The 49ers concluded their joint practices with the Texans and we saw Jonathan Cooper and Joshua Garnett start to get more work in on the offensive line. The right guard position has been in flux for a while but veteran tackle Joe Staley is not concerned. He is comfortable with who they have on the line and is confident about their being a consistent unit once they get to the regular season.
Staley also explained that he doesn’t have a timeline in mind about when the position should be set, “It’s up to the coaches whenever they see fit. The best man will win the job and we feel good. It’s not like they are coming into a brand new situation.”
Staley said he thinks that the joint practices are helpful, getting people into new situations and environments, including the heat, which had him taking IV’s before practice to stay hydrated. IVs were on the recommendation off Earl Mitchell who knows the Houston weather better than anyone else on the team. Staley added that the heat is a mental test as well as a physical one.
Staley also described the old school Oklahoma drill that caught his “little brother” Mike McGlinchey off guard. The one on one run up didn’t go well for the rookie the first day but his reps against J.J. Watt the next day went much better. Staley said he didn’t prep McGlinchey for facing Watt which he thinks is a good thing.
I think that’s good for him to go in and figure that stuff out on [his] own, try to correct what you’re doing on the practice field because it’s practice. It’s the time to do all that stuff. You don’t have to go out there and have a perfect day. You’re going to try different things and see what works and what doesn’t work. J.J.’s pretty special but he’s also a strong guy who’s good with his hands. There’s guys like that in the NFL where you can say well this is what worked for me when I went against J.J. and all those reps and this is what did not work when I was going against J.J. and kind of apply that throughout the season.
Staley is also confident in his quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo who now has a full understanding of the offensive playbook. He no longer has just memorized it, he has fully digested it which gives him confidence in what he's saying. He also seen growing confidence in Jonathan Cooper who has been gradually getting back into football shape after a “long lay off.” Staley closed out his interview saying for players like Cooper, it’s much more technical for an offensive linemen than...a wide reciever, “just running routes.”
I would say that offensive linemen are by far the most intelligent human beings on earth.