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.”
Tags: Alex Smith, jimmy Raye
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