|Goodson emerging as valuable weapon|
|Written by Steve Reed|
|Thursday, 23 September 2010 17:06|
CHARLOTTE -- Mike Goodson is starting to round into the player the Carolina Panthers thought he would become when they drafted him in the third round last year.|
The formeer Texas A&M product has replaced Tyrell Sutton as the team’s third-down back and kickoff returner this season.
And so far the results have been mostly positive.
Goodson is second on the team in receiving yards with 64 on five catches and has five carries for 20 yards. He also has returns of 45 and 43 yards, although he did make one mistake last week when he misplayed a kickoff and let it bounce off his hands and out of bounds at the 6-yard line.
But he’s a homerun threat anytime he touches the ball – he returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in the preseason – so the Panthers are willing to deal with a few hiccups every now and again.
He’d probably be on the field even more if the Panthers didn’t have one of the best one-two running back punches in football in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
“Everybody has got a role,” coach John Fox said. “Guys prove their worthiness as far as making plays. He's a guy that worked very hard this offseason - both mentally and physically - that came to camp a year better as a professional football player.
“He gets rewarded based on his performance. You find ways to use people like that - whether it's in the kicking game, passing downs or run downs. I feel totally confident that he's a real good back, and I think we've got a few good backs. He's a guy that helps us in a lot of ways.”
Goodson said he came to training camp with a renewed enthusiasm after receiving a phone call over the summer from Panthers running backs coach Jim Skipper.
“Skip gave me a call and said, ‘Be ready. Just be ready,’” Goodson said. “I told him I would be ready.”
Aside from his outstanding burst of speed, one of the reasons Goodson has supplanted Sutton as the third-down back is because of his improved pass protection.
It’s something that a lot of rookies tend to struggle with, and Goodson was no exception.
“I just had to learn how to set your body, how to take on a block the correct way,” Goodson said. “Coming from college you just kind of wing it out there. Guys aren’t as athletic as you and not as good as you, so you can just kind of get by with athleticism.
“But if you look at a guy like Jon Beason, I can’t win against him or guys like him on athleticism. I have to be sound in my blocks and technique and I have to be in the right spot.”
During training camp, Goodson called out Beason during individual drills, challenging him in one-on-one pass protection.
He held up fairly well, too.
“Beason, man, he’s a beast,” Goodson said. “I was like why not go against the best if you want to be the best.”
Goodson said he spent part of the offseason learning about the entire offensive scheme, not just what his own responsibilities.
He said it helped immensely.
He said his rookie season seems like a bit of a blur, and he writes it off to being a great learning experience being around Williams and Stewart, even though he was inactive for a bunch of games.
“I learned a lot – a whole lot -- just watching these guys. It definitely helped me,” Goodson said.
Now he’s relishing his new opportunity.
“It’s exciting to be able to show these guys what I can do and get my chance,” Goodson said.