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Joe Staley hasn’t been this optimistic since 2014

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The 49ers tackle has seen it all when it comes to coaching and leadership The last time he was feeling like this was Jim Harbaugh’s final year.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has had an increase in attention this past week with a great Bleacher Report article coming out about him and another well done article in Sports Illustrated. Both deserve a read if you haven’t gotten to them yet, but in the SI article, 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley actually gets his own moment to harken back to the past.

You see, Staley is optimistic. He is definitely optimistic about 2018, in fact the last time he’s felt this way was in 2014:

“I’ve been around here a couple offseasons where we’ve just been like, Man, I hope this year goes well,” says Staley, a 49er since 2007. “But now we’re working for something. Have a bad play and it’s like, We have to get this right.” The last time he felt like that? “Probably [Jim] Harbaugh’s last year,” he says, back in ’14. “But even then, there was some stuff going on that was just like, all right, this is going off the rails a little bit. It wasn’t so much the QB situation or anything like that, but [now] you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The “Even then,” comments are interesting. I made a point in 2014 when the Harbaugh drama was commencing that part of the reason for the 49ers lethargic play in 2014 may have been the players seeing what was going on with Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers organization leading to their eventual “mutual parting of ways.” Like any job, it’s hard to be motivated and go 100 percent for your boss, when you know your boss isn’t going to be around much longer and is fighting with higher-ups in management. Now, we don’t know if that’s really what he meant, perhaps the rails falling off was the rumored locker room issues Harbaugh had in his final year.

In any case, he had some optimism in 2014, but as we all know, that optimism got squashed rather quickly when the 49ers began to be a shadow of their former selves the previous three years. I’d love to know what the rest of the team was thinking with Jim Tomsula, Chip Kelly and year one with Kyle Shanahan.

Players can be positive and it can be misplaced. Garrett Celek thought Chip Kelly’s offense was, “Kind of genius” in the 2016 offseason and we saw how that turned out. This seems a bit more legitimate than that, but it’s something to keep in mind.