Staley taking success in stride

Joe Staley is getting the job done at left offensive tackle for the 49ers. After another fine game last week against the Miami Dolphins – when Staley stoned AFC sack leader Joey Porter every time he went against him – Staley talks about his progress and his matchup in this week's game against the St. Louis Rams, a matchup Staley could face for many years to come.

Q: Offensive coordinator Mike Martz said you reached the high expectations of what you are capable of this past week and have been playing well lately. What's your reaction to that?
Staley:
I expect that of myself every week, to play at that level. I feel like I'm playing well this year. I would say I welcome that, but I don't need a coach telling me.

Q: Do you feel like your transition from right tackle to the left side is now complete?
Staley:
Yeah, I guess. I don't think it's complete because it could never be complete. You always have something. You never get comfortable. Once you get comfortable and you think you got it, that's when you start playing really crappy. So you always have to keep improving. Keep working in practice and never think you really have it.

Q: You played a lot of left tackle in college. What's the biggest change you've noticed changing sides and playing the left side at the NFL level?
Staley:
First thing I notice is the speed of the game and also the speed of the guy that you usually see on the left side. And then kind of getting acclimated to the kind of footwork the coaches are looking for. And being comfortable with people you're playing around because the blitzes happen so much faster in the NFL than in college. You really have to trust the guy that you're playing next to and you really have to trust your technique and work on that in practice to have success on Sundays.

Q: What are your thoughts on the guy that you're up against on Sunday? This is a guy you might be facing for the next decade.
Staley:
Chris Long is a good player. He's really relentless and he's got a lot of strength. That's one of the things that impressed me the first time we went against each other. He's really strong. He plays really hard every play. It's going to be fun to have that kind of matchup in the NFC West. Hopefully, we can both play for each other teams for a long time and make it a fun battle.

Q: You compared him to somebody else this year. Who was that?
Staley:
Probably (Patrick) Kearney, when Kearney was playing. Obviously, he's on IR now but when he was playing, especially last year, he was kind of the same player – a powerful guy, relentless, goes to the ball, finishes well. They're kind of in the same mold.

Q: What kind of strides has Chris Long strides since the last time you faced him?
Staley:
Right now they're doing a lot of different stuff. But he is playing really well for them lately. We just faced them six weeks ago. So there isn't a whole lot. We faced him toward the second half of the season so he was already kind of comfortable. I do see he's feeling comfortable. I think the speed is slowing down for him. He's kind of going through what I was last year. As far as a rookie, at first it's like, "Whoa. It's so fast." But the game is slowing down for him. You can see he's playing well and you can see his athleticism go through.

Q: When you see him twice a year, and probably will for the next few years, do you have to be more consistent or do you have to vary your approach?
Staley:
You just play him the same. It's like I told you last week. It's the same with every person. You can't ever change what you do. It's the same with every guy I face in the NFC West. It's not just the (Rams.) I face Arizona Cardinals defense ends twice a year, every year. It's the same with everybody.

Q: You were asked about the job you did against Joey Porter last week. Does he talk as much as advertised?
Staley:
Nuh-uh. He didn't say one word. Not one word. He said one word to the refs in the third quarter, and then I said something to him. And then he moved to the other side.

Q: Were you disappointed?
Staley:
No, I don't talk much. And I don't talk much and I don't pay attention to it. I'm not one of those guys who yaks all the time.

Q: What was the one word?
Staley:
I was just ragging on him because he was complaining to the refs because he was frustrated.

Q: What was that fun to see a veteran get out of his game a little bit?
Staley:
I guess. It's just fun having success. I was just really pissed that we lost that game. I think we should have won the game. You can't get too excited about personal performance. You help the team as much as you can and you do what your job is, but the ultimate goal is to win. So you can't get too excited if you did well but lost.


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