GREEN BAY – The latest arrival to the Packers’ defense, linebacker B.J. Goodson played just three snaps, all on special teams, in the opener last Thursday.
That workload could change considerably this week.
Both Head Coach Matt LaFleur and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine have suggested that Goodson, who showed up in Green Bay via trade just a day before the team flew to Chicago, could see time in certain defensive personnel groups on Sunday against Minnesota.
It would make sense, because while the Packers were able to stop the Bears’ running attack with safety Raven Greene playing a hybrid linebacker role next to Blake Martinez, there’s no guarantee that’ll work as successfully again versus the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook.
Cook began his 2019 campaign with 111 rushing yards as the Vikings pounded away on the ground in a convincing win over the Falcons. With Oren Burks still sidelined by a chest injury, if the Packers need a second, pure inside linebacker to beef up against the run Sunday, the options are rookie seventh-round pick Ty Summers or Goodson, a fourth-year vet.
“Definitely impressed with how he’s handling himself since he got here,” Pettine said of Goodson, whom the Packers acquired from the Giants for an undisclosed draft choice. “He’s very intelligent and has picked it up very quickly. He looks solid in walk-through and practice but, as I always say, there’s no substitute for game reps.”
Goodson has been on a preparation fast-track since arriving just over a week ago. He met extensively with special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga at the team hotel in Chicago to explain his role on different units. He also met with defensive coaches to go over any just-in-case scenarios from scrimmage.
Nothing out of the ordinary arose against the Bears, and since returning from Chicago, Goodson has been able to catch his breath and plow forward in Pettine’s playbook after an exhausting few days.
“I’m the type of guy that’s going to prepare as if I’m starting every single snap,” Goodson said. “We were going over the packages I was going to be in on and if it was an emergency situation. We were kind of going over everything.”
Should he make a more notable Packers debut on Sunday, Goodson is no stranger to live action in the NFL. He played in 37 games, with 20 starts, over his three seasons with the Giants, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2016 out of Clemson.
Last season was his best, with a career-high 60 tackles and his first two career interceptions. But he slipped down New York’s depth chart this summer and was going to get waived before the Packers made a quick deal to secure him.
Goodson said he’s embracing that “change can be good.” He also had a front-row seat in Week 1 to a stellar opening performance by Pettine’s defense, so he’s plenty fired up about the unit he’s joining.
How much he plays Sunday will depend on Minnesota’s personnel packages, Pettine said, but he expressed confidence the veteran can step in after a full week with the team now.
“These guys hunt and they show it on tape,” Goodson said. “I’m a hunter, so I feel like I’ll fit in great here. The culture is awesome here. I’m excited to be here and I’m grateful.”
The Packers held a Thursday afternoon practice at Clarke Hinkle Field to prepare for the Week 2 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.