This off-season the Raiders traded for former Carolina Panther's RB Mike Goodson in a rare player for player trade, giving up the rights to OL Bruce Campbell for Goodson.
Goodson had hardly any opportunities in Carolina, being buried on the depth chart. In fact, during the 2011 season he did not carry the ball once. His only stat for 2011 was a reception that gained 4 yards.
In 2010, Goodson was able to help his team much more. He played in all 16 games that season and started 3 when both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were out with injury.
It was to those games in which he was a starter that I turned for his film review because it gave me the best idea of how he would hold up over a game and how complete a back he was.
Specifically, I looked at Weeks 10 and 11 of the 2010 season, with Carolina facing off against Tampa Bay and Baltimore, respectively.
Carolina gave a lot of I formation and single back looks and Goodson did well with both, which is good because I imagine that the Raiders will do both, but especially be heavy on I formations with Knapp running the offense.
Goodson showed impressive burst to the line. Prior to his film review, my impression of him was that he was a big back - more in the Michael Bush mold. This is incorrect. He has good size but he's a much more shifty and faster back than Bush. He doesn't seem to initiate contact like Bush did, either. I consider that a plus, actually because back's that initiate too much contact tend to wear down their bodies that much faster.
Goodson has a reputation for fumbling and it's clear that it's an issue. The fumbles I saw were predominately because he was holding the ball out in his hand and trying to juke or get extra yardage instead of clamping the ball as he should. This is a coach-able trait, however, and many backs including Tiki Barber and, more recently, Adrian Peterson have been able to work hard and improve their holds to reduce fumbles.
He is not a small guy - he stands at 6'0" which is moderately tall for a RB - but he has exceptional change of direction. He was able to juke LBs for extra yards consistently. Some of the moves were quite impressive actually.
One thing that may be an issue is that he sometimes tries to bounce the ball outside too quickly and ends up getting negative yardage. For example if the call is to hit the ball in between the LG and C and it seems to be blocked, there, he has a tendency to try to bounce it to the outside and get to the edge. When this works, he has the speed to turn the corner and get some positive yards but when it doesn't, he hasn't been vertical enough and usually is still in the backfield for a loss.
If teams study his film it seems likely that they would specifically work on making sure the gaps are clogged in the middle and driving him to the outside where LBs and CBs can bring him down. It would be better if he focused on being more of a downhill runner and get the hard 3-4 yards in those instances instead of seeking the home run run every time.
It seems likely that the zone running style will work well for him, though. He was good at getting to the line quickly and he frequently picked a good crease, made his move, and got to the secondary very quickly.
He was active in the receiving game and showed soft hands. He is a complete back in that he can stay on the field for all 3 downs - as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield. He has the ability to make people miss in the open field so he would be a good option to split out wide, too, if there's a matchup with a LB that Knapp and Co want to exploit.
He wasn't asked to block too frequently in the Carolina scheme - instead he frequently moved to make sure that there wasn't an open blitzer and then moved into an open zone as a dump-off option for the QBs.
When he was asked to block he did a good job of squaring up and taking on his man. He was much better on defensive ends vs defensive tackles but that's to be expected considering the size difference.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with his quickness and versatility. These days teams are less concerned about having "thunder and lighting" alternating layers and more concerned with putting great athletes on the field.
If Goodson can learn to carry the ball correctly, he is much more electric than Michael Bush. I expect Goodson and Taiwan Jones to have to step up this year with McFadden almost certainly getting at least some sort of injury and think that the two of them will do a good job of carrying the ball for the team.
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Nice write up Asher... Could you see a formation that combines Dmac, Goodson & Reece? For me this would give defenses all sort of match up problems and more often than not with a dump pass, screen pass should go for positive yardish and would give amazing play action opportunities.. Which Knapp loves!!!
I would really like to see them pick up Cedric Benson. With McFadden's history they have to be prepared for an injury taking him out of at least a few games.
Both Goodson and Taiwan Jones sound like they have good potential. However, who was it that said "potential will get you fired". We could really use a proven pounder to take Michael Bushes place.
Comparing Goodson to Bush? Thought Goodson was more of a speed/scat back with receiving skills and home run threat than a powerback?
If i remember correctly (not saying it hasn't been fixed by now though) wasn't the biggest knock on him coming out that he did not possess the strength and bulk to be an inside runner, break tackles and push the pile; instead being better suited as a change of pace back and outside runner (or even receiver) with a threat to take it to the house?
Don't get me wrong - if he has put on enough to be an effective pounder and inside power rusher i think it will be great for us! ... But if he is still primarily a quick twitch, agile, speedy and athletic RB, then that is what we have in both D-Mac and TJ as well, so in that case we should still need to add one more RB to the 53 imo, with either Lonyae Miller, Rashawn Jackson or Schmitt (who really isn't a ball carrier) fitting the mold (unless they intend to let Cel45 carry the rock a little more often)!
We kept 4 RBs last year with Rock being a core special teamer (on a spot that is usually owned by seasoned vets) - could Goodson be a contributor on ST as a returnman that could probably hold true this year as well!
Nice work as always....Live in NC so got to see Goodson play....accurate assessment...one item I would also mention....last year was a new coaching staff and some guys just do not hit it off for one reason or another...Goodson was one of them....Shawnte Spencer was another....I look forward to seeing this very likable kid play
@Jososi A (proven) pounder to help wear down the defenses and help take some of the punishing, tough yards to save D-Mac a little is very important imo as well! Both to keep D-Mac fresh and healthy, and to be able to attack defenses in different ways depending on scheme and personel.
... Proven is definately a good thing, however, if DA and RM feels that Lonyae or Rashawn is ready for the task i am fine with that as well!
RBs usually either get it or they don't when they enter the league, so it figures to be time for either to get moving if they are to ever get a real shot at the roster (with Rashawn having adjusted as he was a FB coming out, and Lonyae having worked on improving blocking and hand use to help stay effective).
Interesting to see what happens in this group! - also with TJ and Goodson: will we keep 4 backs going in (D-Mac, TJ, Goodson and with the addition of a pounder), or are TJ and Goodson competing for the back-up spot behind D-Mac?
Personally i think we will bring 4 along as especially Goodson seems to be worked in a little at receiver as well, which could hint at some interesting and exciting formations when the RB's split out..
@Harder2000 My comparison of Goodson to Bush is more of a backup to backup instead of similar players. They are not. Goodson is more like Taiwan Jones than he is to Michael Bush. As I said in there, he too quickly bounces it outside. however, he is much more dynamin than Bush who was deceptively fast for his size but still not very fast especially as the season went on - he tended to slow.
I think the Raiders could keep 4 RBs but wouldn't count on it. I'd guess they'd have the 3 - McFadden, Jones and Goodson and two FBs with Reece an obvious one. The second FB would be more traditional - Schmitt, Tonga, maybe Rashawn Jackson are competing for this spot. Reece could then also function as a pounder as needed with the other FB as lead blocker. It's just a guess, though.
Remember when Rashawn Jackson came out? He was thought to be a great FB prospect despite his late position change, and he has both speed, athleticism and vision to be a good leadblocker - just needed to add some nastiness to his play! Of him, Satele and Schmitt, he definately has the most upside (if he has gotten it), so it will be interesting to see what he brings in camp when the pads are on!
Schmitt would be a decent addition as well! Not a ballcarrier, but he could open up some lanes when needed, and could easily be a lead blocker for Reece when we need to pound it with some weight behind it!