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?