After being asked to take a night to think about his decision to fire Offensive Coordinator, Jimmy Raye; Head Coach, Mike Singletary did not waiver on his decision. Less than 24 hours after Singletary, responded with emphatic and annoyed, “yes, yes” to questions about whether offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye would retain his position for the remainder of the 2010 season, NFL Network’s, Jason La Canfora tweets that Raye has been fired. What changed? For the 49ers front office and head coach, it was a Sunday post game peek at the game film of the team’s inept road loss at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs.

According to those who attended the game live, the Chiefs defense was calling out plays which were to be run against them just as quarterback, Alex Smith was telling the offense in the 49ers huddle. The offense being run was so generic, vanilla, and predictable, that it was simple for the defense to shut-down the 49ers attack before it even began. Game planning is supposed to be much more difficult than simply glancing to the opposition’s sidelines prior to each snap. Questions of Raye’s competence have persisted since it was noticed week one that Smith was noticeably frustrated with the amount of time it was taking to get plays into him to bring to the huddle.

Singletary has staunchly fielded and cast aside any and all questions about Raye’s effectiveness as boss of the offense. Things got so chippy last week that local television reporter, Dennis O’Donnell, of KPIX was stripped of his weekly assignment interviewing the head coach after the reporter persisted with questions about the offensive coordinator situation. Though it will be of little consolation to O’Donnell, his questions were apparently right on the mark. And though frustrating to Singletary, it is THE story of this young 49ers season. The team’s 38 points scored through three games rank the Niners’ offense second worst in the NFL.

Something had to give and as is so often the case in the NFL, someone had to be fired and in this case it was Jimmy Raye. Raye, a highly regarded elder statesman in the League, took the bullet for this mess of a poor offense that had become offensive. A thirty year veteran of this League, Raye has been called a walking encyclopedia of NFL knowledge. For all his knowledge and seven stints as offensive coordinator, his offenses were seldom good — generally lurking in the bottom third of the NFL. The measuring stick in sports as in life is effectiveness in your hired task. Regardless of how kind and smart you might be, you must get your job done. Period. Full stop.

Quarterbacks coach, Mike Johnson, is now tasked with being the play-caller for the Niners’ offense. Should this move prove anything less than miraculous, talk will return to the familiar cliché of poor Alex Smith never having had consistency at offensive coordinator. Criticism will be directed squarely at Singletary and the criticism will grow at the same rate as the lines on Coach’s all too familiar furrowed brow (be careful, it might get stuck that way). Johnson must turn this offense around quickly if the 49ers are to again be taken seriously as contenders in the post Kurt Warner, NFC west. It is a division up for grabs, but for the Niners, they have been grasping more at straws rather than footballs.

Johnson is well liked by the offensive unit and is expected to bring a much needed spark and some creativity to an offense that has become very one-dimensional. Johnson spent a year out of the league and used that time away evaluating how pro-systems might incorporate some of college football’s spread offense formations. It had become clear to everyone that this was a run the ball – and then run the ball some more – team. When a team becomes a run-and-run team, it becomes reasonably simple to defend. Alex Smith is now expected to enjoy a more balanced attack that will take advantage of the numerous receiving options. It is those receiving options which are so highly regarded who now must step up and together with their new coordinator, pull this team out of the cellar of an NFC west division most people predicted them to run away with.