49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

July 28, 2008
Martz: QBs in the midst of "organized chaos"

Just returned from a group interview of Mike Martz. The 49ers offensive coordinator said the core of his offense, what he called the "heavy phase of installing" wrapped up today. Now the team will work on adding the bells and whistles in coming weeks. Those include:

- Three- and four-receiver formations
- Shotgun formations
- Two-minute, and no -huddle offenses.

Perhaps the most interesting thing he said was that he predicted that both Shaun Hill and Alex Smith would continue to look a bit ragged. Thus far in training camp, practices have been marked by a few nice throws here and there interspersed with a lot of incompletions and interceptions. As of right now, Martz said that the two quarterbacks were still in the "organized chaos" phase of the learning process. "They'll start making progress probably after seven or eight days in. They'll feel much more comfortable with this information. They've been through it enough, had a lot of repetitions. Then things will happen, like it did in the spring - you'll see them really make a marked progress. ... But right now, it's kind of like: Here's the information. You're throwing it out there and they're trying to get as much as they can."

Martz reiterated that the concept of splitting snaps is a new one to him and that he was "curious" as to whether it would work. "It hasn't been a problem," he said.

Other items from the interview:
- Martz said that he would be in the coaches' booth during games instead of on the sideline. Quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner will be on the sideline so he can speak directly to the quarterbacks. Last year, Jim Hostler began the season on the sideline before moving into the booth. Norv Turner was in the booth. Mike McCarthy was on the sideline.

- He reiterated that he would try to take advantage of Vernon Davis' speed this season by sending him deep "more or less like a wide receiver". Martz said the reason why an offense that has both Delanie Walker and Vernon Davis will work is because both players can block. That makes defensive backs must respect both the running and passing games.

- Martz said that fullback Zak Keasey was a different kind of lead blocker than Moran Norris. He said he was impressed with Keasey's ability to get through traffic to find and block linebackers and defensive backs. He said Keasey read and reacted very quickly. It seems that Keasey has taken the lead from Norris in the competition to be Gore's lead blocker.

- Martz said that the quarterbacks in his system don't have a deep, intermediate or short option on a given play. Instead, their options are very specific. If the defense takes away one option, the quarterback quickly should be another play based on the defense. "It's very, very, very structured and rigid," Martz said.

- Martz wants his quarterbacks to be decisive. Right now - as he would expect early in camp - Martz said he's not happy with their decisiveness. "We're not where we need to be in terms of that."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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