After spending more than two seasons as Jimmy Garoppolo's teammate, Joe Staley knows a little about the 49ers quarterback.
Staley might not be in the 49ers locker room this season, but he still had a few things to say in support of his former QB. The retired 49ers left tackle was a guest on NFL Network’s "Thursday Night Football" preview show and said the criticism about Garoppolo needs to be put into perspective.
Staley explained that with much of the starting lineup of the 49ers offense out due to injury, executing Kyle Shanahan’s offense can be very challenging.
"I completely believe in Jimmy as a quarterback,” Staley said. “When I was there, he was a great leader. Kyle Shanahan’s system is really dependent on everyone being available. Everybody fills a role. You need your running backs to really stress that edge so you can run the play-action stuff off of it.”
Staley, who still is regularly in contact with tight end George Kittle and right tackle Mike McGlinchey, does believe that the remaining healthy players will not give up on the season. The All-Decade left tackle knows the head coach and the rest of the roster has experience in challenging situations.
“It’s a great group of guys,” Staley said. “I think Kyle really feeds off of adversity. That whole entire team really feeds off of adversity and that’s come in bunches this year with different guys in their locker room and all of the injuries they’ve had.
“They can look for excuses everywhere they go. It’s a testament to their credit they’re 4-4 halfway through the season and still in it. It’s a tough division.”
Staley has been happily enjoying retirement, watching his former teammates from the comfort of his couch. He has been impressed by what he has seen from players who have stepped up when their numbers have been called, but clearly understands what a challenge it can be.
“Putting all that stuff on Jimmy’s plate when he doesn’t have a full stable is kind of a situation where he might not have looked his best,” Staley said. “Jimmy is a great quarterback and I feel for him coming off all the injuries he’s dealt with too.”
When asked if he received a call to come out of retirement when current left tackle Trent Williams was placed on the COVID-19 list, Staley stated that he did not. He did joke, however, that the 49ers called him to take Kittle’s place when the All-Pro tight end was sidelined with a foot injury.