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Raye Addresses Smith and Spread Offense

Posted by Scott Kegley on November 27, 2009 – 1:38 PM

Since Alex Smith took over as the 49ers starting quarterback, the offense has gone to more of a spread offense with up to four wide receivers while putting Smith, for the most part, in the shotgun.  While Smith and the 49ers seem to have had more success out of this formation, as evidenced by a three touchdown second half against Green Bay, offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye said the increased yardage from the spread can be attributed more to the situation rather than the scheme.

“The quantity of the yards and quality of the yards has to be measured by the score and the time in the game,” Raye said.  “I don’t think the formation per se had a whole lot to do with it. The fact that we were in a semi-rally mode because we were down by four scores had something to do with it. We converted third downs, which meant we got more plays.”

After the team’s first drive against Green Bay in which the offense got in position to tie the game at 3-3 following a field goal, Raye noted that “from that point on, it was downhill.”
The main reason for the inconsistency in the offense according to Raye is that the unit hasn’t had time to work together and establish cohesion.

“I think this offense has been in transition since I’ve been here,” Raye said.  “You name a week that we haven’t been in transition, from an injury standpoint, from a runner standpoint, a receiver standpoint, an offensive line standpoint. The thing we have been is in transition.”

Despite the inconsistency from the offense as a whole, Raye has been pleased with the progress he’s seen from Smith.

“I think Alex so far, his maturation in the 14 quarters, has been very good,” Raye said.  “I would anticipate going forward that as we improve in other areas of our play offensively, his growth will continue. He’s become a little more assertive.”

One of the things Raye has been pleased with is how Smith has inserted himself into the game planning going into each week.  Smith talks to Raye frequently about some of the things the offense does and does not do well.

“He has the opportunity to ‘red line’ his wish list,” Raye said.  “The quarterbacks get a wish list at the beginning of every week. They get to list in priority the things they like and the things they don’t like. They get to red line things they don’t want or don’t feel comfortable with, or they can suggest things they’d rather have. As I tell them and all of the players, it’s democratic, but it’s not 50-50 because they don’t spend as much time looking at it or preparing as we do.”

With the great dialog between quarterback and coordinator, Raye believes it’s only a matter of time before things start to click.

“Alex is a very bright individual. As he gains confidence, the more his intelligence plays to his physical ability. I hope that is what we’re witnessing. Only winning and time will tell that.”


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28 Responses to “Raye Addresses Smith and Spread Offense”

  1. By DA Booko on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    when you are on the outside its easy to say that is wrong and this should be done but when you are on the inside actually doing the work there is a different sight level there so lets see what is going to happen I know you all are working hard to get better and I am sure you will. I know we will see better play soon Niners 4 Life

  2. By kyle parker on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    I really think you need to stay in a spread offence,your run the ball, play defense mantality does’nt work and is too predictable.the defense gets tired,cause there on the field way too much!!we can’t convert on third downs with your basic offense and irrattic play calling,your offense has no rythem and does’nt score touchdowns.when you go to shotgun you score touchdowns,i have been waiting for weeks now for you to put two and two together and run that offense,not only when we are behind

  3. By ron on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    not hard to see that the passing offense works, look at the cardinals, colts, or patriots they are having plenty of success with it, I’ve been a niner fan since 86 and watched joe montana, steve young & jeff garcia they relied heavily on the passing game, they went to the play off’s & have superbowl rings, except for jeff garcia, they were NEVER ranked below 15th place in offense, jerry rice would have never gotten his fame if the niners went by the same offensive plays they go by now which is run run run until your behind by 20 points and then go back to catch up with the passing game, i love frank gore but these are not the same offensive plays that got the other two great QB’s & wide recieve all into the hall of fame….if you want to catch a team off guard throw throw throw then run from the beginning of the game then when your ahead by 21 points then go back to run run run to take time off the clock..

  4. By Rob Wise on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    In my opinion, If the spread scheme forces the defense to have to spread out as well, the defenses can then not afford to overload the box with 8+ (good for Gore) without leaving either 1 on 1 coverage on our receivers. By us mixing in some passes to Gore or TE Walker in the flat if TE Davis and the WR’s are covered within the spread, it would make sense to keep this short pass or even a screen option within that formation. Although I agree with Jimmy Raye that the situation had an impact of the outcome, I disagree that it was primarily the situation, not the scheme that caused the success.

    My two cents worth are this. I believe it was both the scheme AND the situation that helped the 49ers comeback. I say this because the 49ers seem to have shown more success in the spread all season with receivers and backs getting open within that scheme. And although I agree that Alex is improving, he still is not quick enough on his reads in the 3 to 5 step drops. By the time he makes his decision to pass the ball in many cases, his opportunity to hit the open receiver has changed. I believe that the spread/shotgun scheme creates simplified and more readable opportunities for Alex to identify his potential receivers, not to mention it gives him more time to see the blitzes develop and adjust. Mix in some screens and passes to backs in the flat and defenses aren’t going to know what hit them with we go up 21-0. My two cents worth.

  5. By Tumbleweed on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    How do you know it will not work at the beginning of a game if we never try it? I think we should mix it in before we get behind and then we will be able to run more later!

  6. By Nerdonest on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    I like what I’m seeing from Alex Smith, he is progressing nicely, all he needs is time. Time in a stable offense. Vernon Davis is having his best season as a ‘9er which is helping Smith greatly. And I’m glad to see that Crabtree is asserting himself in this offense. The extra passes going his way that are being completed is helping Smith. All in all it takes everyone on offense meshing well to help one player be great as well as the whole unit.

  7. By Mario Jr. on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    It will happen. Some fans dont have an eye or a sense of the game. i believe this team will gel and strong explosive because of offensive weapon. The avg. age is 24 and the way things look, man I am stoked.

  8. By c on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    Rayes offense is too old school,he needs to get more creative and take more shots down the field.

  9. By Johnny B on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    I just think that it is unacceptable for the best player on the team to have 10 touches regardless of the score. Alex Smith has shown improvment, but it seems like we are throwing the ball too much on 1st down. Gore had 7 carries for 59 yards against the pack. If Gore gets 20 carries in a game he is going to break one. I have just been very disappointed in the amount of touches he gets. The Colts game made me sick. We acted like we had Peyton Manning on our side when we had the lead and kept throwing the ball. We led in the game for 3 and a half quarters and Gore only got 13 carries. It just doesn’t make sense

  10. By p-52 bomber on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    ALEX SMITH IS NOT THE PROBLEM, WHAT IS IS THE OFFENSIVE LINE, JIMMY RAYE’S PLAY CALLING, AND UPTIGHT PLAY CALLING FROM HIM IN THE FIRST QUARTER. IF THE SPREAD OFFENSE WORKS, THEN USE IT THROUGHOUT THE GAME BEFORE ITS TOO LATE! NEXT SIX GAMES ARE WINNABLE. LETS GO 10 AND 6!

  11. By Rick Carroll INDIANA on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    Alex played spread at Utah, and with the recievers starting to come around, I say we do it a little more often. Not every rep, but at least start the game out opeing it up.

  12. By Rick Carroll INDIANA on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    I read a little more into it, and Raye says that its more of the situation than the formation. I have to disagree a little. See we always get behind, and thats when we”open” It up. Maybe we should come out firing, and use gore to keep em honest. I agree somewhat that the game dictates the formations and schemes, but i think we should let the formation dictate the game. Either way, we seam to be more effective when we are throwing the ball in a wide open formation. Gore will always get his carries, but Raye has been way too predictable this year. Hey its 3 and 1, or 4th and 1, lets give it to Norris on the FB dive.

  13. By Indiana Jim on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Martin. Couldn’t you just post a link? Hmmm?

  14. By The Rock on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    Pretty late in the season but… there is still hope.. I agree that the 9ers need to pass more to open up the running game.. but lets at least run some to the outside and not everything up the middle .. Gore has broken some of his up the middle runs to a little off tackle and made 5 to 7 yards on each of thoes carries.. running is still a must but start with the pass and let the run come later… good receivers….. great running back….. a quarterback that can throw deep,….. just need the O line to do their job…….. But it can be done…

  15. By Paul Mitchell Valencia ca on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    J Raye says it situation that has lead to success with the spread. This is what doesn’t make sense and should tell everyone why he makes poor adjustments.
    A defense knows when you are down by 20 points you have to throw the ball and that most plays are going to be passing 85% or more will be.
    Yet A. Smith and the rerceivers have been successful dsoing this. Yes they go to a prevent defense but a 3 – 4 rerceiver set it is difficult for a defensive to defend agaisnt.
    It would be nice to see them open with that and stay with it and get the defense on their heels early. This will allow for F. Gore to really get the holes he needs from the offensive line and allow the offense to control the ball more. Just my observation.

  16. By Csags on Nov 27, 2009 | Reply

    “C’mon Man”, Jimmy Raye believes that the success of the spread offense can be attributed more to situation rather than the scheme, so in other words you still don’t think that the spread formation works and you’re only going to use it when the Niners are behind 20+ points. Mmm, I get it now, Jimmy Raye’s offensive philosophy is lets get behind early, tire out the defense and play catch up at the last minute. “Wow that’s a pretty unique philosophy that’s going to catch opponents off guard and its going to lead the Niners to the playoffs.” Its not too hard to see that Alex Smith is most comfortable with the spread formation and with a talented young recieving corp of Crabtree, Davis, and Morgan, I say why not use it. It’s OK to make adjustments, that’s what good teams do in order to keep winning.

  17. By scott on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    Hopefully, whats addressed…is that we draft a (good) QB in the upcoming draft. Time to stop putting band aids on bullet wounds. Our offense has been pretty pathetic since the departure of Jeff Garcia who was on the downslide back then too. Gore has been great, and vernon davis and hopefully crabtree will pan out. But until we see a QB that can throw for over 300 yards in a game, and finish the season with more td’s than picks, we will always see a struggling offense, and a defense thats struggles from being on the field too long…like now, oh, and learn to tackle “D”! GIMME SOME TEEBOW! Wake up front office, we need some help!

  18. By DA Booko on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    Scott for lack of a better word your are and Idiot or you just watch the high lights

  19. By 49erFaithful on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    run the spread or lose. i don’t care what raye or singletary have to say.. it’s been working & nothing else has.. NOTHING! Gore running all game is not winning you nor is gonna win you any games.. Singletary is talking about post-season teams having to run the ball more, WELL GUESS WHAT SING! GET THERE 1st, then “mention” playoffs will ya.. you are way on the other side right now

  20. By Martin on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    By Jeff Kaplan

    You’ve gotta DO something. Now.

    I know you weren’t expecting this. Not even two months ago, you were right where you wanted to be. Three and one and atop your division. You’d promised the playoffs, and some said you’d already clinched them. And your coach, your first hire, already was coach of the year.

    Sure, some of us were nervous. Too often we’d seen strong starts go up in smoke. In 2008 we went two and one, and then we lost six in a row. In 2007, two and oh and then EIGHT in a row. Nervous as we were, though, something just felt different now. Yeah, we had more talent. But mainly it was that coach. His will, his drive, his knack for wringing every drop of effort out of every last player. There’d be no collapse, not this time. He simply wouldn’t allow it.

    Yet here we are again. After three and one, we lost four in a row, and now we’ve lost five out of six. Our playoff hopes are virtually dead; your promise is all but broken.

    In two short months, your season’s been ruined. And your coach, Mike Singletary, is the guy who’s ruined it.

    Scot McCloughan hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, but we’ve got enough talent to win. We went into Minny and lost by three; the Vikings are nine and one. We went into Indy and lost by four; the Colts are ten and oh. In recent years, the talent gap between us and the league’s elite was so mammoth that we’d simply be flattened. Now we’ve stood toe to toe, to the very end. So say what you want about our deficits at quarterback, offensive line, and outside linebacker, to name a few. We’ve got the talent to compete with anyone, and that means we’ve got enough talent to win.

    That’s why THIS collapse is the worst of them all. Mike Nolan was certainly not a good coach, but no one could win with a roster like his. Sure, the losses hurt. But only a few years out of the Donahue purge, we knew we were simply outgunned. The coaching didn’t help, of course, but you need talent first. We didn’t have nearly enough.

    This year, not so. We’ve GOT talent. And Singletary, his magic already gone, has stubbornly, stupidly thrown it away.

    Let me take you back a few weeks, to the game in Houston. We were three and two, still in first place, and coming off our bye. Despite that extra time to prepare, our offense was woefully flat. In the first half, Singletary’s precious run-first scheme made three first downs and 50 yards. Down 21 zip at halftime, Singletary showed he could make an adjustment. Operating out of the spread, Alex Smith threw for 206 yards and three scores, before we fell just one score short.

    Fast forward to Sunday’s Packer game. We were four and five, lucky we weren’t three and six, and coming off our “mini-bye.” Despite that extra time to prepare, our offense was woefully flat. In the first half, Singletary’s precious run-first scheme made one first down and 57 yards. Down 23 three at halftime, Singletary showed he could make an adjustment. Operating out of the spread, Alex Smith threw for 222 yards and three scores, before we fell just one score short.

    Surely, Jed, you see the insanity.

    After that Houston game, every rational observer asked the same question: what would happen if we made the spread our primary offense? A month later, with the season lost, we still don’t know. As Singletary put it, “How good we are, I don’t know because we haven’t given ourselves a chance to find out.” He was trying to put the blame on his players, as coaches do when they’re feeling the heat. But really–and rightly–his words put the blame on himself. It’s true. We DON’T know how good we are, because our coach is simply unwilling to give his players the chance to prove it. A coach’s job is to give his players the best chance to succeed, and Singletary’s simply not doing his job.

    And now, predictably, the players are starting to grouse. Wisely, Smith won’t bite the hand that’s given him his second chance. But his primary weapons? No such hesitation. Vernon Davis, a captain: “We’ve just got to come out from the beginning and take advantage of things we can take advantage of, and if that means spread the ball, maybe we need to do that. But that’s not up to me; that’s up to our offensive coordinator [Jimmy Raye, Singletary's puppet].” And Michael Crabtree, a ROOKIE: “That would be good. [But] that’s out of my range. All I can do is [run] the plays. … I really can do something in that spread. When I was in college, that was all we ran.” The same, of course, can be said of Smith.

    But naturally, Singletary simply will not give in, and his excuses only get worse and worse. He dismisses all the success of the spread, saying the defense is merely relaxing; of course, if the defense is “relaxing,” it’s only because, thanks to our incompetent run-first scheme, the defense is sitting on a comfortable lead. He even suggests that “if you were in the basic two-back set, I think you’d probably get the same results,” a suggestion that’s preposterous on its face. And finally, there’s this doozy: “I think one of the worst things that we could do right now is to put Alex Smith in shotgun and say, ‘OK. Let’s go get it guys. Here’s what it is.’ … I think the smartest thing for us to do continuing to go forward is not to take all of training camp, not to take all of what we have gone into this season and just throw it out and say we’re going to go to shotgun.”

    And there you have it, Jed. We’re gonna stick with what we’ve practiced, even though it clearly sucks. And no matter how great we are at the spread–just think how great we’d be with some practice!–well, we certainly won’t be saying “Let’s go get it guys.” Nope. Going and getting it? That’d be one of the worst things we could do.

    Jed, you’ve gotta put an end to this. It’s not your fault you were captivated by Singletary’s spell; we all were. But the spell’s been broken, along with your promise. He’s lost the season, he’s losing his team, and he seems as well to be losing his mind. And the clock is ticking, POUNDING even. Gruden’s taken himself off the market. The Bills and Redskins are sniffing around Shanahan. And Holmgren is shopping in Seattle and Cleveland. You can’t wait. You’ve gotta move.

    I know you weren’t expecting this. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. But if you want us to believe in you, to believe you’re really different, to believe indeed you “won’t rest until we reestablish a championship culture,” you simply can’t just stand there.

    You’ve gotta DO something. Now.

  21. By chris on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    WOW JIMMY! i think ur time is up! what he said sort of made sense……..but until u prove to all the niner fans out there that u can call some DECENT offensive plays and mix it up a little bit what do us fans need u for? i can call better plays! COME ON lets win every game and go 10-6

  22. By jo on Nov 28, 2009 | Reply

    Hmm………Interesting indeed.

  23. By katehasit on Nov 29, 2009 | Reply

    About the offense, Singletary says “We just aren’t executing”. Jimmy Ray says “We just aren’t executing” meaning the original intent of running 60%- oline, running back, quaterback. We just need to stay on track, keep at it and EXECUTE better. The players are saying it- Smith etal in their interviews after losing.
    Please- put them in a situation where they DO execute better. Have the offense do what has proven to work .What suits their skills- and right now it looks like passing- with Smith in the shotgun. Let them get into a rhythm. It will give them confidence instead of
    feeling they just didn’t execute the plan that was given them when the plan is whats at fault. Please, let them execute WINNING – before their confidence in their own play and the coaches erodes

  24. By Joe on Nov 29, 2009 | Reply

    I have been a 49er fan for a while but I see things a different way. This season has seen the emergance of Vernon Davis as a more effective playmaker with possible pro bowl stature, it has seen the appearance of Michael Crabbtree as a go to reciever and it has seen Alex Smith come out of the shadows to post some reasonable stats (over 61 % completion percentage on pasing and 9 touchdowns to 7 ints). I attribute the more effective use of Vernon Davis and the re- emergence of Alex Smith to Coach Raye’s coaching skill. Things are going a little slowly, but progress is being made. Coach Raye said at the begining of the season that his offensive style would feature the tight end possition and he has kept his word. I think we need the rest of the season to evaluate whether Alex Smith is “the guy” at quarter back.

    I found that the most recent interview on KNBR with former 9er Steve Young on Evaluating Alex Smith to be very helpful in understanding Alex’s situation.
    Steve’s comentary seemed to be that the 49ers needed the rest of the season to evaluate Smith. Well, let’s see what happens.

    Former 9er coach Mike Martz (on a viideo on the NFL web page) suggested that the mark of a good NFL quarterback is if they can make throws under duress (he spoke this genericly of NFL quarterbacks). I think that Alex Smith is beginning to show he can make some throws under duress.

    Since we are seeing some progress, I would suggest we be a little patient.

  25. By Martin on Nov 29, 2009 | Reply

    Let me guess Hmmmmmm,first down run,second down run,third down throw 2 yard pass.Thats extremely deceptive,If we know thats whats going to be called,I bet the Jags D cant wait to get stops behind the line .

    This conservative play calling is absolutely killing me.

    Firing Mike Martz was the worst move coach Sing has made.But I guess he doesn’t have to rein in Jimmy to much since they think alike.

    RUN.RUN,RUN IF IT DOESN’T WORK RUN AGAIN LOL I KEEP ASKING MYSELF IF THIS IS 1985.

    THIS IS HOW GOOD THAT RUN FIRST SCHEME HAS PLAYED OUT.

    Standings

    Team W L T Stk

    Cardinals 7 3 0 W3
    49ers 4 6 0 L1
    Seahawk 3 7 0 L2
    Rams 1 9 0 L2

    THE PLAYERS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. By Bobbyallgood on Nov 29, 2009 | Reply

    SMITH IS GOOD AND YES THE O HASNT HELPED HIM MUCH BUT C’MON A GOOD QBK KNOWS WHEN TO SCRAMBLE AND GET OUT OF A SITUATION BEFORE ITS TOO LETE SMITH LACKS THAT ABILITY AND HE’S ALSO A POOR DECISION MAKER UNDER PRESSURE RESULTING IN INT OR FUMBLS, EVERY QTRBK IN HIS CLASS HAVE OR ARE MAKING NAMES FOR THEM SELF, SMITH STILL LOOKS LIKE A ROOKIE. HILL HAS OVER 12 SEASONS EXPERIENSE AND HAVE PLAYED FOR OTHER GOOD TEAMS AND HAVE PUT GOOD NUMBERS SO NEEDLESS TO SAY HE HAS A HELL OF A LOT MORE EXPERIENCE AND THAT’S WHAT SHOWS WHEN COMPARING THE TWO. SO AS A NINER FAN I KNOW HILL CAN GIVE US THE BETTER CHANCE TO FINIOSH THE SEASON IN A GOOD NOTE. ITS NOT ABOUT SMITH OR HILL ITS ABOUT THE NINERS!

  27. By Martin on Nov 29, 2009 | Reply

    LET ME GUESS TODAYS GAME PLAN

    SCORE 3 POINTS AND THEN TRY TO RUN THE BALL FOR THE REST OF THE GAME. THIS WILL GIVE US THE TIME OF POSSESSION ADVANTAGE LOL.

    THIS TEAM IS 8 AND 2 TEAM NOT A 4 AND 6.

    IF SOMETHING DOESN’T WORK LETS DO IT AGAIN IF IF WE LOSE EVERY GAME TRYING.

    i WANT TO SEE 3 AND 4 RECEIVER SETS AT THE START OF THE GAME.GO VERTICAL EARLY AND OFTEN.

  28. By Joe on Nov 29, 2009 | Reply

    Great game. Beyond wining the time of possesion battle, the most interesting stat appears to be the 9ers 3rd down conversion percentage 50% vs the Jags (about 25%). The fourth and one play action to Davis and the Gore toe tapper in the endzone after a Smith rollout were fairly interesting plays.Great play calling by Coach Raye.

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