The Falcons were back in pads on Monday to practice with the Tennessee Titans for the ninth practice of 2014 XFINITY Atlanta Falcons Training Camp.
If limited to using just two words when describing the Atlanta Falcons defensive line in 2014, super-sized would seem to fit the bill. Among the larger-than-life guys up-front, DE Malliciah Goodman continues to be an intimidating presence, both on and off the field. Recently, while at a restaraunt with Goodman, our server approached the table and asked if we were ready to order, when Goodman asked for suggestions, the server responded with, "You're a really big guy, so I'm guessing you eat a lot"; he's right.
Standing at 6-foot-4, Goodman owns pretty much every room he walks into, and combined with his offseason work, he continues to earn the high praise of Falcons coaches, including defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
"Maliiciah has really made a lot of progress," Nolan said. "He's worth mentioning. He's a guy that you need to watch, because he's really doing a good job. He's up to almost 290 (pounds) and you can see him out there, he's got long arms, he's thick, he's girthy, he's not like a spindly tall guy; he's doing a really good job."
Goodman, who played in 14 games last season, registering eight tackles and two fumble recoveries, offered reasons for his progress.
"Mainly the work," Goodman said. "Little things that I've had to work on from last year, I looked at that during the offseason and did that throughout my training and then (defensive line coach Bryan) Cox is getting a lot of it out of me. He's keeping me focused on sticking to the basics. My pass rush is a good example; he's taught me to not be so concerned with having 10 different moves, instead focusing on mastering one move and having a counter off of it.
"In the run game, people have different skills and strengths; my long arms for example, if I get full extension against the offensive lineman, it will be hard for him to block me. I want to get my extension, then strike him, while staying low; those are the little things that I've been working on, plus more stuff to get myself ready for this season."
Entering his second season, the former Clemson Tiger described the team's approach in 2014.
"We came out of the gates working very hard this year," Goodman said. "We have a bunch of competitors on the D-line, a bunch of hard-working players. Coach Cox is getting everything he can out of us and making us the best we can be to prepare for that first game and the entire season."
The very vocal and intense Cox has been hands-on with each of the Falcons defensive linemen, including Goodman, citing the many ways he can help improve the up-front play in 2014.
"Goodman is a guy like the rest of our guys in the whole group, versatile," Cox said. "He can play left, right, whatever roles we've asked him to fill, he's filling it. There's no ceiling for how good he can be."
Goodman highlighted some of the various spots he's been working from on the Falcons defensive line.
"I'm inside a good bit, like on sub and stuff," Goodman said. "And then on base, I'll be head on the tackle. Once in a while, I might be at nose, but I'm everywhere else, taking my role as it comes and making the best of it."
Goodman's best makes the Falcons defense better, which in turn makes the team's passionate fan base even more optimistic about a potentially-remarkable turnaround season.
For more coverage on Goodman and the entire team, follow me on Twitter @FalconsRFerrin.