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49ers OL Joe Staley praised for his durability and for ‘always being ahead of the game’

joe staley

San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley’s durability and professionalism has gotten the attention of offensive line coach John Benton.

Benton sung Staley’s praises to The Athletic’s Dave Lombardi on June 17.

“I’m not sure Joe gets the credit he deserves for what he does. Aside from the age, it might be an added mutual benefit in that his skill set fits what we do. It’s a scheme that favors the more athletic guy. We’re not asking him to grind and rip guys out and play that kind of game, so he gets to show off his true talents.

But I think Joe is doing great. He’s definitely still one of the top tackles in the league, and no, I don’t see any signs of him slowing down. I thought he played better last year than the year before.

He said he feels healthier, a little big lighter. He really is a great combination in terms of the physical, the mental, and the preparation. He’s such a smart player, doesn’t put himself in bad situations. He’s always ahead of the game from that standpoint.”

Benton also told Lombardi that Staley “sets the chemistry” for the offensive line. That certainly bodes well for a 49ers team that allowed the ninth-most number of sacks in 2018 (48).

The 34-year-old Staley is entering his 13th NFL season. He is the undisputed leader of San Francisco’s offensive line. If this unit can get it together in 2019, the 49ers have a legitimate shot at improving on their dismal 4-12 finish last year.

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