Good­win adds fi­nesse to speed

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

Un­like do­ing the long jump, play­ing re­ceiver is more dif­fi­cult to re­hearse. With­out a de­fender try­ing to dis­rupt a long jumper’s tim­ing, the op­po­nent is usu­ally a flaw in tech­nique.

Few know the sub­tleties of both track and field and pro foot­ball like 49ers re­ceiver Mar­quise Good­win. Pre­dictably, the 2012 Olympian’s speed is his big­gest as­set. Five of his six ca­reer touch­down re­cep­tions have gone for 40 yards or longer, while he of­ten streaks past de­fend­ers to get open.

But en­ter­ing his first sea­son with San Francisco, Good­win, who fin­ished 10th in the long jump in Lon­don, is work­ing on what he couldn’t do in track and field. He’s fo­cus­ing on change of di­rec­tion, di­ver­si­fy­ing his routes and be­com­ing more than a deep threat.

“I’m con­stantly evolv­ing as a re­ceiver,” he said. “Peo­ple are used to see­ing me run just ‘go-balls.’ That’s not the case” any­more.

Through a hand­ful of train­ing camp prac­tices, Good­win has emerged as the speed el­e­ment of the 49ers’ of­fense. He’s of­ten been the tar­get of deep passes from new quar­ter­back Brian Hoyer, giv­ing 2016’s last-ranked pass­ing at­tack an el­e­ment it lacked.

Be­fore join­ing the Buf­falo Bills in the 2013 NFL draft, Good­win posted one of the fastest 40 times in scout­ing com­bine his­tory at 4.27 sec­onds.

Good­win has been us­ing his speed to get open in dif­fer­ent ways. As de­fend­ers brace for his down­field burst, Good­win can break off those deep routes and get open at other lev­els of the de­fense.

“If you’re scar­ing peo­ple and they’re making sure they’re go­ing to de­fend that go route, then it makes it a lit­tle bit eas­ier to get some com­ple­tions un­der­neath,” 49ers coach Kyle Shana­han said.

Shana­han made adding speed to San Francisco’s of­fense a pri­or­ity af­ter be­com­ing coach in Fe­bru­ary. He or­ches­trated a his­tor­i­cally po­tent of­fense in At­lanta as co­or­di­na­tor, in part be­cause of re­ceivers who could stretch de­fenses deep. Good­win of­fers that char­ac­ter­is­tic, but be­com­ing more well-rounded has been an em­pha­sis since he joined the 49ers.

“That’s some­thing that he be­lieves in. We do, too. That’s why we brought him here,” said Shana­han. “I think it’s very tough to suc­ceed in this league for very long when all you are is a speed guy, be­cause peo­ple can run with you if they get a 15-yard head start. They just meet you where you’re end­ing up.”

Good­win joined Hoyer for a three-day throw­ing ses­sion at South­ern Methodist Univer­sity in early July to get ready for train­ing camp. Hoyer re­al­ized then that Good­win was more than a re­ceiver solely re­liant on speed.

“I could tell he’d been work­ing at it,” Hoyer said. “I think the good de­ci­sion he made was to come here, be­cause Kyle knows how to use guys like that and he’s willing to put the work in and he’s done a great job.”

MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

49ers QB Brian Hoyer (2) found out dur­ing off­sea­son work that re­ceiver Mar­quis Good­win (11) had im­proved his route-run­ning skills.

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