Staley wanted another crack at Strahan

Left tackle Joe Staley says he wanted the rematch with Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who schooled him when the teams met last season at the Meadowlands. That game remains as the most humbling – and probably biggest learning experience – of Staley’s young career.

Staley gave up 3.5 sacks in that game last season, as he said he let the fact he was playing against Strahan get in his brain. (Staley used a bit more of a colorful term, but, hey, this is a family blog.)


Staley said when Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora sustained a season-ending injury in the season-opener, he was rooting for Strahan to come out of retirement.


“I wanted that rematch to redeem myself,” Staley said. “I knew I wouldn’t do what I did in that game again. I’m a different player now – more confident now than I was then. But it would be good to go against one of the best D-ends in the league again.


“I just think I learned a lot from that game. You can’t react. You have to be the aggressor. You have to have a game plan going in, and you can’t be reactive. I didn’t do that in that game.”


Of course, Staley has switched positions. He has moved from right tackle to left tackle. So if Strahan had returned, he would’ve been Barry Sims’ problem.


As for this season, Staley admitted to getting off to a rough start against the Cardinals.


“I feel like I’m getting better every game,” Staley said. “The first game I didn’t play very well and I was very upset with myself. Going forward, I feel like I’m making progress as far as my technique goes. There are always things you can work on. That’s why these practices are important.”


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Just got off a conference call with Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who said quarterback Eli Manning is a little sore but he’ll be fine to practice today and will play in Sunday’s game.


–As far as the Giants’ 35-14 loss to the Browns, Coughlin said, “We got a lot of stuff to correct. We have a lot of things to deal with.”


–Coughlin said his team has done a good job with its focus and avoiding the complacency that generally comes after a championship season.


–Coughlin said the 49ers have a lot of weapons on offense. Defensively, he said the scheme is very good and they’re playing hard. He noted that the 49ers have been in every game until the end, and said he was particularly impressed with the way the 49ers played against the Giants’ NFC East rival Eagles.


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On a sad note, former 49ers running back Lenvil Elliott, a key member of the team’s 1981 championship season, died Sunday in Richmond, Mo. He was 57. The cause of death is not known.


Elliott was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, and played there from 1973 to ’79. He played three seasons under assistant coach Bill Walsh. When Walsh became 49ers head coach in 1979, he acquired Elliott in a trade. Elliott retired after the Super Bowl-winning season.

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