Final chance? Martz in tow to tutor Niners’ QB Alex Smith

Four for four.
Not often a description tied to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.
But in this case, it’s entirely appropriate.

The top pick of the 2005 draft begins his fourth season bound to his fourth offensive coordinator, his job possibly up for grabs and his franchise running out of time to turn the program around under the regime of general manager Scot McCloughan and coach Mike Nolan.

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Maybe Smith can play in the NFL and maybe he can’t. But he won’t be able to say he didn’t get a chance to showcase his skills because the new offensive coordinator is Mike Martz, who never saw a football that he didn’t think ought to be thrown.

“There’s no one more creative as far as using personnel in a way that allows us to be productive on offense,” Nolan says. “Mike’s got great command of the room. He inspires players.”

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They’ll need that. The 49ers stumbled to a 5-11 record last year after winning their first two games. Smith (shoulder) didn’t play in the final seven and feuded with Nolan about his care and rehabilitation, though both say the episode is behind them. “You move on,” Smith says. “This is a chance, with coach Martz coming in, to wipe the slate clean.”

usatoday.com
5/23/08