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Staley Readies for Matthews Matchup

Posted Sep 5, 2013

Clay Matthews is circled on Joe Staley's scouting report this week.

No. 52 is circled on Joe Staley’s scouting report this week.

San Francisco’s starting left tackle will come out of the gate to face one of the NFL’s fiercest pass-rushers in Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews.

The two have a mutual respect after being teammates in the 2012 Pro Bowl. But both competitors also have been known to battle it out when playing for their respective teams.

Staley opened the 2012 regular season with an up-and-down performance against the Packers. The 49ers won the game, but Staley gave up 2.5 sacks and was bloodied early in the first quarter.

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When the teams met again in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, Staley won the matchup, holding Matthews sack-less in San Francisco’s 45-31 victory.

“We had a great scheme that week, but just like anything, our stuff changes,” Staley said. “That’s in the past. That was last year’s game and this is a new season.”

Staley noted that the last year's Week 1 outing fueled him to have a better season. It helped him against some of the best pass-rusher in the NFL and it also helped him earn a second consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl.

“It set me up for the whole year,” Staley said on Wednesday. “It was one of those things where I wasn’t on my technique. I didn’t play up to what I should be able to play at week in and week out.

“It really motivated me.”

Both players spoke highly of one another.

Staley called Matthews a “terrific player.” The pass-rusher called the left tackle a “fantastic athlete.”

The matchup between the two is one of the most anticipated battles in the trenches for Sunday’s Week 1 opener.

“It’s all competition,” Matthews said of his looming battle with Staley. “I think he’s a fantastic athlete. He definitely handles his own. I had a little success against him in Week 1, so he’ll definitely present a great challenge for me, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Staley pointed out that Green Bay has familiarity in Dom Capers’ attacking 3-4 defensive scheme. In Staley’s eyes, Matthews is the biggest play-maker of the bunch.

“He’s been doing it at a high level ever since he’s gotten into the NFL,” Staley said. “I have nothing but great respect for him and the player he is. You turn on the film and you just see the intensity.

“I look forward to a fun battle.”

Staley said the 49ers will look to utilize the full scope of the offensive playbook in Week 1.

Prior success against the Packers won’t matter this time around.

“We’re going with whatever we feel works best for this season and the personnel,” Staley said. “We’re always adding.

“It’s always a thing where the hay is never in the barn until the game is over.”

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