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49ers Offensive Coordinator search: Mike Singletary and Jimmy Raye conference call

There has been plenty to discuss about the 49ers new offensive coordinator, and we've certainly hit on plenty of points.  In the meantime, yesterday, Mike Singletary and Jimmy Raye (indeed we await an actual last name) held conference calls with the Bay Area press.  Here are the transcripts.  Mike Singletary is here and Jimmy Raye ____ is after the jump.  Somewhere in the comments somebody mentioned waiting for a last name and I think it's a safe question to ask.  Jimmy Raye-something indeed.

Head Coach Mike Singletary

RE: You had mentioned in the past your admiration for a Norv Turner-style of offense. So pretty much, were you trying to get back to the way it was in 2006?
“In all honesty, even though 2006 was a great year for the offensive side of the ball, I think the most important thing I wanted to do in this process is really find that person with the leadership, the preparation and the vision to take us forward.

RE: What told you after seven previous candidates that Jimmy Raye was the guy for that?
“First and foremost, the philosophy. When I sat down and listened to what he had to say in terms of what his philosophy was and the conviction behind it, he talked about the physicality that the offense has to have. He talked about the toughness, both mentally and physically, that the offense has to have. The discipline in which it takes to do those things. That to me, that was something that we were really excited about.”

RE: I’m wondering if you could talk just a little bit about this entire process. Did this go the way you wanted it to? Was it a tougher challenge than you expected?
“First of all, it certainly took longer than we would have liked it to, but sometimes good things come to those who wait. The thing that I did not want to do is go ahead and make a knee-jerk decision and try and select someone before we thought we had our guy. This process to me went exactly like it needed to go except that it went a little bit longer than I would like for it to.”

RE: In the end, what was the difference? You had Hue Jackson in for a second interview. The last time you offered a second interview you offered the job to Scott Linehan. What was the difference between Hue Jackson and Jimmy Raye in the end?
“I understand exactly what you’re saying. The second interview is sort of revealing in the fact that maybe you’re going to hire the guy. With Hue Jackson, he was very intriguing from the standpoint of his style and his philosophy, but I think it just came down to that leadership that I know we need on that side of the ball. The preparation and the vision. As I said before, that philosophy, when I sat down and talked with Jimmy Raye, the physicality, the toughness and the discipline. It’s not just saying that. Everyone says that. It’s the conviction that you say it with that you know that that person, that’s the guy that I’m talking about. That’s the guy that I’m looking for and let it go at that.”

RE: One of the reports said that yesterday, or actually earlier this week, that you sat down with the assistant coaches and had them tell you who the offensive coordinator would be. Is that accurate? Did you want to put the onus on your assistant coaches to make the decision?
“Not at all. The thing that I wanted to do is make sure, because we have a staff that I think is pretty special, which is evident in why I kept them. The guys that we have in that offensive room I think are outstanding. For me, it was very important for them to get a feel for who it was. Not just me sitting down and talking to the possible candidates, but the ones that I felt really strongly about I just wanted to make sure that they had a feel for. I did not ask them to select them. I asked them to ‘give me your thoughts. Give me your feelings. Can you work with this person?’ And all of those things were positive and that was good. But as far as making that decision, that was going to be my decision. But I just wanted to make sure that they could take some ownership as well.”

RE: Throughout his career, you look at the offenses Jimmy Raye has been involved in. Very few of them have been very highly rated in terms of the league, like in the top-10. Is that a concern at all?
“Not at all. When you sit down and begin to look around the league, you have some names that are highly sought after names. That to me alone does not determine whether or not you’re going to have a successful offense. The most important thing is what I wanted to come back to and what I think about constantly is that leadership and preparation and vision, and when I think about our team in what the whole vision brings and what we need, I just feel really good about Jimmy Raye being that guy to come in and do that.”

RE: You had mentioned that you obviously wanted to create some continuity on that side of the ball. How much of that is a factor that Jimmy Raye…that you figure that he’ll be here for a while?
“More so than anything else, it goes beyond that. Certainly you like to think that he’ll be here for a while, but there are no guarantees in this business, and I don’t want to get caught by surprise or anything else. But I think the most important thing, as I said before, it’s really, really important for me on that side of the ball that we have the leadership. Continuity is certainly important, but that leadership and that preparation and that shared vision, that’s the thing that I’m really excited about going forward.”

RE: John Crumpacker had sort of talked about earlier how you offered the job to Scott Linehan. Is there a concern that Jimmy Raye, and I don’t know how many other candidates that you offered the job to, is there a concern that he wasn’t the first choice? Any feeling that you had to ‘settle’ for Jimmy Raye?
“No it’s not a concern at all. With Scott Linehan, and I’m not going to touch on that too much, I think there’s a misconception about me offering it and him turning it down. The most important thing that I really appreciate that Scott Linehan did is he was honest. I asked him to be honest about what we wanted here, what we were looking for. I felt really good about the people that we had here and really just asked Scott Linehan very basically and very straight forward: ‘Can you do these things? These are the things that I’m looking for when you get here. If you can’t do these things, be honest and let me know.’ He got back to me and said, ‘what you need right now, I don’t think I can do that. So I’m going to have to back away.’ To me, it’s not really a rejection. And I can’t really going into all the other reasons, that’s not really important, the important thing that he was big enough to say, ‘I’m not going to accept that. I’m not going to do that. And I’m not sure that I can give you what you need.’ Because I know that he heard in my voice over and over again what we were looking for. And that will not change. The physicality, the toughness and the discipline, and the conviction that has to come with that. That’s not going to change. So I know that he understood that and I appreciate that, so I never looked at it as a rejection.”

RE: So you’re really set on what you want from that coordinator. Do you think some of the coordinators or potential candidates for that job might have felt a little bit stifled that they wouldn’t have the creative freedom to do the stuff that maybe they had done in the past?
“I really don’t know. But I think I made it really clear in every interview we had that some of the things we did last year I felt good about. It’s just bringing the other side to that. Some of the things that Mike Martz did last year I felt very good about. Some of the passing game I felt very good about. And I don’t really think that there was a misconception anywhere, but I just wanted to make sure that whoever it was came in and really, really understood the vision that the 49ers are going forward with at this time.”

RE: Ideally, what will a Jimmy Raye offense look like?
“When you look at the offense that we’re going to come up with, first of all, we have the experience…you probably have an average experience in that role of 10 to 12 to 15 years. So I think the most important thing is to get in that room and sit down and look at what works. We look at our personnel: what works? And look at what fits the 49ers. And it’s not about someone coming in with their system. I don’t really get excited about a system. What I want is looking at an offense that fit the personnel that we have, that we can go out and win with. I think that’s the most important thing and I don’t want a system to really come as a result of just getting someone to come in and provide a system. Systems don’t work without leadership and without preparation and without that vision and the conviction toward that.”

RE: Going back to the continuity factor: with Mike Johnson is he sort of tapped right now as the coordinator-in-waiting?
“I wouldn’t, as I said before, it would be nice to think that he could do that, but the most important thing is that right now he is the quarterbacks coach. I really want him to come in and do a great job. I’ve sat down and listened to him and looked to some of the people he’s worked with. He’s done a fantastic job. He comes highly recommended after Jimmy Raye, and I’m very excited about him being our quarterbacks coach.”

RE: What’s your personal history with Jimmy Raye? He’s got such a long history and was kind of a pioneer both as a player and as a coach. Have you known him a long time?
“I have not known him a long time. I have seen him a few times while I’ve been coaching, but I have not known Jimmy Raye a long time. Just got to meet him this year and was very impressed. I did not know his past, but he’s been around some great coaches: Norv Turner, [Ernie] Zampese, [Marty] Schottenheimer and he really came very highly recommended.”

RE: Was it Norv that recommended him to you?
“No, he did not.”

RE: How did his name come about in the whole search?
“From the very beginning, from time to time, someone would throw out the name Jimmy Raye. I heard that name, had talked to him as I would talk to other coaches around the league and just kind of philosophy, and not talking about a job, but just talking about philosophy and some of the people that they had worked with and worked under and at some point in time it just made sense that going down the road there that I would at least sit down and talk with him.”

RE: Can you say specifically who recommended him highly?
“I really don’t want to get into that. There were a few people that recommended him highly that I respect a lot, but I really don’t want to get into that.”

RE: Are you concerned about getting the offense implemented? I know you’re not with the players right now, but just getting everyone on the same page?
“I would be more concerned if I had the wrong person. I feel very excited. Once you have the right leadership, once you have someone who’s going to come in with that vision and the conviction and that philosophy that we’ve been talking about, the most important thing is that is on my mind right now is we have the right person in that role doing that job. And that gives me a lot of stability in terms of when I think of our team, when I think about our offense, and I feel really good about that. So I don’t have any concern. The most important thing is we didn’t pick the wrong person.”

RE: How much of a factor the offensive coordinator, Jimmy Raye’s feeling, on what to do with the quarterbacks and do you believe that you’re going to have Alex Smith back in 2009 as a quarterback competing for a job?
“As we go forward and free agency and all of the other things, we’ll have to sit down when the time is right and look at that and deal with that. But I really think that in looking at Jimmy Raye and what he brings to our organization, I’m just excited about him talking about our offense from the front of the offensive line to the quarterback to the running back and really looking at how everybody plays a part in that. Not just the quarterback. For right now, I feel very good about Shaun Hill and we’ll have to see what happens with Alex Smith, and we’ll have to go from there.”

RE: What is the length of Jimmy’s contract?
“My understanding right now is three years.”

RE: Three years. Do you anticipate him serving all three years?

Jimmy Raye

RE: Congratulations Coach.
“Thank you, thank you.”

RE: Where are you calling from?
“I’m sitting in about 12 inches of snow in Morristown, New Jersey.”

RE: Tell me how you hit it off with Coach Singletary? What were the things that he was emphasizing and how does that mesh with what you try to do offensively?
“Well, I think one, the first common denominator was the vision that he shared and the passion that he has football was mutual. We had a shared vision of how you play the game and what he would like to see when the game is played and his passion for football was kind of contagious and along kind of the same thoughts that I have about the game, and that started our mutual understanding between the two of us and from there we moved forward.”

RE: Mike mentioned just now when we had him on the conference call, the word conviction several times in talking about you and what you expressed to him. What is your offensive vision and how did you express it with such conviction?
“Well, I think basically what we had a shared experience about was the fact that the team’s that I’ve been the leader of as a coordinator have been tough physical football teams that run the ball and have a physicality about them, but play an offense that takes care of the contingencies of the defense. But the overriding factor is that we want to be tough-minded, physically and emotionally, and I think those were the things that he was excited about.”

RE: When did you first have contact with Coach Singletary about this opportunity?
“I think it my first meeting with him was I walked across the field the day we were out there to play them, during the regular season. I walked across the field and introduced myself to him when he was on the boundary. That was my first contact with him and we talked for the first time on the phone after the conclusion of the season. I think I was gone home to North Carolina. I was down for the divisional weekend of the playoff games and I had a conversation with him on the phone.”

RE: Jimmy, you signed a three-year contract, is that correct?
“Yeah, something like that.”

RE: Do you see yourself serving out all three seasons?
“You know something I don’t know?”

RE: No I don’t.
“I intend to fulfill the services of the contract. Yeah, I hope we stay there and get this team in the playoffs and in the winning mode and I hope to be there through this contract and maybe longer.”

RE: Obviously, the success of a coordinator is in large part due to the players he has on the field running his plays. How do you feel about the talent that you are going to be inheriting with the 49ers?
“At this point, I had a little bit more feel for them defensively because the preparation that we had prior to playing them. I intend, when I get back there, I know some of the offensive components, but I don’t…I haven’t studied the offensive side of the ball and I plan when I get back to grade the first six weeks of the season, look at the middle six and grade the last six weeks of the season in order to get my own evaluation of where I think the personnel is. I know some of the people, I like the runner. I know of him and what he has done, [Frank] Gore and the backup runner DeShaun Foster when he was at Carolina. The tight end, I watched at the Combine, Vernon Davis. I like his size and speed and ability to block at the point on the line of scrimmage. The quarterback Shaun Hill I only saw that day that he took us apart when we played out there. Isaac Bruce I know and the center I like a lot. But I’m in the process of evaluating the personnel so I have a better feel for the people myself.”

RE: Do you plan at some point, or have you already started talking to some of those players or reaching out to them over the phone?
“No, I haven’t. I was there for maybe 12 or 14 hours. I got in, I was into San Francisco late in the evening, got in there, went to bed. I got there like 2:30 Eastern Time. Got up, had a meeting at seven o’clock in the morning the next day and back on the plane back to the east coast, at four o’clock the next day. I haven’t had an opportunity to reach out. That process will begin when I get back there on Wednesday.”

RE: And when you come back Wednesday, will you be here for the long haul?
“Yes, I will be there meeting with Scot McCloughan and getting the personnel evaluation from our personnel department as I start to evaluate the tape along with the rest of the staff because I’m going to be in a position where some of the people there, the coaches there, who know what they were asked to do. It will be easier to evaluate them because I don’t know what they were asked to do as I’m watching the tape, but physically I can see what they are capable of. But, I’ll have the advantage of the staff in place there that know what they were asked to do.”

RE: Is there anybody currently on the 49ers staff that you’ve worked with in the past?
“No, there isn’t. I know through professional association, I know Jerry Sullivan and Chris Foerster. I know Tom Rathman as a player, but I haven’t worked with him and I know of Pete [Hoener] the tight ends coach, but I haven’t worked with any of those people.”

RE: Will you bring in any people close to you as assistants?
“Well, me and Mike are going to talk about that. Right now, the staff is pretty much set the way it is and we’ll be having on-going discussions when I get back to San Francisco.”

RE: Jimmy, there’s some thought that Mike has such specific ideas about what he wants to do on offense and also the fact that much of the staff is in place, that it might not have been as attractive of a job for some of the candidates, that he made contact with and I’m just wondering if you can address that? Maybe Mike has a very specific view that doesn’t allow for a lot of creativity.
“Well, I think and I followed this as the interview process was going on, I think some of that has been overstated. He is the head coach of the football team and his influence offensively will be his because ultimately it is on his watch, but I think it would be unfair, at least in my assessment in my time that I spent in the times we have talked, about his vision of what he would like to see offensively. I would be reluctant to pigeon hole it as a one dimensional box type operation. Maybe some other people in the interview process didn’t feel that there was enough flexibility, I didn’t get that sense from my time spent there or of talking to him, so I would be reluctant to say …that it was appealing to me and hits my mind’s eye good and that’s the only person that I can speak for.”

RE: What is your view on the passing game?  I mean there has been so much talk about his conception of the emphasis on running? What is your view on flinging the ball and the forward pass?
“Well, I think this is the new millennium, this is 2009 and there is a Wildcat thing going on and there is a down the field thing going on. I don’t think you can play one dimensional, never have. I mean we were really good in Kansas City, an outstanding run action, play action off of our running game there and got the ball very successfully to Tony Gonzalez when we were there. We threw it to the wide receivers Andre Rison and Derrick Alexander. I don’t think…I have no objection to throwing the football. I think if people are going to try to load up the box against you in the running game, depending on your personnel groups and location and the passes available to you, we will play, we will throw the ball, we will play offense and our offense will be able to take care of the contingencies of what the defense presents.”

RE: Do you run the digit system?
“Yes, I do.”

RE: Can you talk about that? Who do you consider your influences when it comes to that?
“I started under Ernie Zampese, just as Norv [Turner] did. The Don Coryell System, the three-digit pass system. My first introduction to it was when I was offensive coordinator with the Rams under Ernie Zampese and that influence. I’ve cemented my own ideas into that, but that’s basically the first of it of where my introduction to it came. We had Jim Everett at the Rams and Ernie came up from Coryell at San Diego with the three digit system and then I went with Atlanta with Rod Dowhower and the three-digit system. Really, the system, well, the three-digit system, or the west coast system of whatever you refer to it, the nomenclature of how you call in an active play is really just a functional operation of how you operate offensively.”

RE: How would your system in the digital system be similar to Mike Martz’s? Is there any comparison there?
“I don’t know Mike Martz’s system. I know Mike was with Ernie for awhile, but I don’t pretend to know. Everybody takes a part of what they are exposed to and then expands it to where they go. I would be remiss to sit here and compare what we do and what I know to what Mike Martz does because I don’t know what exactly what he does. I know he had great success in St. Louis with the Greatest Show on Turf and I’m sure it’s a hybrid of Zampese and Norv Turner because that’s what he, like I started, but I would be reluctant to say that they would be similar or dissimilar at this point.”

RE: Jimmy, at a certain point in your career, were you or are you still be interested in becoming a head coach in the league?
“Well, my main objective right now is to get this football team operating offensively, the San Francisco 49ers to its maximum ability and see if we can get in the playoffs. Of my individual aspirations are second to what my intentions are as I start this quest with Coach Singletary and the 49ers.”

RE: Jimmy, your record, you started off as a professional coach, an assistant coach with the 49ers in 1977. What do you remember about that team, that era?
“Yeah, you dated me. I started back in the 14 game scheduled season and the six exhibition games and I’ve come full circle back to the 49ers. When I was at the 49ers, Gene Washington, Cleveland Elam and Cedrick Hardman and that great defensive rush front that we had there at the 49ers. Gene Washington, Delvin Williams the running back and Mel Phillips, I mean that was a different time I was there in the transition time when the Morabito widows sold the football team to the DeBartolo’s and I was only there the one year and then I followed Monte Clark on back to Detroit.”

RE: Was there ever a point that you thought after 2005 that you might never get another chance to be an offensive coordinator in the league?
“No, I didn’t concern myself with that really. What you have to understand is I started in an era where there were only six coaches and there were no titles. I mean, everybody, you coached. So the responsibilities that you had as an assistant coach, they glorified it some now to make the money justifiable by giving titles but I didn’t think of it any different or worried about a title in terms of what I did productively coach. I was never looking for the next opportunity to go run and say, ‘Okay I’m an offensive coordinator.’ I’ve been there, done that. So coaching to me, regardless of the title, I’ve been productive and created Pro Bowl players at the positions I’ve coached ongoing since then. I’ve never really concerned myself with trying to become a coordinator again. To me there’s two separations: there’s the head coach and there are the assistant coaches. Someone has to be a leader on each side of the ball and so with that comes the new terms that they have, but I came from the earlier part of it so it doesn’t bother me that I didn’t have a title as offensive coordinator. I’ve had the title of senior offensive assistant, where I coached the coaches on the staff. I’ve been assistant head coach, which is just a title, but in order to maximize the monetary rewards, I was assistant head coach/senior offensive assistant. I’ve had a number of titles over the years, but at the end of the day, the bottom line is you’re just an assistant coach trying to recreate or do what the head coach as the leader of the organization is trying to get done.”

RE: When you were with Norv with the Raiders, how did you split up the play-calling? Was that all him or all you or a combination?
“It was a mismatch. That was one of the things I was alluding to: I had the title over there of assistant head coach/offensive coordinator. But the head coach was basically the offensive coordinator when you break it down in the due diligence of how it was functioning. Norv was the principal play-caller, I was the backup play-caller. He was head coach, but technically the offensive coordinator because he called the game. We game-planned the game as if I was going to call the game but at certain times that he said, ‘Hey, Jimmy you take it.’ I called the plays because I was prepared as the play-caller because that’s the role that I was in. But the lion’s share of the time that I was there, the lion’s share of the play-calling was done by him.”