This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Saints matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m., at the Superdome, New Orleans.
49ers LT Joe Staley vs. Saints DE Junior Galette
Tale of the tape
Staley (74): 6 foot 5, 315 pounds, eighth, Central Michigan
Galette (93): 6 foot 2, 258 pounds, fifth season, Stillman
Staley, a three-time Pro Bowl player, has probably not performed as consistently as in the past. And that goes for the entire offensive line. The unit was considered the strength of the team last season. But it has struggled with absences and just plain inconsistent play.
The 49ers are coming off a game against the St. Louis Rams in which quarterback Colin Kaepernick was sacked eight times. And things do not get any easier on Sunday.
The Saints have a formidable pass rush, which has started with Galette, an emerging star. Galette achieved his breakout season last year with 12 sacks. In September, New Orleans rewarded Galette with a four-year, $41.5 million contract extension.
“Really, really good pass-rusher,” Staley said. “Really good pass rusher there, especially. It’s his specialty. He got a big contract last year because of his pass-rush skills. I have to have a really good week of practice and especially with all the attention coming on us the last couple of weeks, eyes are going to be on us and me. Ready for the challenge.”
The 49ers need Staley to handle his one-on-one assignment against Galette because of the uncertainty elsewhere on the offensive line.
Galette will be difficult to contain because the 49ers must rely on silent counts due to the expected crowd noise in the Superdome. Galette is hot. Galette had two sacks, including a critical forced fumble, last week against the Carolina Panthers and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.