Q&A with Martz...
Instant 49ers: Is there a Catch-22, in having an open competition for the QB job? Don't you want to have a No. 1 quarterback, so the focus can be to get him ready to play?
Martz: "This stuff will sort itself out. We have lots of time to make that decision. Until they (the quarterbacks) have full knowledge of what we do, to make a decision before that would be unfair to all of them. Until we know they're completely prepared with what we do, to say this guy's going to start and this guy isn't, is not quite fair. When they're up to speed, then you can judge them fairly."
Instant 49ers: But doesn't it hurt that the person who becomes the starter won't be getting most of the reps through the offseason?
Martz: "The information is the same. You're teaching them all the same, but he just gets more reps if he's the starter. So there's a little bit of a difference, but at this point, it's not significant."
Instant 49ers: When do you think it becomes significant?
Martz: "If it's a real extended time, I think it can affect it. I'm not worried about that. There's nothing you can do about it. It is what it is. There is no other way of doing it that's right. This is the right way of doing it."
Instant 49ers: How do you think you will arrive at that decision? What will tell you that this is the right time to name a starter?
Martz: "That's not my decision. That's Mike's (Nolan). We'll sit down and I'm sure he'll ask for some things and then he'll make a decision. He'll ask for my input. I don't make that decision, but I'm sure he'll ask me and Ted (Tollner) what we think. We'll go over the position. It's like any other position."
Instant 49ers: Everything we've heard about your system is that it's so complex and it takes a while to learn it.
Martz: "It is complex. But here's the point I'm trying to make, whether we have a starter or not doesn't change the information they're trying to handle. (The starter) might get a few more snaps, but not significantly right now. Now, the longer it goes, then you like to have a sense of it. But we have plenty of time. Remember, now, Kurt Warner wasn't our starter until the third preseason game. He was a third going in and then he was a backup. It can be done. I'm not worried about it. For us, that's part is not an issue. They're getting enough reps and they're being coached the same.
Instant 49ers: I wanted to talk to you about each of your quarterbacks. Let's start with Alex Smith. The knock on Alex has been . . .
Martz: "Before you even start that I just want to say that all sins are forgiven. I don't know what you're going to say; I don't care what you're going to say. It has no bearing. For me to evaluate him, it's what I see out here right now. I could care less about what's happened in the past.
Instant 49ers: Fair enough. Let's put it this way - are you comfortable with Alex's ability to make quick decisions and get rid of the ball on time?
Martz: "So far, he's been extraordinary. So far, he's been absolutely extraordinary."
Instant 49ers: Shaun said you've been working with him on his mechanic, as far as getting his entire body behind his throws. Is his arm strength adequate enough to succeed in this offense?
Martz: "He's got the arm strength. The thing with Shaun, and Kurt was a little bit like this too, throwing the football is about balance. If you're a golfer, and you're going to play over one leg or the other, how you going to play? It's the same thing with throwing a football. There's a rotation into the throw. So he gets a little tilted off balance and that affects him a little bit. We can clean that up. We can clean that up a lot. And I'm excited about that he has that feel for it right now. He's done exceptionally well. They've both been good."
Instant 49ers: What did you see when you watched J.T. O'Sullivan on film in NFL Europe that made you think he could be effective in your system?
Martz: "It's real clear. When we saw him in Europe, he made incredible throws under duress, which makes a real difference in quarterbacks. It's a real key. In Europe, he flicks the ball and hits the guy on a dead run. He has uncanny accuracy. He sees thing. He's mobile, he's tough. He's all those things."
Instant 49ers: At this point, can you look out there and envision each of these guys as your starting quarterback?
Martz: "If coach came in and says, 'I want to play this guy,' I'm comfortable with whatever he says. We'll go play. I have great confidence in all of them."
Best Player in NFL History: 16th overall pick of the 1985 draft