Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


Joe Staley feels 49ers are built for success, expects big season from Jimmy Garoppolo

Sep 7, 2021 at 12:37 PM--


As Joe Staley embarks on his first season as a member of the media, his former team embarks on a potential bounceback campaign to prove that 2020's six-win effort was a fluke. Staley believes the San Francisco 49ers will do just that.

Staley, a rookie again, this time with NBC Sports Bay Area, likes what he sees from the stacked Niners roster. The team isn't far removed from the 2019 team that included Staley and reached the Super Bowl, falling just short of a championship. Injuries played a big part in last season's lack of success. However, a healthier 2021 should result in a more desirable outcome.

"I think, definitely, there is something to be said about staying healthy because I do believe this is a really loaded roster," Staley said on KNBR's Papa & Lund show. "I think they have more weapons. They have more depth, especially at the quarterback position. You saw that being the Achilles' heel for the time that Jimmy's been with the team. Once he went down, it kind of derailed the entire offense and the team."

Staley knows that a healthier season alone won't automatically result in an improved record. Every season presents new unique challenges, and the locker room dynamics go a long way toward overcoming adversity.

"I do believe that they're built for success because they have those veteran leaders," Staley continued. "I think Fred Warner's going to play a huge role in that this year. George [Kittle], going into his fifth year, really understanding what it takes to win day in and day out. I think Jimmy [Garoppolo] being motivated with Trey [Lance] pushing him in the back[ground] is going to be huge for him because I think he's going to really respond well to that.

"And then guys like Raheem [Mostert], and the offensive line, and that back end [on defense will help]. Jimmie Ward, going into his eighth year, and just guys that really understand what it takes to practice day in and day out. I think they're really going to be set up for success.

"... I do believe this is a really loaded roster. It's a tough division, but if the Niners can stay healthy and keep those expectations and the day-to-day focus, I think they're going to be set up for a really nice season."

Staley shared that he was always impressed with his replacement at left tackle, veteran Trent Williams. He even acknowledges that the 49ers might have upgraded at the position following his retirement.

"As a player, watching him when we were competing at the same time, it was almost frustrating to watch the things that he was able to do on film," Staley said. "And I couldn't take a ton from his game because I would be honest with myself and say, 'I just can't do that, physically.' He's so physically talented."

Staley added that one of the 49ers' biggest offseason additions might be center Alex Mack, whose ability to communicate before the snap might be an asset for a young quarterback like Trey Lance.

As for Garoppolo, Staley expects a big season from his former quarterback. Much of that is due to the presence of Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in April and Garoppolo's eventual successor.

"I think he understands the situation," Staley said. "It's been communicated [to] him from the top down, and I don't think there's been any secrets. He understands what it is, and I think he's going to really relish in the opportunity to compete and hold onto that job and do the best he can.

"I personally think it's going to be a really great year for Jimmy because I feel, talking to him this offseason, I feel he's really focused on completely understanding what Kyle wants, running the offense. Talking to the other guys, he's really taken a huge leadership role this year. And I think he's responding in a positive way.

"And he's also not doing it in a counterproductive way with Trey's development either. He's a great teammate, and he has the mindset of what's best for the team is best for me."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Staley below.






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