In pregame warmups at Chicago on Thursday, B.J. Goodson was taking some reps with the first-team defense.
The Packers acquired the linebacker in a trade with the New York Giants. The deal became official on Tuesday but Goodson didn’t get to Green Bay until Wednesday because of a four-hour delay at the Detroit airport. Thus, Goodson missed the week’s practices, meaning Thursday’s pregame work served as part of his crash course into the defense.
The Packers didn’t need Goodson to play on defense – Blake Martinez took care of the inside linebacker chores in defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s unique game plan – though Goodson did play three snaps on special teams.
While the rest of the team got to enjoy a hard-earned break following a 10-3 victory, Goodson spent the weekend at Lambeau Field, learning a defense that he might have to operate on Sunday against Minnesota.
Video: Receiver drills from Monday
While the Bears’ running backs carried the ball only 12 times against the Packers, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw the ball only 10 times in a rout of the Falcons. Minnesota’s suddenly powerful running game, which features Dalvin Cook and rookie Alexander Mattison, could force Pettine to play Goodson in Sunday’s NFC North showdown at Lambeau.
Goodson, a fourth-round pick by the Giants in 2016, started seven games in 2017 and 13 games in 2018 but fell out of favor. The Giants were going to release Goodson until the linebacker-needy Packers acquired him in a swap of seventh-round picks.
“I was excited. I was excited. I’m embracing the change,” Goodson said. “Just knowing my talent and knowing that I can help a team win. Honestly, from what was going on and from what I saw against Chicago, these guys are a great group. I just want to help these guys and bring the best me that I can bring every single day to help these guys win.”
Goodson, who figures to compete with seventh-round pick Ty Summers for the snaps alongside Martinez, has a nose for the football and a thirst for contact.
“I’ve always had that physical knack,” he said. “My mom played basketball in college and I grew up playing basketball. She was a post player, so whenever we played, she was always extra physical. When I started paying football, it was kind of natural.”
Basketball was his first love but football was the sport in which he thrived. A native of Lamar, S.C., Goodson was a two-time all-state player in high school before he started 21 games at Clemson.
“I really didn’t have one big offer in basketball and I was taking football seriously,” he said. “I played AAU basketball growing up. I came from a football town and I played AAU basketball in all of the basketball towns around the area. I was good in basketball but we were never successful, so I never really got looked at. I only had one big offer at basketball and all these offers in football.”
“And,” he added, “I like to hit people.”