Offensive lineman Joe Staley, the longest-tenured player in the 49ers organization, has nothing to say surrounding comments that San Francisco could be in the midst of a rebuilding season in 2016. He plans to win, and to win now, and acknowledged his insatiable appetite could be fueled in-part by his age. Staley will turn 32 just before the 2016 season kicks off.
“It’s a waste to guy like me, guys that are coming to the end of their career a little bit. You can’t waste years for rebuilding. I’m trying to win right now.”
Coming off a 5-11 season which placed them at the bottom of the NFC West table for the first time since 2005, Staley acknowledged it wasn’t where the team wanted to be. Regardless, while others are quick to rush to judgement, he and his teammates have an entirely different approach.
“You see the results last year. That’s not what we wanted,” Staley said. “I can see where people make the assumption it’s rebuilding and stuff. But as players, you never look at a season as a rebuilding season.”
The 49ers could be poised for years of prosperous growth if they have a good draft this month — possessing 12 picks, Staley said he isn’t thinking too much about the influx of youth that could arrive on the sidelines come training camp, he’s just trying to win football games.
“We have the 12 draft picks,” he said. “This is all front office stuff. I approach every season the same, trying to do my job the best I can and try to help the team win football games. That’s why we’re all here.
“As far as rebuilding and all that stuff, I don’t look at any of that stuff. We have guys who have to step up and have to play well. But we’re all paid to, we’re all brought into the NFL as a rookie, as first- and second-year guys to win football games.”
Wednesday, Staley shared his thoughts surrounding the saga of embattled quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He doesn’t expect the drama to cool anytime soon.
“He wanted a trade, I guess,” Staley said. “I don’t know. I have no answer for you.”
How does the All-Pro expect the situation to unfold, exactly?
“I think it’s not going to be something that’s going to be the next few weeks,” he said. “New coaching staff. New system. We’ll see it play out the whole offseason. I knew whoever’s back there is going to be right guy for the job. And we’ll go from there. But I don’t think it’s going to be a couple of weeks. I think it’s going to be the whole offseason, as the time gets closer to playing games for real.”
Should Kaepernick remain on the roster, he’d likely compete for the starting job with teammate Blaine Gabbert, who was named starter after Kaepernick was benched after eight starts. To make things more interesting, general manager Trent Baalke could still use the 49ers No. 7 overall pick in this month’s NFL Draft to select Cal phenom Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz.
Staley’s comments came a week after linebacker NaVarro Bowman said that he believes the situation can develop into a distraction for the team if it is not resolved soon.
David Barclay is the 49ers Insider for byteclay.com. He is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Email, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter, @DJamesIII