Mike Singletary today said that he considered offensive line coach Mike Solari as a possible successor to Jimmy Raye at offensive coordinator but ultimately decided on Mike Johnson because of his relationship with the team's quarterbacks. "I talked to Mike Solari after I made the decision, and I told him how valuable I thought that he was," Singletary told Murph & Mac on KNBR radio this morning. "... I wanted him to understand that even with the experience he had, I thought that he would help the progression of Mike Johnson."
As far as the quarterbacks ... a week ago, Singletary was ebullient over Alex Smith and said that he thought Smith had played the best game of his career against the Saints. Today he was decidedly more restrained in his praise. He said that Smith did a "nice job" against the Saints but hasn't "played spectacular." Still, he said there was no plan to remove Smith from the starting job. More than anything else, elevating Johnson is designed to get the most out of Smith. "He really - I just feel that we need to do a better job and prepare him and make sure he has all the right things to be successful," Singletary said.
Singletary said the 49ers will allow Smith "to use his feet more" as far as rolling him out in the pocket. That's something Norv Turner did with success in Smith's second season that hasn't been done - not by design, at least - under Raye. Under Raye, defenses zeroed in on stopping Frank Gore at the line of scrimmage. The hope is that Johnson will make the offense more multifaceted, Singletary said. "We're going to make teams really think about defending the entire field," he said.
Singletary's quick about-face regarding Raye from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning has led to speculation that team president Jed York pressured Singletary into the decision. As co-host Brian Murphy pointed out, that would lead to all sorts of questions about who controls the 49ers roster and staff.
"No. As a matter of fact, Jed and I did not talk about it at all," Singletary said. "... Nothing came up with Jed or anyone else, and I appreciate that."
Head-spinning after this shakeup? Want answers? Want to talk? Dr. Barrows is listening. Come and plop down on the ol' psychiatrist's sofa at 11 a.m. to talk about your 49ers. Log onto www.sacbee.com/live to send in your questions.
-- Matt Barrows