Martz: Alex Smith needs to move on
Two former NFL head coaches with 49ers ties addressed the team’s quarterback situation in a national conference call this morning.
Mike Martz, who served as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator last season, said he was impressed with what he saw during games from Shaun Hill last season. He also said he believes Alex Smith needs to leave the 49ers’ organization to begin to realize his potential.
Martz and former 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci participated in a call this morning to promote “The NFL Head Coaches,” a weekly half-hour show that debuts on the NFL Network on Sept. 14. The show will also feature former Saints and Colts coach Jim Mora.
Here are the questions I fired at Martz and Mariucci:
Q: How can Jimmy Raye tailor that offense to take advantage of Shaun Hill’s strengths and compensate for his weaknesses?
Martz: “He doesn’t really have to do anything to it. Shaun surprised me when he played, with the things he can do. He sees things and can digest things as a quarterback at the snap much better than he appeared to do during practice. I don’t think you have to make any concessions with him. I was amazed and impressed with him coming down the stretch last year, and I was kind of tentative about him – wasn’t real sure. The more he played, the more a fan and believer he made of me.”
Q: What does this mean for Alex Smith’s career to get beaten out for the starting job?
Mariucci: “Mike was there, he knows the guys personally. Alex Smith got another chance with a new contract to compete for that job. You’ll have to see how this season goes there. Will he get another shot with the 49ers because of the team’s record or because of an injury? Only time will tell. But Alex Smith seems to be a little rejuvenated, health-wise, and even mentally, where he feels good about himself. I’d like to see the kid get another opportunity to start, whether it’s for the 49ers or somebody else, because I think there’s something there. Mike, you worked with him every day. You know more about him than I do, but I’m pulling for the guy.”
Martz: “I feel the same way. I think the biggest issue in being with the 49ers is all the history that’s there (and it) is not real good history for him. And a lot of times this happens in the league – you look at Kurt Warner and Trent Green, he bounced around to different teams and finally he found a fit. Ultimately, he’s going to need to go to another team. He deserves another opportunity. I think he can play. I think it would help him to be in a whole new environment and get rid of that baggage that he has to think about and affects his confidence each day. When something bad happens in practice with him, everybody goes, ‘Oh, here we go.’ He needs to jettison that out. He needs to go, find another team and start over again. And I do think he has a future in the league, and he’ll be fine. But I do think he needs to probably move on.”
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