Mike McGlinchey

How 49ers have benefited from Mike McGlinchey learning to rebound quickly

How 49ers have benefited from Mike McGlinchey learning to rebound quickly

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers easily scored a touchdown on last week’s opening series against the Minnesota Vikings. A similar result seemed likely on their second drive until it stalled out near midfield.

Right tackle Mike McGlinchey takes the blame for that. The second-year pro never got set on first down, as Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter strolled right past him for an easy sack. Then, on a 3rd-and-19 of his own creation, McGlinchey jumped way too soon, drawing a flag for a false start.

The Notre Dame product obviously was pissed after the 49ers headed to the sideline one broken play later, but he understood his issues were more brain farts than technical failures. He wasn’t getting beat, he knew he had to be a pro and rebound.

“There were two mental errors that I let slip. I missed on the cadence both times,” McGlinchey said Thursday. “I didn’t come off the ball and gave the guy a free path at the quarterback and then I cause a 5-yard penalty on top of that. It’s something that just had to get back to what I was doing. You can’t let one play affect the next one, and unfortunately, I let a mistake affect two of them.

“There was still game to be played, and if I would’ve stewed over mistakes, the next play was going to go poorly as well.”

He didn’t. He rebounded well and played a near-perfect game after that, proving integral to a 27-10 victory over the Vikings that vaulted his 49ers into Sunday’s NFC Championship Game clash with the Green Bay Packers.

He gave up but one other quarterback pressure to Hunter -- the second-team All-Pro had 14.5 sacks during the regular season and 2.5 more in the playoffs -- an impressive feat to be sure. McGlinchey was dominant in the ground game, even when the 49ers got real predictable and ran it right down Minnesota’s throat.

Everybody makes mistakes during a game, but McGlinchey’s response to his impressed those around him.

“No one really plays a 100 percent clean game,” left tackle Joe Staley said. “It's all about just taking the next play and I thought he did a great job of going to the sidelines, regrouping and came back out and played a terrific game.”

McGlinchey rebounded fast last week. It took a lot longer in his younger days when his temper would erupt like an active volcano.

“I was a hothead when I was little, and I’d get frustrated and have to blow my top off with my anger,” McGlinchey said. “I had to learn how to control that as a kid, and it’s the same thing when you’re older. You have to learn how to respond when things don’t go your way, especially in the heat of a moment like that.

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McGlinchey has learned a valuable skill in bouncing back. He also has learned how to face off against pass rushers he has seen before.

That will be the case Saturday against the Packers, a team the 49ers dominated in Week 12. McGlinchey was a big part of that, giving up just one quarterback hurry to a Green Bay front that features Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith.

McGlinchey took mental and physical notes on the experience that he plans to use in the rematch. He knows the Packers will bring some new elements to the table, but a successful experience and tendency knowledge should help on game day.

“One of the hardest things to handle when you’re preparing is the unknown,” McGlinchey said. “This is probably true for them and for me, but it gives you some confidence knowing you’ve worked against someone before and you know what works and what doesn’t. You have to log memories of how to block different rushers and what it felt like in that moment. They have two really good rushers and a solid front across the board. You have the film to go back on and think about what you could’ve done better. Then you go back to your notes and there it is.”

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 5:30 p.m.

49ers' Mike McGlinchey recalls being starstruck by Jerry Rice as rookie

49ers' Mike McGlinchey recalls being starstruck by Jerry Rice as rookie

As it turns out, professional athletes can get starstruck just like the rest of us. 49ers offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey is proof of this fact.

After being drafted in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, McGlinchey joined the rest of San Francisco's rookie class in the spring for the 49ers' rookie development program. He simply wasn't prepared for who he would encounter while there.

During a "state of the union" address, the franchise unveiled its 1994 all-white uniforms. But the 49ers didn't have just anyone model the slick throwbacks. No, they got someone who did a lot of damage in that very same uniform.

"You're just like, 'Holy s--t, it's Jerry Rice,'" McGlinchey described to ESPN's Nick Wagoner.

Rice's presence at the rookie development program was an intentional inclusion by head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. Since arriving in San Francisco, they've prioritized connecting the 49ers' present to the team's storied past.

"And he sits there and he talks to you and he tells you old stories," McGlinchey elaborated. "There's nothing better to me than hearing war stories from guys who were a part of the game and at where it was then and to be able to compare and still take stuff from them and put it into what it is now. There are so many lessons and valuable things to be learned from those guys."

[RELATED: Why Shanahan felt it was important to embrace 49ers' past]

McGlinchey wasn't the only member of the 49ers' rookie class to be at a loss for words upon encountering the greatest wide receiver of all-time, who also put on cleats and practiced with the wide receivers at one point.

"When we practiced with Jerry, that was one of the best days of my life," wide receiver Kendrick Bourne said. "Just being able to be out there with him and seeing him still doing it at that age is just amazing to see."

While no one could be blamed for being starstruck by Rice, if McGlinchey and Bourne end up having anywhere near that kind of effect on future eras of 49ers, that'll bode well for the current team.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 8 p.m. Wednesday and Friday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Joe Staley is so excited before 49ers games, he barely can fall asleep

Joe Staley is so excited before 49ers games, he barely can fall asleep

SANTA CLARA -- Two years ago, 49ers six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley seriously questioned whether he would ever be in this situation again.

His long, up-and-down history with the 49ers makes this year’s NFC West title and return to the NFC Championship Game all the more special for the organization’s longest-tenured player.

In fact, Staley is so excited these days that he is having a difficult time sleeping the nights before games.

“I find as I get older, I can’t sleep very well,” said Staley, 35, a 13-year pro. “I’ve been noticing that the whole, entire season. I just get anxious for games now.”

Staley said he went to bed at 10:30 p.m. on Friday night. He woke up ready to go for the 1:35 p.m. kickoff. But there was one significant problem. He was more than 12 hours early.

“I woke up at 1. And I woke up, like, ready,” Staley said. “I felt like I slept eight hours. I was up and I couldn’t go back to bed until 1:30.

“Then, I woke up at 3. Three? (Expletive deleted.) I get anxious for all the games now.”

He went back to sleep and awakened again at 6 a.m. This time, he decided he was up for good, and he was not going to even attempt to get more sleep.

Staley discovered second-year right tackle Mike McGlinchey had a similar experience. Staley, McGlinchey and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo were up early and decided to drive to Levi’s Stadium much earlier their usual.

“We got here 4 ½ hours before kickoff,” Staley said. “It was the earliest I’ve ever been here. And I did my normal routine, and I realized how much time I had left, and I was like, (expletive deleted), why did I get here so early? So I sat down and had a coffee. I don’t think I’ll do it again.”

Staley appeared in the ninth postseason game of his career on Saturday when the 49ers defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 27-10, in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs. Now, it's on to the NFC Championshp Game on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

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Staley is the only 49ers player remaining on the team who saw action in Super Bowl XLVII when the 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens.

After some down here, Staley contemplated retirement during the 2017 season when the organization was on its fourth head coach in four years.

But he became convinced something would be different under coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. He decided to put his faith in the men at the top of the organization.

“Just being with Kyle and John when they got here in 2017, seeing their vision,” Staley said. “I was at a crossroads in my career. I don’t want to go through another rebuild kind of thing. And listening to them talk about what they believe and the kind of players they were going to bring in here. They wanted to really, really put an emphasis on guys who were going to really love football. High-character, quality guys who were also just bad-asses on the football field.

“They do what they preach, and it’s been exciting to see the build here.”

So exciting, in fact, that Staley can barely sleep.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 5:30 p.m.