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Goodman making strides

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Blue Bolt, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Chargers' Goodman quietly coming along
    Written by
    Michael Gehlken

    In his third NFL season, Richard Goodman has noticed something.

    The game doesn't just slow down for players as they gain experience.

    It gets quieter, too.

    The Chargers wide receiver is best known for his flashes on special teams, but he's out to change that this year, working to become a more well-rounded and consistent player.

    Time will ultimately tell how he fares — and if it is enough to survive one of the most heated position battles on the roster — but during the 10-day organized team activities that concluded Thursday, Goodman showed well.

    He knows because he listens.

    "The less you hear your name as far as (the coaches) telling you 'go here' or 'line up there,' or the less they have to say to you, you know you're doing good," Goodman, 25, said. "They're not having to coach you more because they know you're doing it right. It's been a blessing. I've definitely been hearing more of 'good job.'"

    The hard work, it seems, is paying off.

    Goodman spent the offseason training in Miami, teaming with nutritionists and strength and conditioning coaches to pack an extra 8 pounds of muscle onto his 6-foot frame.

    When the Chargers' voluntary workouts began in April, the 193-pounder made a post-practice habit of catching dozens of rifled passes from the JUGS machine.

    Last week, he had what he called his "best practice" as a Charger, snagging several receptions all over the field.

    Was Goodman perfect during OTAs? No.

    Was he the top wide receiver on the field? Again, no. (Eddie Royal has been "one of the most impressive players," Chargers coach Norv Turner said Thursday.)

    But in two years, Goodman has one career catch, fumbled in a youthful celebration against the Patriots in 2010. Clearly now, Goodman has the look of someone whose first NFL catch won't be his last.

    "Richard's really improved," Turner said. "He's one of the most improved guys. He's got great speed. He's got great burst. I'm really happy with what he's been doing."

    The Chargers' roster, by design, is surrounded by competition.

    At wide receiver, it's especially thick. Arguably no one in the league signed four wide receivers in unrestricted free agency with more collective speed.

    New additions Robert Meachem and Royal, along with returners Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown, are considered roster locks.

    Things then get interesting with Goodman and newcomers Micheal Spurlock and Roscoe Parrish, all accomplished special teamers.

    It's the way Turner likes it.

    "We've been there where, a year ago, we lost guys at the position and offensive line," Turner said. "Creating depth and competition, hopefully we can keep as many of those guys as we can because you end up needing them during the season."

    Goodman's arrow points upward.

    Undrafted out of Florida State and largely a practice squad player in 2010, he averaged 31 yards per kick return in the final eight games last season, best in the NFL. His longest return came in the final game, taking one 105 yards for a touchdown against the Raiders.

    Goodman also registered five special teams tackles in 2011 as a gunner.

    "Last year, coaches could see that, you know, Rich, definitely, he's a football player," Goodman said. "But to be successful in this league, you've got to be more consistent at what you're doing, not doing it on one play and the next play screwing up and the next play being great again.

    "You've got to keep going, over, over and over where it becomes a habit and everybody around you trusts you."

    Then, Goodman will hear silence.
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