Martz: Stabilization has led to Alex Smith's success


Martz: Stabilization has led to Alex Smith's success

DENVER -- When Mike Martz watches Alex Smith now, he sees the player he expected
Smith to be during their brief time together.Martz, hired as 49ers offensive coordinator in 2008, went through the offseason and training camp with Smith in a competition against Shaun Hill and J.T. O'Sullivan.Smith lost the starting job O'Sullivan, and then he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery before the start of the regular season. Smith never returned to full health after sustaining a separated shoulder the previous season.Martz, who was in Denver on Sunday for a dress rehearsal to prepare him for his new job as a FOX NFL analyst, said he is not at all surprised that Smith rebounded last year with his best season."There've been so many moving parts around Alex during his career that when things got stabilized, he was allowed to develop," Martz said. "When I say moving parts, just the changing of the coordinators, receiver groups, offensive line changes. They've stabilized all that now."Martz was one of those coordinators -- Smith's fourth in four seasons. But Smith never attempted a regular-season pass in Martz's one year with the 49ers."Alex, when I had him, he was just not right," Martz said. "He missed a lot of throws that he normally wouldn't miss. I knew there was something wrong. I didn't say anything to him. And eventually he realized it, and that's when he had his (shoulder) surgery."Under Martz, the 49ers' offense ranked No. 23 in the NFL in yards -- a vast improvement from 32nd overall in 2007. The 49ers ranked 13th in passing yards.Mike Nolan, the coach who hired Martz, got fired during the season. Mike Singletary was promoted to head coach. Immediately following the season, Singletary fired Martz and eventually hired Jimmy Raye.Martz, now retired from coaching, left San Francisco with a high opinion of Smith from what he witnessed off the field."He's really a gifted guy -- very intelligent," Martz said. "He was a joy to work with -- he really was -- because he's a committed guy. He asks all the right questions. I'm very happy for him. He was in it all the time. He followed what we were doing. He was a pro."I never questioned that (his mindset). The only issue I had with him was the accuracy I saw in college and earlier, when I got there, he would miss throws he ordinarily wouldn't miss. I didn't know what to do about it, to be honest with you. I know he got frustrated with it, too. He's just too good of a player."Smith never told Martz that his shoulder was ailing, Martz said.Last season, Smith started all 18 regular-season and playoff games for the 49ers. He completed 61.4 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions."The thing you saw with him is that he made some incredible throws under duress, which is what he did in college," Martz said. "He'd have a guy in his face, and he'd stick it right on the guy. When he's not real confident about the throw, he's going to hold it a little bit. That's what he did with me. And he didn't do that last year. He was letting it go."I would've liked to have had him when he was feeling good and everything was good. But that's the way it is. That's the NFL."With a stable supporting cast that includes the return of coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman and talented surrounding cast, Smith is set up to build on last season, Martz said."They run the ball so effectively that anytime he flashes the ball to Frank Gore, the defense is coming toward the line of scrimmage," Martz said. "So the throws he's getting on first and second downs are big, productive throws, particularly to Vernon (Davis). Because the under coverage is coming down to stop the run and they have some big plays."With the additions of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham joining Michael Crabtree, the 49ers have some options Martz compares to his time with the St. Louis Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf.""That threesome, the wide receiver threesome, will help Alex immensely," Martz said. "We know what Vernon is. And Vernon is an elite player in the league. He just needed more than Vernon."If you can put three receivers and a tight end in there, how do you cover that? That's what we did in St. Louis. Pick your poison. I think they have to chance to do that. Moss does not have line up on their best cornerback any more. They can put Crabtree out there and put Moss in the slot. That's another mismatch."

49ers snap count: Three RBs share workload with Hyde sidelined

49ers snap count: Three RBs share workload with Hyde sidelined

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers split the playing time among three running backs Sunday with starter Carlos Hyde out of action due to a shoulder injury.

DuJuan Harris, whom the 49ers promoted from the practice squad on Saturday, saw his first action of the season. He played 26 snaps, the most of any of the 49ers’ running backs on Sunday in the team’s 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium.

Harris had 39 yards rushing on 11 attempts. He also caught two passes for 18 yards.

Shaun Draughn played 23 snaps, while Mike Davis started but saw action in only 21 plays. Davis carried seven times for 21 yards and a touchdown. Draughn carried once for 16 yards and led the team in receiving with five catches for 37 yards.

Linebacker Gerald Hodges started for the first time since Week 3. He played 61 snaps, while Michael Wilhoite saw action on 13 plays after losing his spot in the starting lineup. Nick Bellore started alongside Hodges at inside linebacker and was on the field for 74 of the 49ers’ 75 defensive plays.

First-round draft pick DeForest Buckner played 73 of the 49ers’ defensive plays, an unusually high number for a defensive lineman.

Outside linebacker Tank Carradine did not play any snaps on defense. The 49ers signed him to a one-year extension at the beginning of the season that paid out a $1.25 million signing bonus. His cap figure for next season is $2.025 million. Carradine played seven snaps on special teams.

Here’s how the 49ers divided their playing time on offense, defense and special teams on Sunday in their 45-16 loss to the Bills:

70 snaps
70 -- QB Colin Kaepernick, LT Joe Staley, LG Zane Beadles, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Joshua Garnett, RT Trent Brown
61 -- WR Quinton Patton
56 -- WR Torrey Smith
54 -- TE Vance McDonald
41 -- TE Garrett Celek, WR Jeremy Kerley
26 -- RB DuJuan Harris
23 -- RB Shaun Draughn
21 -- RB Mike Davis
14 -- WR Aaron Burbridge
9 -- WR Rod Streater
4 -- TE Blake Bell

75 snaps
75 -- S Eric Reid, CB Tramaine Brock
74 -- LB Nick Bellore
73 -- DL DeForest Buckner
71 -- LB Ahmad Brooks
70 -- S Antoine Bethea
62 -- CB Rashard Robinson
61 -- LB Gerald Hodges
48 -- LB Aaron Lynch
47 -- DL Arik Armstead
41 -- DL Quinton Dial
40 -- CB Jimmie Ward
26 -- LB Eli Harold
17 -- DL Mike Purcell
14 -- DL Tony Jerod-Eddie
13 -- LB Michael Wilhoite
9 -- S Jaquiski Tartt
7 -- DL Ronald Blair
2 -- CB Keith Reaser

Special teams
27 -- Dontae Johnson, Shayne Skov
21 -- Wilhoite
20 -- Burbridge
17 -- Streater, Purcell
16 -- Celek
15 -- Bell
13 -- Draughn
12 -- Bellore
11 -- Bradley Pinion, Davis
10 -- Dial, Tartt
9 -- Kyle Nelson, Reaser
7 -- Tank Carradine, Harris, Reid, Brooks, Ward, Harold
5 -- Phil Dawson, Robinson, Hodges, Lynch
3 -- Andrew Tiller, JaCorey Shepherd, Beadles, Staley, Brown, Garnett, Kerley
2 -- Blair

Did not play
QB Blaine Gabbert
C Marcus Martin

Not active
QB Christian Ponder
WR Keshawn Martin
CB Marcus Cromartie
RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder)
T John Theus
TE Je’Ron Hamm
DL Glenn Dorsey (knee)

Report: 49ers seek first-round pick for Staley

Report: 49ers seek first-round pick for Staley

If the 49ers are active at the NFL trade deadline on Nov. 1, the organization figures to be sellers.

With a 1-6 record, mired in a six-game losing streak and seemingly fielding a less-competitive team every week, the 49ers do not figure to be in the buying market with the trade deadline approaching.

Left tackle Joe Staley, 32, one of the team’s few players who would be attractive to a contender, is available for a first-round draft pick, according to Pro Football Talk. The report cited a “source with knowledge of the dynamics.”

Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas is also on the trade market for a second-round pick, according to the report. The teams mentioned with potential interest in acquiring Staley or Thomas are the Vikings, Giants, Cardinals, Seahawks and Patriots, reports PFT.

Staley has a base salary of $5.4 million this season. His pay increases to $8.95 million next season, including $8.25 million in base salary. He is signed through the 2019 season.

Staley, a first-round draft pick in 2007, has been selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls.

If the 49ers trade Staley, it could open the way for right tackle Trent Brown to move to the left side. The only other tackle on the roster is rookie John Theus. Veteran guard Zane Beadles is also capable of playing tackle.

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. (PT). The 49ers enter their bye week after Sunday's 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team’s next game is Nov. 6 against the New Orleans Saints.