Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports



If you had to pick one player on the San Francisco 49ers' offensive line that has been consistent all season, you'd have a hard time not choosing veteran left tackle Joe Staley.

A case could be made for right tackle Trent Brown, but he has missed three games this season, which includes two of the last three. Head coach Kyle Shanahan announced on Friday that Brown will be placed on injured reserve due to the shoulder injury he suffered during practice on Thanksgiving Day.

Staley missed just one game this season due to a broken orbital bone. He has started all sixteen games in seven of his 11 NFL seasons.

Shanahan was a fan of Staley even before the 49ers offered him the head coach job. On Friday afternoon, Shanahan spoke to reporters about the anchor along his offensive line.

"Joe's been great," Shanahan said. "I had a very high regard for Joe before I got here just from watching him on tape, and knowing people that have coached him in the past, and what they told me, and he hasn't disappointed at all. He's exceeded expectations.

"Comparing (Staley) to people in my past, he's right up there. It's probably as hard of a position for me for someone to be compared to because I've been very fortunate with tackles just from Duane Brown to Trent Williams to Joe Staley. It's been very good. And Joe Thomas, also. I've had a great group there, and Staley's been right there with those guys."

Staley doesn't often stand up and address his teammates. He's more of a lead by example type of player. However, when Staley does, as he reportedly did at the team's hotel the night before the 49ers' Week 10 win against the New York Giants, his teammates would be foolish not to listen.

"When guys like that talk, it doesn't totally matter what they say," Shanahan said. "It could if they really messed it up but people have such respect for guys and what they see. And what they see is that guy's whole career and what he's done and how good of a player he still is. And when he has the respect that he does, what he's done this year, battling through injuries, rushing so fast to get back when we're an 0-9 team. We thought we were going to miss him for a while with his broken orbital and he only missed one game.

"For people to see stuff like that, they have so much respect for him and then when a guy like that gets up and talks, people really listen. I don't remember exactly what he said but we won that game, and I think that has a lot to do with it.

"When you have people like that talk, people want to hear what it is. There's very few people in the locker room that demand that attention, and it's truly out of what they've done in their career."