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Answer a simple question: Are you excited the 49ers are about to hire Jimmy Raye as offensive coordinator? Answer another simple question: Will the Niner offense scintillate with Jimmy Raye calling the plays? Answer another simple question: Did you ever hear of Jimmy Raye? Answer another simple question: Is it for sure Raye is the offensive coordinator?

I give a ?no? to all of the above, although Raye, I?m told, has been offered the job. I should know the man ? I really should ? but I don?t.

He took up space with the Raiders during the Norv Turner years, was the so-called offensive coordinator although he never actually called a play. Turner did that.

Answer another question. Jimmy Raye is the best Mike Singletary could come up with after a month of dithering, after interviewing eight candidates? Jimmy Freaking Raye?

My apologies to Mr. Raye, who may be a nice man when he?s home, although the background research I did leads to uncertainty about even that.

Words I?ve heard associated with the 49ers? new OC are ?curmudgeon,? ?stubborn,? ?surly,? ?mumbler,? ?poor communicator.? He gives the impression he?s angry at the world, I?m told, because he never got a head-coaching gig.

So, answer another question: Is Raye an improvement over Mike Martz?

No. He?s not an improvement over Mike Martz.

The whole point of this ongoing, ludicrous, demeaning search for an offensive coordinator was because Martz was not good enough for the discerning Mike Singletary. Martz is a creative, innovative, sometimes thrilling OC.

Have you ever heard the adjectives innovative and thrilling applied to Raye? Please. The knock on Martz is his plays develop slowly and his quarterbacks get murdered. It is a fair criticism, although last season Martz adapted to Singletary?s ideas of ball control and balanced attack. Martz performed well.

Martz is a cutting-edge coordinator, a brilliant man, and Raye is not.

Raye is just another coordinator who never got where he wanted to go. He is average, maybe below average. He is most definitely not cutting edge. I mean, what is a Jimmy Raye offense? What mark has he engraved on the league? For some strange reason, Singletary is attracted to him.

Well, part of the reason is Singletary had trouble getting someone else. But Singletary likes Raye because Raye will run the ball a ton, just like the old Ditka Chicago Bears. Singletary wants to turn back the clock. He thinks he can win with ?smash-mouth? football, a term he proudly uses.

Earth to Singletary. The world has changed. Smash-mouth is as dated as the pet rock. Teams need to pass. Teams need to pass effectively. Look at Kurt Warner, a great passer who resurrected his career and will play in the Super Bowl.

Of course teams have to run, but they need balance. Something else about smash-mouth. Frank Gore will be doing most of the smashing and most of the getting it in the mouth. He is a terrific back, but not a big back, and under the Singletary/Raye numbskull offense, he is guaranteed to get hurt. If Singletary persists in this offense he needs two big backs to alternate with Gore just to keep the guy alive.

A fallacy lies at the root of this Raye signing, a grievous fallacy.

Singletary and the Niner owners did not want to hire a coordinator who will leave after a year or two. The template for this leaving phobia was Norv Turner, who did a good job for one season, especially with Alex Smith, and then left for the head-coach job at San Diego. Everything went to hell after that, Mike Nolan unable to get a decent OC for a while and Smith getting hurt and Smith and Nolan quarreling. You know the whole dreary saga.

So, if a good offensive coordinator is a guy who gets hired by another team, the brilliant idea is to get a coordinator no one wants. That?s it.

Go out and hire some semi-anonymous coach who never had an innovative idea in his life and make sure the guy is 62 and eligible for early Social Security if it comes to that and offer him the job as offensive coordinator of the once-groundbreaking San Francisco 49ers, a team that employed in its offensive brain trust ? Bill Walsh, Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan, Dennis Green, Sam Wyche, Marty Mornhinweg ? brilliant men, men who had great ideas, men who clashed with each other out of sheer creative exuberance, men who made each other better.

Well, by all means, forget about guys of that outstanding caliber. They might leave. Much better to hire a journeyman no one wants, a man past his best years, a man who will stay out of gratitude and desperation.

That?s the ticket.

And once Raye settles in, he will install one of the most boring offenses in league history. And that, folks, will be your 49er offense. No way the Niners can put a positive spin on this one.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular go to the Cohn Zohn at blog.pressdemocrat.com/cohn. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at 521-5486 or lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.