Letter to Mike Singletary and Jimmy Raye

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Dear Mr Singletary and Mr Raye,

Currently your team stands at 4-6, three games back from the Cardinals in the NFC West lead.  With six games left on the schedule and us losing five of the last six games the opportunity of making the playoffs as a wild card team is basically closed. The only way the 49ers will make the playoffs this year, as you said Mr Singletary the 49ers were capable of doing, is to win the NFC West.  With one game remaining against the Cardinals at home and with the 49ers already beating Arizona in week one, the possibility is still there for a run at the NFC West title.  The 49er Faithful I believe do not even consider making the playoffs let alone winning the division an option this year because of lack of the offense being able to put together a full four quarters of offensive progress in a game.  Ever since the Texans game in which Alex Smith was inserted in the second-half the offense cannot put together a win.  Smith led the 49ers back from a 21-0 halftime deficit but ended up with a loss.  Same thing happened the next week with the Colts.  The Titans game was different as turnovers were the problem, against the Bears we won no matter how ugly it was and against the Packers this past week our offense once again only showed for one-half of football.  For this I put the blame on you Mr Raye.  The lack of production of the offensive line and recent injuries to left tackle Joe Staley is partially to blame but if you know that you have a mediocre offensive line, which has been proven again and again each week, running the football more than passing is not an option.  This past weekend we saw Smith utterly useless in the first-half that allowed the Packers to build a big enough lead to hold onto the win even as Smith lead the 49ers to an almost come back win.

My point of this letter Mr Singletary and Mr Raye is that you do the best with what you have.  You both wanted to build an offense that pounded the defense with the run game 60% of the time.  Forget the fact that that is almost impossible to do but you have figured out by now that the O-line is not good enough for the offense to run an effective ground game even if you have one of the best running backs in Frank Gore.  Even before Smith was the starter both of you had to realize this.  Now with Smith as the starter you need to adapt to his best skills which is his mobility and strong arm by lining up in the spread/shotgun formation which he has excelled at the most this year.  Watching Smith getting sacked three times and only passing for five yards in the first-half against the Packers made me want to pull Smith out the TV and scream at him ‘what the hell are you doing out there!?’ Soon I realized that Smith was not at fault for the lack of offensive yards in the first-half.  He shares some of the blame but as soon as left guard David Baas went down with an injury the left side of the O-line had two backups.  The Packers quickly exploited this even as you continued to run the offensive in regular formations to run and pass the football.  Blame for the Packers loss lies with the defense as well because they could not stop the run or pass, let alone tackle through the whole game.  But there were too many three-and-outs by the offense that made the defense tired by having to go back onto the field after just coming off.  Even with the offensive progress in the second-half the defense was still ineffective and could not get the necessary stops against the Packers offensive for Smith to lead the 49ers back for a win.  I do not think it is any coincidence that the 49ers defense held the Packers to just seven points in the second-half.  With you Mr Raye going to the spread/shotgun formation the offense became effective and scored three passing touchdowns as the defense was able to rest more on the sidelines.  It is also no coincidence that the Packers defense did not record a sack in the second-half as the 49ers went mostly in the spread formation.  Mr Singletary and Mr Raye I am not advocating for the 49ers to be completely a passing team or for every play to be in the shotgun formation.  What I am advocating is to go to the spread formation earlier in the game as part of the offensive game plan and not to only be used when you find the team down by more than two touchdowns.  The Packers defense did not give up on Sunday, but the 49ers offense did show up although only in the second-half, but seeing that our offensive line is in shambles something drastic is needed for the 49er Faithful to keep their faith in what you can do as head coach, Mr Singletary and you, Mr Ray as offensive coordinator.

In baseball and basketball teams that find themselves on the outside chance of making the playoffs take gambles by trading away for players they think will help them improve their inefficiencies to push them to the playoffs.  In the NFL mid-season trades are not the norm and with the trade deadline already come and gone the only way for drastic changes is in-house personnel moves and by changing the approach of the offense and defense.  Yes, we have kept up with with the Texans, Colts and Packers in the second-half but the games have been close because you both were forced to change your offensive philosophy which in turn helped the defense because they were not forced right back onto the field with no rest.  Mr Singletary and Mr Raye you may resist changing the offensive philosophy because it is so late in the season and it goes against your own philosophy of pounding the defense with the run but a balance attack can be found that both suit Smith and Gore and allow the offensive line to be effective.  Some risk and change is needed Mr Singletary and Mr Raye if you still believe that the 49ers can make the playoffs this year.  We await your reply.

Signed,

49er Faithful

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