Because it’s the offseason and the first day of rookie minicamp, Goodman didn’t have an opportunity to show much violence from his hands — or arms — Saturday, but he was on the field playing for the first time since his Clemson team got a win in their 2012 season bowl game.
Goodman said he’s picking up the defense quickly, but it’s far from easy and he’s just trying to stay centered as he goes through this process.
“It’s partly about being comfortable and being relaxed, not thinking too much,” he said. “I know I can play. I know I know the defense. It’s just a matter of going out there, relaxing and doing it.”
That last game Goodman played in, a 25-24 Clemson win over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, earned him defensive player-of-the-game honors after a four tackle, three sack effort. He said playing inside the Georgia Dome was a great experience because it was so loud and he’s glad to have an opportunity to make return trips.
But back to those hands. Goodman thinks they give him an advantage in one-on-one battles against offensive linemen at the point of attack as a defensive end.
“It’s a lot easier for me to get extension on offensive linemen,” he said. “If I’m late shooting my hands or I’m lazy shooting my hands then it’s hard, but you’ve just got to be on point. If I shoot my hands right, get off the ball, it’s hard for them to get under me and stop me.”
Goodman takes every opportunity to work his hands when not on the field in an effort to maintain his strength. He frequently squeezes hand grips for strengthening when he’s driving just to get an edge.
The strong hands help with his leverage at the line of scrimmage, but also aid in making sure tackles. A strong grip is not as easy to break free from and Goodman knows it, which is why he continues to work those hands.
Strong and violent hands at the end of incredibly long arms are great characteristics for an NFL defensive lineman. During the weekend at rookie minicamp, Goodman hopes to show he’s not just gifted physically, but he can also get it done on the field.
“I’m working on keeping (my hands) tight and shooting my arms,” Goodman said. “If I can do that and stay low, it’s hard for the offensive linemen to get in my chest. That’s one of the things I focus on a lot.”