One-on-One With the Up-and-Coming Joe Staley

Tony MeyerAnalyst IJune 12, 2009

SANTA CLARA, CA - JULY 29:  Offensive lineman Joe Staley #74 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during training camp on July 29, 2007 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Greg Trott/Getty Images)

I recently sat down with one of my favorite NFL players, and a fellow Central Michigan alum, Joe Staley, Left Tackle for the San Francisco 49ers.

Mr. Staley may not be a household name just yet, but true football fans appreciate what he has accomplished and he will be an elite offensive lineman before you know it, if he isn't one already.

Here's how the interview went down:

You were a dominant Tackle in the MAC; how hard has it been to adjust to the NFL?

At first it was crazy. My head was spinning everyday.

I think the biggest adjustment at first is the speed the game is played at this level. After you get used to that, the mental aspect comes into play. The blitz schemes, all the different plays and various packages you run them out of, and just grasping what it is to be a professional every day.

I am still working on being more mentally strong, as well as technique and the physical aspect of the game.

In your rookie season you played with one of the all-time great O-Linemen in Larry Allen. What kinds of things did you learn from him?

Larry was a man of few words, but when he spoke everyone listened.

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I learned how to approach practice, and as well as the physical nature you need to have to be successful. He was in his last season, and he still showed up everyday, would ask questions, and work on different little things.

That impressed me because he is one of the best to ever play and he was always striving to get better.

What is is like playing for Coach Singletary? What are the best aspects?

Singletary is a very focused and driven coach. He has the respect of every guy on the team, and I think that is huge for a head coach.

He has played the game at a high level and understands what it takes to be successful. He is very demanding and challenging, and I am really looking forward to playing for him.

Who is the toughest guy that you have had to block thus far in your career?

Michael Strahan my rookie season.

Although I really struggled against him, I learned a great deal from that game. I got a quick lesson on what it means to be completely prepared for an opponent and the mental makeup it takes every Sunday to succeed.

You must go into every game with the mindset that you are superior to anyone you play, and almost need to be cocky.

I have gone into everygame after that believing that if I do what I do best, no one in the NFL can beat me.