Joe Staley and Alex Smith have always been close on and off the field.
Sunday, however, the 49ers blindside protector and starting quarterback became even tighter in a way.
Staley suffered a cut to the bridge of his nose two days into training camp. It’s been constantly re-opening because of contact to his helmet rubbing off on to his nose. That changed this past week with Staley electing to wear his older and much tighter helmet.
The left tackle didn’t re-open his wound, but did see his quarterback wind up with a similar laceration.
With Smith being on the receiving end of an open-field hit by Lions safety John Wendling, the 49ers quarterback finished the last scoring drive with blood trickling down his face.
Staley already had tremendous respect for Smith’s leadership and durability, but couldn’t help but feel a tad closer to the team’s offensive co-captain.
On Tuesday, the team’s first media availability of the week, Staley joked that he and Smith had become, “Nose Bros.”
Clever, certainly, but Staley couldn’t help but share the term he created after Sunday’s 27-19 win over Detroit.
The left tackle began to explain the details of his minor injury when he was interrupted by an on-looking teammate.
“I changed helmets last game so I didn’t have a problem, back to the old-school one,” Staley said while showing off his old helmet before noticing Jonathan Goodwin join the media circle.
“What’s up Goody?” Staley asked.
“Nothing,” the 49ers center said, “just listening.”
The mood around 49ers headquarters is loose coming off a 2-0 start, but that doesn’t mean preparation goes out the window.
Staley, Goodwin, and all the 49ers have turned their attention to Sunday’s road matchup with the Minnesota Vikings (1-1).
“We prepare every week for our opponent,” Staley said. “Every game in the NFL, we’re prepared to win. Every week is a great battle. I don’t think this team ever gets too high after a victory or too low after a loss… We’re all professionals.”
The left tackle continued to explain that the 49ers have experienced non-playoff seasons and want to do everything possible to stay atop the NFC West.
“A lot of the guys know what it’s like to be down, not at the top,” Staley said. “We’re always working to stay up here. We know how fleeting those wins can be. We know how to prepare.”
In 2009, the 49ers entered a Week 3 road game against the Vikings in a similar fashion – 2-0.
San Francisco battled throughout the challenging road environment, but was defeated by a last-second Brett Favre touchdown pass.
Staley hasn’t forgotten the outcome, but more so, he recalls the sack-fumble on the 49ers first offensive play and the loud Metrodome environment.
“They’re a different team than they were then and we’re a different team than we were then. It’s going to be a loud atmosphere,” Staley said. “We’ll prepare for that as well.”
Make no mistake, Staley’s biggest emphasis this week will be on Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. Staley got to know Allen better at last year’s Pro Bowl, but said he knew a lot about the feared pass rusher from previous preseason and regular season encounters.
“He’s a great player,” Staley said of Allen, who has 32 sacks in his last 27 outings, including 20.5 sacks in his past 16. “I got to know him a little bit, he’s a good dude and presents a challenge. He’s very quick off the ball, slippery. He’s got long arms and is really good with his hands. We’ll do a great job preparing and get ready to go.”
Both Staley and Allen are known for two things, outstanding play and outgoing personalities.
Staley, however, envisions both players letting the pads do most of the communicating.
“I don’t think he’s too much of a talker,” Staley said. “He just goes about his business. So it’ll be a great one-on-one battle.”
Tags: Alex Smith, Joe Staley, Jonathan Goodwin
Posted in Announcements | 4 Comments »