Martz: 'Who knows how good this group can be'

Mike Martz has spent the past three days at 49ers minicamp watching his new offensive personnel execute his much-ballyhooed system in a full-squad practice situation. He has come away not only impressed with his unit's potential, but also "excited," as he put it several times. Here, Martz gives his takes on several subjects regarding San Francisco's offense at the conclusion of Sunday's drills.

Q: What are your impressions after finally getting to see your new players on the field for three days of team practice?
Martz:
It's exciting. I think the progress that we've had throughout the whole offseason so far is pretty remarkable. They've retained a lot of things. We put a whole lot out there for them to learn now. And defensively, we're strong. We're really good on defense. So to match-up in the three days there and to have it go full speed, and make the good decisions and to know who to get, and where to throw it and catching it and all that good stuff … I thought they did a real nice job. I'm real pleased with them. You know, we haven't peaked yet. We have a ways to go. But the effort's great. They're trying to do it the way you want them to do it. You can't ask for anything more than that.

Q: Do you feel like you have the kind of personnel that kind run the type of offense that you'd like to and they're know to run?
Martz:
You know, the offense I like to run is what we take what we have and try to analyze what they do extremely well and take advantage of that. And so, there's different personnel here than what I'm accustomed to. The tight end's a terrific athlete. And, of course, we have a whole stable of really good runners. So, we'll move in and out as we see fit. The system allows you to do that. It will be different, perhaps, than what you've seen us do in the past. But we're going to isolate some guys that can really help us win I think.

Q: How is the quarterback competition going? Are you impressed with the guys you have out here playing QB?
Martz:
You know, if Mike (Nolan) said we're going to start any one of those three guys, I'd be happy with it. I think they've all done a nice job out here. They all have a real good grasp of what we're doing. I think they're executing things at a pretty good level right now. Not where they need to be or will be, but they're progress has been really good. I think Ted (Tollner) has done a remarkable job with them, I really do.

Q: In the development of the offense, is the throw more important, or the timing of the throw, the rhythm of it?
Martz:
You can't really separate those things. The rhythm and the timing is a hard thing to get them to turn loose at the trust of the receivers and accuracy. So really, those things are kind of married together. So we have to get the ball out quick because we trust that receiver is going to be where he's supposed to be, and we have to get it out there accurately.

Q: The talent on this offense seemed better than the results it produced last year, when the 49ers ranked dead last in the NFL in total offense. From your perspective, what do you think the problem was last year?
Martz:
Well, you know, it's right for me to comment on that. One thing I will say is, I think there were some real good pieces here, and I think Jim (Hostler) was late in trying to adapt this offense. He's more familiar with the West Coast. It just was a difficult situation for everybody. And beyond that, I can't speculate. It just wouldn't be right.

Q: What kind of potential do you see with this offense now?
Martz:
Well, it's exciting, it really is. Who knows how good this group can be? We have to try and match special teams and defense right now. We have to try to get them up to that level so they're all playing at the same level, a high level, and we should be just fine.

Q: Are some of the things you have planned for tight end Vernon Davis is him catching the ball in stride so that you can take advantage of his superior speed?
Martz:
The match-ups on linebackers and safeties with Vernon is pretty substantial. And right now, from what we've seen out here, he's done a great job with speed, he really has. He's caught the ball well. He's learning what we do. He's real confident now. He's not so unsure of himself with some of those things. Each practice that we come out, he continues to develop, so we're pleased with that.

Q: So you'll try to get the ball to him in stride to take advantage of that speed?
Martz:
We'll do that. We'll try to do that with him. But there's a lot of things that other people did too. That was a tough situation last year for everybody. I think right now, the thing we've sold our guys is it's a fresh start. Turn the page. All sins are forgiven, so to speak, and we're all starting off again together.

Q: Vernon says he gets 'excited crazy' with the ball in his hands. Does he need to perhaps calm down a little more and stay focused when the ball comes his way?
Martz:
I'll take him excited crazy. I like excited crazy.

Q: How much is J.T. O'Sullivan in the mix to be the starter at quarterback?
Martz:
Oh, he has an excellent chance, no question about it. If any one of these three guys is going to be our quarterback, I'd be real happy with it. And certainly, J.T. is one of those three. I feel real good about J.T.

Q: What impresses you about him?
Martz:
Well, I think his ability to absorb what we do, and understand it. He's very accurate, very quick with the ball, and he sees things very well. He just needs to develop. He's just not had a whole lot of playing time. Particularly in the preseason, you like to put him in a position where he can kind of demonstrate those things.

Q: How well do you see this receiver unit fitting in with what you like to do?
Martz:
That group has probably been the strength (of the offense). That whole group has really stood out here this spring, to be honest with you. The guy who really has stood out is B.J. (Bryant Johnson). Ashley (Lelie) has done a real good job. But Bryant has been exceptional so far. I've been really pleased with what he's done.

Q: Can he be a vertical threat that you need in your offense?
Martz:
Oh, he is. There's no question about that. They all are. If they can't, then it's really had for them to play in what we do.


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