Inspired Martz has SF offense on early roll

Mike Martz says just being around the 49ers organization, and seeing the things dynasty patriarch Bill Walsh built here three decades ago, has inspired him to take his offense back to that level. So far, it's working pretty well. The 49ers are ranked 11th in the NFL after 3 weeks after finishing dead last in that category last year. Here, Martz gives some of his impressions about how it's going.

Q: What kind of things are you finding that you are able to do with the tight end position here?
Martz:
That position is even different than any other position than any other wide receiver position because you get covered by so many different guys, so the timing of those things just getting a feel for his body language when he's coming out of routes is really, really important. They have to have a really good sense of how they're going to react to all of those different defenses. It's much more complicated than it is for the wide receivers.

QL How do you feel about what Vernon Davis has been able to do so far in your system?
Martz:
He's done a real good job. We missed him on a couple of throws in the past week and those things are real close, just keep hammering at those and you'll make them eventually. He's done a good job in practice. For a guy that big and strong to catch the ball going full speed 40 yards down the field is not easy to do. It's not like a wide receiver [where] normally their stuff is always inside. He's done a good job with keeping speed and winning on those routes.

Q: Are those the kind of plays that even if they don't hook up they help you guys?
Martz:
Scares them, I'm sure. That one route where he took off on that nine route or that go route, the corner was covering him. He ran right by that corner and then he backed up off the speed just a little bit and he was pulling [away] from him. So when you look at tape on those kinds of things and you're a defensive guy, that gets your attention, I'm sure.

Q: Is there a sense that his strength could be something that hinders him in the passing game?
Martz:
Not at all, there's nothing wrong with him in the passing game. We just got to hook up with him.

Q: If Bryant [Johnson] can't go, Josh [Morgan] do you feel good about where he is?
Martz:
I haven't even thought about it. But I'm sure that [Bryant Johnson] will be able to go. I feel good about either one of them.

Q: I've heard you've had this problem in the past, but it seems like there are a lot of guys out there capable of making plays. How do you as an offensive coordinator dial stuff up to spread that ball around and get guys hands on the ball?
Martz:
I think each week you have things in for everybody in that room. They know that we'll all have an opportunity to make a play. So I think it's a morale booster, I think it's good for us because then defensively they've got to cover everybody and anybody is able to make a play now at this point. And the other thing that is good about that is usually you're turning into a pretty good team when you can do that. When you have to isolate on one or two players to make plays for you, that's usually not good. When you have a number of guys that can make plays, that's a good thing and that helps you win over the course and try to take advantage of them.

Q: Do you find defensive coordinators isolating on any one or two particular guys, not even Frank [Gore]?
Martz:
I think Seattle did initially. They were trying to shut Frank [Gore] down in the running game and they just kept moving into a different area. That's why Isaac had such a big day. As long as everybody is capable of making plays it's easier to change gears and go another direction and continue to move the ball. If you can't do that, it makes it very difficult, it's hard.

Q: What went right on Allen Rossum's touchdown run? Why that play worked so well?
Martz:
It worked real well. I think that Allen did a nice job getting the ball in the end zone. I guessed a little bit him in terms of what they did when [The Detroit Lions] were in it, so we were lucky in that respect.

Q: When did the whole idea arise that he [Allen Rossum] needs to come on offense?
Martz:
When I saw him in the preseason return that kick for a touchdown, I just thought, 'If he's going to be on our roster as a specialist, we could sure use him potentially on offense' with his open-field abilities, we were excited about doing so. It gives you another playmaker really on the field even if it's a couple or three times a game. That puts stress on the defense, and that is what you are trying to do.

Q: Do you not have that smallish, quick receiver who seemed to be on your rosters in the past? Kevin Curtis, Shawn McDonald, Mike Furry type?
Martz:
The quick part, our guys are quick. I don't think that's an issue at all. I think unusual speed – think that Josh [Morgan] has that unusual speed. I think B.J. (Bryant Johnson). I just never really thought a whole lot about it. It kind of just happened because that's just what we had, you know what I mean. We've never tried to get those kinds of guys, those were the kind of guys that were productive but no one else really wanted them so we grabbed them and made use of them.

Q: This might be an off-the-wall question, but working here and being around where [Bill] Walsh was and seeing reminders of Walsh, do you get inspiration from that?
Martz:
I think to some extent, there's no question I think we all do. I think more importantly is that it relates to the whole organization. I think that as you see former players come and visit every week. I think that's a real inspiration. So it's very indirect effect from Bill [Walsh], but I think everything from the way the organization's put together, the way they do business, just the class and integrity with which they deal with people. Then again, having former players around here all the time, they come in and say hi and the guys that work here, absolutely. I think that that's one of the neat things about being here.


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