Very interesting KNBR interview yesterday with Jim Trotter, the SI reporter who, along with Adam Schefter, broke the news about the Jimmy Raye hire Wednesday evening. According to Trotter, before Mike Singletary made his final choice for offensive coordinator, he brought the two finalists, Raye and Hue Jackson, and had them sit down and talk football with the rest of his assistants, both offensive and defensive. After the session, Singletary then asked the assistants to make a choice. According to Trotter, it was unanimous in favor of Raye.
This seems to be vintage Singletary. His management style, one that was effective late in the season, is one of ownership. That is, he has the people involved, in this case his assistants, buy into the decisions that are being made. It reminds me of the late-season game in St. Louis during which Shaun Hill was struggling mightily and was nearly benched for J.T. O'Sullivan. Following the near benching, Singletary brought Hill to the sideline, gathered the rest of the offensive players around the quarterback and said, "You guys figure this out." Then he walked away. The approach was the polar opposite of Mike Nolan's micromanagement style. And it also was effective. Hill and the 49ers scored two late-game touchdowns and enjoyed a last-minute win over the Rams.
Raye says he wants a "square-backed" fullback who will "bloody some noses." Raye yesterday must have mentioned Tony Richardson, his do-everything fullback in Kansas City, a half dozen times. It's interesting to note that Richardson also followed Raye to the New York Jets this season and that Richardson is scheduled to be a free agent next month. Will he land in San Francisco in 2009? Richardson is 37 and is nearing the end of his career. But who knows Raye's offense and Raye's mentality better than Richardson? ...
***Update, 11:30 a.m. **** Just got off the phone with Richardson, who sang the praises of Raye. I asked him how many more years he intended to play, and he said at least two. He said he has not yet had any conversations with the Jets about renewing his contract there. He thought those talks might begin in a couple of weeks or so as the new coaching staff in New York settles in. I also asked about the possibility of playing in San Francisco. "That's the one thing I've learned about the National Footall League -- you never say never," Richardson said. "Free agency starts in February, so you never know. Never say never."
The 49ers announced that the team has reached agreement with both Raye and quarterbacks coach Michael Johnson. This is the first time the team has officially acknowledged the hires. The two won't actually sign their contracts until they return to Santa Clara next week. Singletary is expected to talk about his new hires at 1 p.m. on a conference call. Stay tuned ...
-- Matt Barrows