YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Anthony Davis was not interested in hearing compliments from New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, who referred to the 49ers' third-year player as a premier right tackle."I got a long way to go. I'm 22," Davis said on Thursday. "I don't take praise well. I feel like they're trying to make you complacent because I'm not near where I want to be. There's a lot of work to be done."On Wednesday, Ryan singled out Davis among the 49ers' offensive linemen."In my mind, he's one of the premier right tackles in the game," Ryan said. "You got a guy who has all the athleticism that you look for. (He's) a power player, he finishes, he's good in pass protection, a tremendous athlete. I think he has all the tools."Davis, speaking softly in a hallway at the 49ers' team hotel before practice Thursday, seemed skeptical when addressing Ryan's comments."I don't know what he's trying to do," Davis said. "That's nice of him to say, but it doesn't mean much. It's cool to hear because you work so hard. But it's kind of backhanded. I think everything is backhanded because I have expectations for myself that are higher than anybody else could have for me."Meanwhile, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and running back Frank Gore concurred with Ryan. Roman said Davis has benefitted greatly from his first full offseason with the club. After being the No. 11 overall draft pick in 2010, his first full offseason of work with 49ers coaches was postponed a year due to the lockout."From March on, we've seen nothing but improvement fundamentally, mentally, recognition-wise," Roman said. "Anthony is playing at a high level. Are there things he needs to improve on? Yes. But everybody has things they have to improve on."He's the kind of guy I want to go in a conflict with because he's going to fight. . . He's going to be a great one."Even as Davis struggled as a rookie and second-year player, Gore said he could tell Davis had the mentality to be a good lineman in the NFL."I look at it at first came into this league watching his rookie year saw him grow," Gore said. "He's a totally different player. The first three games he's been ballin'. He's come a long way."He always had the 'dogness' in him. I knew he was going to be all right his rookie year because I knew how mean and nasty he is."
UPDATED: The 49ers announced Monday morning that Joe Staley has accepted a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team. He will replace Dallas offensive tackle Tyron Smith.
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Veteran 49ers left tackle Joe Staley is expected to benefit from the Philadelphia Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl.
Staley, originally chosen as an alternate, is expected to be named to his sixth Pro Bowl to take the place of Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson.
The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, Jan. 28, in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Super Bowl participant Eagles and New England Patriots will not play in the all-star game. The Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
The other Pro Bowl offensive tackles representing the NFC are Dallas’ Tyron Smith and Los Angeles’ Andrew Whitworth, who replaced Washington’s Trent Williams.
Staley got off to a rough start last season as the 49ers opened on a nine-game losing streak. The idea of his career coming to an end began to creep into his mind, he said recently on the 49ers Insider Podcast.
But Staley said he had a talk with coach Kyle Shanahan that got him refocused for the remainder of the season. The 49ers finished with a five-game win streak to finish with a 6-10 record, and Staley played well down the stretch.
“I’m so far gone from where I was in that moment early in the year that I’m just focused on next year and, hopefully, years after that,” said Staley, 33, an 11-year NFL veteran. “I feel like I can still play.
“I think this last half of the season I played some of the best football of my career. I feel very confident in what we’re doing schematically with the people surrounding us, and it shows in my own play.”
Staley would join fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who was the only 49ers player named to the Pro Bowl when the teams were announced last month.
Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Philly made big play after big play on both sides of the ball in a stunning 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC championship.
Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles' first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then, AFC champion New England.
Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.
His best work might have come against Minnesota (14-4) and its vaunted defense that was torn apart in every manner. Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise, escapability and moxie in going 26 for 33.
In doing so - helped greatly by the Eagles' domination on defense and a spectacular weaving 50-yard interception return TD by Patrick Robinson - Foles ruined the Vikings' hopes of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium
Instead, the Eagles will seek their first Super Bowl crown in Minnesota on Feb. 4; their last championship came in 1960.
OVER AT HALFTIME: Minnesota made it look easy at the outset, driving 75 yards on nine plays, each of which gained yardage. The payoff was a 25-yard throw from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph well behind linebacker Najee Goode as Philadelphia's defense looked confused on the play.
That didn't happen again for Philly.
Defensive end Chris Long had a huge hand in Robinson's 50-yard interception return. Long burst in from the left side and got his arm on Keenum to disrupt the throw for Adam Thielen. The ball went directly to Robinson, who sped down the left side, then made a sharp cut to the right and got a superb block from Ronald Darby to reach the end zone.
Inspired, Philly's D forced a three-and-out, the Foles led the Eagles on a 12-play, 75-yard masterpiece of a drive. LeGarrette Blount showed all his power and escapability on an 11-yard surge up the middle for a 14-7 lead.
Turnovers, something Minnesota rarely committed with an NFC-low 14 during the season, hurt again and not only ended a solid drive, but set up more Philly points. On third down from the Eagles 15, Keenum was blindsided by rookie Derek Barnett, and the ball bounced directly to Long.
It was only the second strip-sack the Vikings have been victimized by all season.
A blown coverage - another rarity for Minnesota - on third-and-10 allowed Alshon Jeffery to get wide open for a 53-yard TD, and Philadelphia tacked on Elliott's 38-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at halftime.
DANCING IN THE LINC: Fifty seconds into the final quarter, with the score 38-7, Eagles players on the sideline and waiting to kick off on the field were dancing up a storm and fans were chanting "We want Brady."
They get Tom Brady and company in two weeks.
BACK TO THE BIG GAME: Long won the Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, as did Blount. Now they return on the other side.
QUICK DRIVE: Philadelphia got the ball with 29 seconds remaining in the first half at its 20. Foles hit passes of 11 yards to Jay Ajayi, 36 to Ertz and 13 to Ajayi before Elliott's field goal to end the half.
THIRD DOWNS: Minnesota was the league's best team defending third downs and was third in converting them. Yet Philadelphia went 10 for 14.
NEXT UP: Minnesota returns home to watch two other teams play at its stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.
With the entire stadium singing "Fly Eagles Fly" during the NFC trophy ceremony, Philadelphia can look forward to facing New England in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4