Joe Staley Previews ‘Big Game’ against Dallas Cowboys

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Hostile road environments force offenses to make adjustments. The San Francisco 49ers opted to move to a silent snap count on recent trips to Carolina and Seattle.

It’s not a drastic shift, but can still pose a challenge to an offensive line. That’s whyJoe Staley said he’s looking forward to returning home to Levi’s® Stadium in Week 4. The 49ers will ditch the silent count and return to their standard pre-snap cadence on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

“Always love playing at home. Look forward to playing in front of our fans and using the cadence,” Staley said on Tuesday. “I’m looking forward to actually looking at the defensive end across from me and not looking peripherally at the ball.”

The comfort zone might help remedy some of the 49ers miscues from the past two weeks, specifically on third down. In case you hadn’t heard, San Francisco went 4-for-15 on third down and failed to convert on any of their first 10 third-down attempts in its Week 3 loss to the Seahawks.

The inability to move the chains on the money down was not necessarily indicative of how the offense was playing as a whole. As Staley indicated, the 49ers were able to set up 3rd-and-6 or less on 11-of-15 third downs they faced.

“That was a big thing in the game last week. We were in third-and-manageable,” Staley said. “We’ve got to be able to convert those third downs.

“When we’re rolling, we get a lot of opportunities to run the ball, a lot of opportunities to pass the ball and a lot of opportunities for big, chunk plans. That’s what’s exciting, we’ve just got to do better on third down and move the chains.”

Staley remained steadfast that the morale of the locker room hasn’t waivered through two difficult road defeats. The team’s left tackle told reporters that guys are upset about the loss in Seattle, but eager to return to work and right the ship.

Sunday’s matchup against the Cowboys will feature a prime opportunity to do it. Dallas’ front seven is far less vaunted than that of the Seahawks, Panthers and Los Angeles Rams, although Staley heeded warning not to underestimate the young group.

“They play really gap sound, and they communicate really well,” Staley said. “We’ve got to do a good job of communicating on our end and anticipating the stunts that we’re going to see.”

Staley is fully embracing the common “never get too high, never get too low” mantra that is used throughout the NFL.

“We’re 1-2 right now. We’ve got a big game this week,” Staley said pragmatically. “If you break down the season into quarters, we’ve got the end of the first quarter coming up and hopefully we can finish up .500 at 2-2. That’s where our mindset is at.”

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