My Dad is a pretty smart guy. One lesson he taught me early on was if you
can't be part of the solution, at least try not to be part of the problem. When it comes to placing a QB at risk in an
offense, Mike Martz is definitely part of the problem.By Bill Smith
offense became known as the “greatest show on turf” in St. Louis with Kurt Warner pulling the
trigger in 1999-2001 and future Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk. What happened? There were injuries to the offensive line and
suddenly Warner, who is a great passer but not fleet of foot, was beaten into
submission by the defense. No matter how
hard he tried, he could not get rid of the ball fast enough to prevent massive
put Marc Bulger into the lineup. He was
younger, a little faster, and succeeded for awhile. But again, Bulger got beaten up and the
offense went nowhere. Even though the
offense wasn't moving, eventually Martz did—to Detroit.
had a very solid quarterback in John Kitna and should have had some great
receivers (after all they drafted one in the top 10 three straight years). The Lions broke out to a great start then
faded badly and ended up out of the playoffs.
Under Martz as offensive coordinator, the Lions gave up the most sacks
in the league. There was no running game
and no offense. The Lions went 7-9 in
the NFC “least” and Martz was on his way to San Francisco.
was the first overall pick in the 2005 draft.
His career has been up and down since then. Under Martz, he will be down a lot. The offensive line that was a major
disappointment last year, may be in for further turmoil this season as the best
blocker, former all pro guard Larry
Allen, is expected to retire. Two key
backups, former starting tackle Kwame Harris and guard Justin Smiley were
signed by other teams as UFA's. While the 49ers used 2nd and 4th
round choices on offensive linemen, rookies will take time to work into a
lineup that can pass block in the Martz scheme.
the Martz system so exciting when executed properly but so deadly to QB's when
it does not is the 5 receiver route concept it employs. With all backs and receivers out in the
pattern, there is little protection from a blitzer. The QB must get the ball out before he gets
hit. Even when he does, like both Warner
and Bulger will tell you, the QB takes a beating. The failure of the pass protection schemes
led to Martz exit from both St. Louis as head
coach and Detroit
as the Offensive Coordinator.
currently have a three way quarterback contest.
Shawn Hill, who ended the season as the starter, according to head coach
Mike Nolan is the leader going into the preseason, with Smith (coming off IR) and former Martz discovery J.T. O'Sullivan
who played in Detroit
last year. Three QB's are good because
unless the Martz blocking system changes, the team will need all three and
maybe one or two more.
Bill Smith is a
former coach of several semi-pro teams and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for
http://BrutusReport.com. He has also
published several novels on http://ebooks-library.com/index.cfm and