Why Mike Martz wears out his Welcome so Quickly

Why Mike Martz wears out his Welcome so Quickly
Mike Martz

Why Mike Martz wears out his Welcome so Quickly

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           

    The Martz 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 hits.

            Coach Martz 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. 

            The Lions 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. 

             Alex Smith 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.

             What makes 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. 

             The 49'ers 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 edits http://fryingpanpolitics.blog.com

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