Matt Maiocco and Matt Barrows have done an excellent job of covering the 49ers first few days of training camp and today was no different from MM.
Apparently Smith struggled out of the gate this morning in practice overthrowing several receivers. Mike Martz told him to remember to bend his knees a little more when passing. When Smith returned to the practice field after Hill took his reps, the difference was immediate:
Smith completed his final 10 passes of practice, including two beautiful throws to split end Bryant Johnson. One was a deep out in which he squeezed the ball into Johnson at the sideline despite good coverage from Nate Clements. Another notable pass was a 24-yard TD strike to Johnson against the coverage of Shawntae Spencer and Mark Roman.
"He (Martz) sees so much stuff," Smith said. "He sees the body and the feet. Today, he mentioned that about my knee bend. You never want to stand straight up, but as a quarterback you're not always thinking about your knee bend. When he mentioned that, I just wanted to get back there and play catch."
I recall Martz working with the Senior Bowl QBs and drilling the necessary mechanics into their heads over and over again. I'd love to hear a scout's take on Alex Smith before Martz arrived to see if mechanics were an issue (aside from small hands of course!).
Another interesting point relates back to the Urban Meyer interview after Smith was drafted:
Smith said he's received some coaching on technique in the past with the 49ers, but nothing compared to what he's getting from Martz this year.
Like Smith has said, Martz leaves nothing to chance. In learning the offense, one thing that struck Smith is that there is little gray area in the playbook. As Smith said, Martz supplies all the answers in his offensive scheme.
The same can be said for a quarterback's mechanics. His reminders to Smith this morning proved immediate dividends.
It's only been one day of practice in pads, but I have to admit, I'm gaining optimism as training camp wears on. I know this will probably come back and bite me in the ass but training camp is where we're supposed to have optimism.