ORLANDO, Fla. – The 49ers have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, but the longest-tenured player on the team believes the 2017 season is beginning.
Coach Chip Kelly singled out left tackle Joe Staley for his work ethic and unswaying professionalism while speaking to the team following Wednesday’s practice. Later, Staley said his focus is on creating a mindset that will carry over to next season.
“It’s kind of no consolation this late in the season, but I do feel like we’re building toward something at the end of the year and try to finish the season on a strong note,” Staley said.
The 49ers are on a franchise-worst 10-game losing streak as they train this week at the University of Central Florida. The 49ers will travel north on Friday to get situated for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears (2-9).
“We got to get out of this slump right now and get back to winning football, winning ways, just feel what it feels like to win again,” Staley said. “Build on one (win), and build on two (wins) and carry that momentum into the offseason instead of, you know, end the season terribly and going off and wiping that off from our mind and go with positive mojo.”
Staley has experienced a little bit of everything in his 10 NFL seasons, including bad teams and teams that went to three consecutive NFC Championship games. Staley said he really believes there are huge benefits to finishing a season strong – even in years when the playoffs are not in the conversation.
“It’s like how you formulate memories,” Staley said. “If it’s a terrible trip and you end on a great memory, you remember it as a good trip. That’s kind of how the brain is wired. I think that’s a real thing.”