The last time the 49ers had the same offensive and defensive coordinators in back-to-back seasons was 2002-2003 when Greg Knapp and Jim Mora Jr. were the play callers. This season the 49ers will have Jimmy Raye returning as offensive coordinator and Greg Manusky as defensive coordinator, a position he has held since 2007. In addition to the talent on defense the consistency at defensive coordinator is a main reason why the 49ers defense has been getting better in each season since 2007.
In any sport, not only football, having the same coaching staff each year usually translates to winning. It is not too often you will see a team have a winning season with a different coaching staff each year. It is no coincidence that the 49ers have a record of 31-65 since the last season both the offensive and defensive coordinator returned the following season, 2002, which is also the last winning season the 49ers recorded.
Most will acknowledge the 49ers D led by Patrick Willis is turning into a force teams should be afraid of. Last season the defensive gave up 17.6 points per game, fourth best in the NFL. Their weakness has been the deep pass and with the drafting of safety Taylor Mays he should help the 49ers cure getting beat deep.
On the other side of the football the constant changing of offensive coordinators has been the main problem especially when you have a young player like quarterback Alex Smith trying to develop into a Pro Bowl quarterback. This will be Smith’s first of his six seasons in the NFL that he has the same offensive coordinator returning for another season. Even if Smith had the same offensive coordinator anytime from 2005-2008 his success might not have been any different because the 49ers have severely lacked the necessary talent to compete on offense. Smith’s development however would be further along than he was last season with the same offensive coordinator each season.
On top of Raye returning Smith is now surround by extremely good talent. He has receiving targets in Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan and a deep threat Ted Ginn Jr. The offensive line will be better with the drafting of Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati leading the way for Frank Gore. Raye will tailor the offense to Smith’s best abilities which is the spread formation like he did last year with success. Smith went 5-4 as a starter in 2009.
The key to 49ers success in 2010 is if Gore and the offensive line can stay healthy. Smith rebuilt his shattered confidence last season and that will only improve not having to relearn a whole new offense. The 49ers went 5-1 against their division last season and almost had a sweep if not for the botched reverse on a punt against the Seahawks in week 13. Factor in the Brett Favre miracle pass and the almost wins against the Texans and Colts, the 49ers could have had an above .500 record. But almost does not translate into a W in the win column and at the end of the day the 49ers finished 8-8. The Rams are still the Rams, the Seahawks are young and have talent but are in a rebuild mode of sorts but can still be a force and the Cardinals have lost too much talent that they relied on to win the last few seasons. Still, the NFC West is wide-open and the 49ers may not win the division title but they will certainly have their first winning season since 2002.
Tags: 49ers 49ers 2010 49ers 2010 Off-season 49ers Offensive Coordinator 49ers Quarterback Alex Smith Anthony Davis Frank Gore Greg Manusky Jimmy Raye Josh Morgan Michael Crabtree Mike Iupati Mike Singletary NFL Draft 2010 Patrick Willis San Francisco 49ers Taylor Mays Ted Ginn Jr Vernon Davis