Martz: 'I'm happy with the job that I have'

Niners offensive coordinator Mike Martz covers a variety of topics – including job rumors, the San Francisco offense and the New York Jets – this week during his twice-monthly questions and answers session.

Q: The Jets have been putting up some points lately. Do you feel a responsibility or pressure to try to score certainly more than last week's game, and is that going to be a necessity for this game to put up some…?
Martz:
No, I thinking you're making an assumption: A) that our defense won't play well and those are all things you don't assume. Obviously, they are a good team and they will move the ball on just about everybody. What we have to do is figure out the best way to move the ball against this team and do that and come up with points. If you're not careful, if you pay too much attention and worry about those things, then you start doing things that you need not do, and then you can put yourself in jeopardy real easy.

Q: Mike, how pleased were you to win a game like that (in Buffalo), with the offense playing the way you did, you guys certainly did your part?
Martz:
I was very happy with third down conversions first of all, particularly in the very beginning of the game. I thought that was really well executed. We had one drop on a big third down that I think would have helped, too. We just have some, every week it seems from being here; we have three or four plays that really are telling. This time we were able to win because of that, but they played hard all the way through. We still have got to eliminate some of the silly errors that we do. Second half of the season, we feel like we were going to play better than the first half and once these guys understand what we are doing. I think that's the case right now. I think the offensive line is really starting to gel a little bit, and the communication on the offensive line just has been high and guys seeing the same thing and making the calls and not have to guess on things in loud stadiums. People really don't understand and appreciate how very difficult that is and then once they are on the same page, they've been together a little bit, then the tentativeness of what they do is gone and now they can really put your hand on the ground, come off and play football.

Q: Singletary was a little lukewarm on Chilo [Rachal] after the first start saying he had some work to do, but said he was much better the second time around?
Martz:
No, he had a lot of mistakes, a lot of mistakes. He did some very good things because he's physically very gifted, but he's made a lot of mistakes and we know that about Chilo at this point. It's not going to be, ‘he wasn't playing good and then all of a sudden he's going to play really good.' It doesn't work that way. It's a process over time that he's got to continue to get better every week, and it just doesn't happen that way on the offensive line and that's a process for any offensive lineman. That just doesn't happen in the course of a week or two. It's going to take him all year, the rest of the season to really get a feel for that position and eliminate a lot of the errors that he's involved with now.

Q: Mike, there's been a lot of transition on that offensive line during the season and last year before you got here. Do you think you've got the line now that you are set with for the rest of the year with these five guys? Have you found the combination yet?
Martz:
I think that with Barry [Sims] coming back, I think Barry will contribute to us as well. I'm very happy with that. Really you've got to think that [offensive line coach] Chris [Foerster] has done a magnificent job, too. We are one guy short so obviously the preparation in getting these guys on the same page and with all the changes, then you have to realize how difficult that is on any coach, but when there's two guys that normally handle that and now there's one with all the things that happened during the course of the season, he's really done a remarkable job. He needs to be given respect due him for the job that he's done. Yeah, I'm pleased with where they are and the progress that they've made. We still are making some errors that we need to clean up and like I said, that's a time process with the offensive line. They just don't all of a sudden become really good together as a group in a matter of a couple of weeks. It's a process so they are making real good progress with this. We did some awfully good things in that game, but we need to continue to improve.

Q: Early in the season, it looked like you guys were running the ball, pass protection a little bit iffy. The last few weeks, the last couple of weeks anyway, Shaun [Hill] seems to have gotten some time to throw but maybe the holes haven't been there for Frank [Gore] as much as they were earlier.
Martz:
When you think about what you just said. I want you to analyze that and you are very right, you're very accurate. So when teams face us, what's the first thing that they are going to take away? They are going to take 21 away. So when they line up in there and take 21 away, they're not rushing the passer now are they? And now they create some good things for us in the passing game. Of course that's what happened with the Rams, too, that first half. You just have got to be able to transition in and out of the passing game and the running game when that happens and that's why we do what we do. That's why one week, he might rush the ball 15 times and the next week he might rush it 32 times. It's not so much the balance of the game, but the effectiveness of what you do and that's how we try to measure through that because you go into that game thinking, ‘well, this is how we need to do this based on what you see the team do.' If you can't transition or move into another mode when you see, ‘Oh, wow here's what they're doing, it's different than what we prepared for.' You're setting yourself up to lose. That's why I never really worry so much about balance as much as what are they doing and how do we need to effectively attack them.

Q: They're so good at stopping the run. What makes them so effective, the Jets?
Martz:
I think it's a real physical group up front. You start with the nose guard. I think he is as physical and violent a player in that defense as there is in the league right now. We have to account for him. He gets a terrific push on the center. I think Eric [Heitmann] has his work cut out for him. It's a good matchup. I'm excited to see that one, and it's just a real good front seven.

Q: Mike Singletary really credited his assistant coaches and he referred to himself as a so-called motivational speaker, and you have to have the support from the assistant coaches. With him as a so-called "motivational speaker" as a head coach, has that changed…is it a different dynamic for you in putting together the plan on a weekly basis?
Martz:
No. Not really. You know, when I came here with Mike [Nolan], there was a great deal of trust that Mike would give me what we would do offensively. That's been relayed to Mike [Singletary] as well. Mike [Singletary] has done a great job of learning what we do and why we do it. He's asked a lot of questions. He understands and knows exactly what we're doing and why we're doing it. He likes what we do, and I think he's pleased with how we teach things. We have a real good relationship. It's terrific. [I'm] very fortunate to have that relationship. There's a lot of things that defensive guys that have been on the other side of the ball don't realize about offense. It's easy to come in that room and say, ‘well, as a defensive coach, I always thought that offense should do this, this, this and this.' I've been through that. It's miserable. It's not the case at all. He asks questions and he wants to know and learn what we do. He's outstanding in terms of a relationship and communication. It's very easy for me.
Q: Have you thought ahead to next year? If Mike [Singletary] were to get the full-time job?
Martz:
Oh, sure. Today is just enough in itself. I'll worry about tomorrow when it gets here. A month from now, who knows what's going to happen to any of us. I don't worry about tomorrow. I enjoy every day. I really do, honest to goodness. I'm not trying to be cute or avoid your question. I've been in this too long -- you start worrying and looking down the road and all those things, you don't really enjoy what you're doing. I'm having fun here with what we're doing. I enjoy it.

Q: There's been some talk out there about San Diego State. Have they contacted you?
Martz:
Somebody asked me that yesterday. Here's what I would say about any of those things. This came up in Detroit, and this time of year you go through that. The only thing I will say to you, and this is really important to me. Any job I'm concerned about is the job I have. I would never discuss another job, no matter where it is. It just is not appropriate for me. I'm not dodging your question, but that's just not my thing. I'm happy with the job that I have and I'm trying to do the best I can at it, so we'll just leave it at that."

Q: As you study the Jets and look at what their defense does, has Dwight Lowery the corner made any kind of impression on you?
Martz:
I think both corners have. They're both physical corners. They're nickel. They do such a good job of getting their hands on you and disrupting your route – and better than probably anybody we've played this year. But there's a challenge for us with these receivers. On our astro-turf – or not astro-turf – but on the artificial surface, it's a little easier for the receivers because you can be a little bit more sudden. On the grass, it's a little different. So, we've got our work cut out for us. This is a real good defensive group. We're excited about the matchups, and we'll just see what happens.

Q: You mentioned that matchup between Eric [Heitmann] and Kris Jenkins. With the way that Eric has played this year, is that something that you're sort of excited about to see what he does against a player in that caliber? Martz: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Here's the thing about Eric [Heitmann] that I will tell you. In 17 years that I've been in the league, he's the best center that I've had. He's the best by far, because he's so much more physical than most centers. He's got so much size to him and pop. We're fortunate to have him. That's why I'm excited about the matchup. I think he'll deal with that. We have a terrific center in Detroit, and I think he's outstanding. He's a different guy because when you get a nose guard on a center, if he's not a real stout, physical guy, you've got to help him. This is a real test for him, one that I'm excited about seeing.

Q: Can you say the same thing about the guys on either side of him: David Baas and Chilo [Rachal]. They're also physical and the type of player that you need to attack.
Martz:
Both Chilo [Rachal] and David [Baas] are big people that have a lot of punch to them. Of course that's why we...As they learn to play together, they'll learn the nuances of how to play a defense like this from Foerster, as far as telling them how we're going to deal with this.

Q: Are you guys were happy with Adam Snyder at right tackle?
Martz:
Very much so, but Barry [Sims] played very well this year. Barry's played very well [inaudible]. He was playing exceptionally well. I haven't talked it over with Chris [Foerster] about that. I haven't thought a whole lot about it. We're just trying to get this game plan ready. This is something that Chris will make the decision on right now.

Q: With Heitmann what exactly does he do that you like?
Martz:
He is very quick with his hands. He's very strong into the hips. Guys that are small in the hips have smaller lower bodies. They get pushed around pretty good underneath. He's very quick with his hands on the nose [tackle], and he's real stout with the lower body. He does just a great job of getting on the face of the nose guard. You can't find centers in the league like that.

Q: From snap to hands up is very quick?
Martz:
Yes. It's very quick. Very quick. And he's quick enough to cut a nose guard off and get through the shade. All of those things I'm very pleased with him. He's played well all year long. He's been the most consistent player that we've had throughout the whole year. He really has been the most consistent, best offensive player that we've had.

Q: Pro Bowl results are right around the corner. Is he somebody that you think is worthy of recognition?
Martz:
I think he's worthy of recognition, certainly. I think, though, that the record sometimes will hurt you. I think he gets the respect from the guys that he plays, but we'll see. I really like him. He's a great center.


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