 5 or so years if the defense is truly elite. Truly elite defenses require pass rushers, and the 49ers haven't cared to invest in one in awhile. Meanwhile, repeatedly telegraphing running plays to the other team will NEVER work, I don't care if you have an All-Pro line. The importance of effective play calling can't be overstated, and this team can't get a freaking play to the QB much less call an effective game. Beyond the tough talk and media adoration, the 49ers have a coach that doesn't know what he's doing on game day. Raye's failures fall on Singletary as well. This game was a complete disaster with no silver lining. The only saving grace is that the NFC West still sucks, and 8 games could possibly win it.
    Sep 13, 2010 at 8:53 PM
  • DieHard
    C'mon dude, I think you mean incensed. –verb (used with object), -censed, -cens·ing. to inflame with wrath; make angry; enrage. Not incessed. incesed- no dictionary results
    Sep 13, 2010 at 8:05 PM
    Response: Good catch. You can only spell check so much on an iPad while watching the Monday night game at Hooters :)

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