Like getting rid of the ball before getting pancaked by a 220-pound blitzing safety. Novel idea. But here's the thing: as much as fans and the media like to give Smith the business, apparently, the offense's level of sucktitude had more to do with former offensive coordinator Jim Hostler.
The Press Democrat's Matt Maiocco learned earlier this week that San Francisco has now installed "hot reads" as a part of the overall offensive philosophy. Anybody with even a rudimentary understanding of Madden knows that a hot read is a route adjustment by a would-be pass catcher because the defense is showing blitz. The idea, simply, is for the quarterback to get the ball out of his hands, stat.
Thank God for Mike Martz, I guess. But Maiocco wonders why the team didn't implement it until now. Good question.
But what's shocking is that wrinkle was not in the 49ers' offense prior to Martz's arrival. The 49ers of last season under Jim Hostler had other ways to deal with a blitz. First, the quarterback ran like a scared rabbit to avoid getting skinned and served for dinner. No, actually, that was the third option.The problem, of course, is that the play usually ended differently than Hostler had drawn it up in the dirt, often with Smith sandwiched between the turf and the defense's fattest player.
Actually, when the 49ers detected a blitz coming, they would try to slide their protection to account for the presence of an additional pass-rusher. They tried to have the protection hold up to take advantage of the defense committing more than the typical four pass-rushers.
Why didn't Hostler make an adjustment? No idea, but I'm guessing it probably came up in his review.
Martz has something of a reputation for not valuing the quarterback position (at least in that he's not afraid to let his QBs take some hits), but he sounds like Joe "Max-Protect" Gibbs compared to Hostler. Whether this will have any impact on the 49ers season is a different story, but you have to think it's a good start.