SANTA CLARA – Joe Staley spoke at his locker Friday afternoon. Here’s what he said.
Q: The Seahawks have the third ranked defense in the league. What makes them so good?
STALEY: Very, very fast. Their defensive front is the fastest in the NFL, especially those two guys on the edge (Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin). They want to get you in third-and-long situations, so we have to do a good job on first and second down, kind of dictating to them. That’s when most of their production comes, third down. They’ve very good at getting off the field and creating turnovers. Very talented bunch.
Q: Do they do a lot of scheming?
STALEY: They do a little scheming. They give a lot of different fronts, but nothing we haven’t seen, nothing compared to some of the other teams as far as what they do. They’re just very good at what they do and they’re very fast, especially in that stadium. It creates trouble for teams because it’s so loud up there and they’re so fast off the ball. We have to do a good job without sound mechanics and our non-verbal communication.
Q: Speaking of the stadium, do you think that’s natural noise?
STALEY: I don’t know. It’s been loud ever since I’ve been in the league. They’ve always said it’s the way they engineered the stadium. If that was the case, why wouldn’t everybody do it?
Q: It’s as loud or louder than domes?
STALEY: Oh yeah. It’s by far the loudest.
Q: Even more than domes?
STALEY: By far. Every other stadium I’ve been in, you can hear the vibrations of your voice when you’re yelling. It’s so loud in there you can’t even hear yourself yell. I remember a game my rookie year, I was trying to make a call to Vernon. He was right in front of me and I was screaming at the top of my lungs, but he couldn’t hear what I was saying. He was looking at me with a confused look on his face. That was a hell of a game. I think we won that one.
Q: You guys have had 14 false starts this year. Last year you had 30. What do you attribute that improved?
STALEY: I think we’re a lot better with our silent mechanics. That’s usually where you have the issues – on the road when you’re anticipating the ball being snapped. It’s all timing. You’re really trusting the center to snap it when you’re anticipating it to be snap. If it’s not or it’s a second late, that’s when you get a false start. We’ve been a lot better with those mechanics. That’s everybody – wide receivers, running backs, everybody knowing when the ball’s going to be snapped.
Q: You see Alex Boone tapping Jonathan Goodwin right before the snap. Can you see that? Do you have a sense when the ball is going to snap from what Boone is doing?
STALEY: Yeah, sometimes. But no, usually.
Q: You’re just looking at the ball?
STALEY: You’re not even looking at the ball. You can kind of see it out the corner of your eye. You can see movement. That’s when we go.
Q: How big of a game is this for you guys?
STALEY: Huge game. It’s always fun to play the Seahawks. It’s always a very physical. I enjoy playing up there because of the atmosphere.
Q: Is the No.2 seed something that’s talked about a lot?
STALEY: That’s our goal. We want to get the Bye. We don’t shy away from our goals. We want to win the division, get the Bye, get in the playoffs and move on from there. It’s something that we control if we win out. It’s a big game as far as the division and getting the Bye.
Q: You go up against Justin Smith and Ricky Jean Francois in practice. Obviously Justin is Justin, but is Ricky a load too?
STALEY: Yeah, he is. He’s a very good player. He could start for a lot of football teams in the NFL. He fits this scheme really well. He knows exactly what we’re doing. Obviously Justin is Justin Smith, one of the best players in the NFL, but Ricky does a terrific job going in there. If he’s going, I know he’s excited to go out there and produce. He had a big sack last week. If he’s in there, we expect him to do great things for us.
Q: Justin hasn’t missed a start since 2001. Can you put that in some context?
STALEY: Super impressive, not only playing the line but to play the way he does with physicality. He plays every single play. Very impressive.