Martz heaps lavish praise on Heitmann

O.C. Mike Martz held his bi-weekly meeting with the media today. He spoke glowingly of center Eric Heitmann and evaded any questions about his coaching future.

Among the things he said:


–Heitmann is having a fantastic season and would be worthy of Pro Bowl recognition if the 49ers had a better record. Martz said in 17 years of coaching in the NFL, Heitmann is the best center he’s coached — “by far.”


Martz also said Heitmann has been the most consistent 49ers offensive lineman.


What makes Heitmann special, Martz said, is his powerful hips and his quick hands. After the snap of the ball, Heitmann is able to get his hands on the nose tackle with astonishing speed.


Heitmann seemed uncomfortable talking about himself when told of Martz’s comments. However, he did say he thought he was playing better than he has in past season. (And Heitmann was the 49ers’ McKittrick Award winner the past two seasons.)


“Coming off the broken leg, there were some issues with mobility (last year),” Heitmann said. “Now, I’ve gotten that back.”


Obviously, Heitmann has a big task on Sunday when he faces the Jets’ Kris Jenkins.


–Martz addressed the switch that has seemed to occur. Earlier in the season the run blocking was good and the pass-protection, well, not so much. Now, it’s been reversed.


“When teams face us, what’s the first thing they’re going to take away?” Martz asked.


The answer was No. 21.


“Yeah, they’re going to take 21 away,” he said. “So when teams line up to take 21 away, they’re not going to rush the passer, are they? Now they’ve created some good things with us in the passing game. . . . You just have to be able to transition in and out of the passing game and the running game when that happens.


“That’s why we do what we do. One week, he might rush the ball 15 times, and the next week he might rush it 32 times.”


–Asked Martz if he’s thought ahead to next season . . . if Mike Singletary were to get the head-coaching job, would Martz want to be back on the staff?


“Today is just enough in itself,” Martz said. “I’ll worry about tomorrow when it gets here. A month from now, who knows what’s going to happen. I enjoy every day. I’m not trying to be cute or avoid your question. I’ve been in this too long to worry. If you start worrying or looking down the road at all those things, you don’t really enjoy what you’re doing. I’m having fun here with what we’re doing.”


–Has San Diego State made any contact with Martz about the opening?


“This came up in Detroit, and this time of year you go through that,” Martz said. “The only thing I’ll say, and this is important to me, the only job I’m concerned about is the job that I have. I’d never discuss another job, no matter where it is. It’s just not appropriate for me. It’s not right. I’m happy with the job that I have and I’m trying to do the best I can with it, so we’ll just leave it at that.” 


–Martz left the door open for Barry Sims to challenge Adam Snyder at right guard tackle. Martz declined to say which player will start this week, but he said Sims was playing very well when he got hurt.



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