Mad Martz, Part II

St. Louis coach Mike Martz talks Rams and 49ers.

Q: Looking at the 49ers defense, how do you prepare any differently than last year with defensive coordinator Willy Robinson now at the helm?

Martz: There is some in the pressure stuff. The one thing that is standard there is that they have speedy linebackers that are pretty impressive. I think that is just an outstanding linebacker crew. Defensively, the team speed there has been improved over the years and it is something that you have to account for.

Q: Looking at film, have the linebackers not have been blitzing as much as you would have expected?

Martz: No. They've mixed in very well I think. What he does such a good job of is that he studies your protections and he takes advantage of it. He tries to get you off balance with what he does and he is very smart about his pressure packages and knows when to bring it. Some guys just blitz to blitz. He doesn't do that. He brings the pressure at the appropriate time. He gets a good field for part and knows what to do with it.

Q: How big of a challenge is it for the 49ers to cope with so many new players on offense?

Martz: That is always difficult. We had to fight through a bit of that a few years ago. Try to get some continuity and get guys on the same page. But usually, you get into a situation where guys will respond. It doesn't take very long. It really doesn't. Guys, if they stick together a little bit and they fight back and get on the same page, is kind of what we went through and then all of a sudden they explode. They are very capable.

Q: Do need to be aware of where safety Tony Parrish is all the time in the 49ers' defense?

Martz: A lot of what you do is in terms of a play-caller's personnel match ups, and he has been very effective. Obviously, Peterson has been outstanding as well. Bryant Young, I think this is the best he's played since I've seen him. He's having just a fantastic year. There are a number of guys on defense that you better know where they are.

Q: How is Isaac Bruce still going?

Martz: I don't know. I can't explain him. I don't know why, but he's pretty unique. He's that Jerry Rice type of individual. He's got a tremendous work ethic throughout the offseason and he prepares meticulously in order to perform at the highest level. You know, I think there are probably some similarities in that respect, in terms of how they prepare.

Q: Has league been successful in its attempt to open up offense by emphasizing certain rules?

Martz: Well, I don't know anything about opening up the offenses. I don't know if that was ever the intent. I don't understand that. But, I do know that some of the defensive holding last year has gotten a lot more permissible the last few years and I think that has been rectified. I think it is back to where it was a few years ago.

Q: The rule changes really haven't affected scoring that much so far. Do you have any theory as to why?

Martz: No, I'm not concerned about that really.That would be something you could decide on.

Q: Is there a common thread when you see teams making a lot of turnovers?

Martz: I don't know. I don't know what the common thread would be. Ball security, as a runner, is always something that you need to stress. Of course, everyday out there in practice, you have to go through that and talk to your guys all the time about keeping the ball high and tight. That is number one. In terms of interceptions, there is always a reason for an interception. Sometimes it is a deflected pass. Sometimes a receiver breaks off a route wrong. Sometimes the ball is deflected off the receivers hands. Sometimes it's a poor decision and sometimes it is just a miss by the quarterback. Those are things that you can correct. You work like crazy with your quarterback to correct. Some of them, things happen. Particularly, when a ball is tipped up in the air and run back for a touchdown, there is not a whole lot you can do about that.

Q: Does Kevan Barlow have a league-wide reputation as a fumbler?

Martz: Not to my knowledge. He does have a league-wide reputation of being a very physical and fast runner that can go the distance at any time. Very impressive.


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