TEMPE, Ariz. – A lot has been made about the Arizona Cardinals spending all offseason learning a new offensive scheme.
Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin can relate.
Since he was hired in early February, Goodwin has been learning how to direct an entire offense, from the run to the pass, from the first string to the practice squad. Until this year, Goodwin had only been an offensive-line coach. He knew two things: pass protection and run blocking.
When new head coach Bruce Arians brought him on board in Arizona, he entrusted Goodwin with the keys to the Cardinals’ new offense, one that featured All-Everything receiver Larry Fitzgerald and would soon have a name quarterback in Carson Palmer. But there was one caveat. Goodwin wouldn’t be calling the plays.
“It’s still a work in progress for me as being the O-line coach trying to grasp that kind of stuff,” Goodwin said. “Every day I get more and more apt at being able to do it, and being able to see it and tell you what those guys are doing.”
For now, Goodwin is content being a sponge, watching and learning from two football geniuses. Arians was the mastermind behind a Super Bowl victory with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is known for his vertical passing game. Tom Moore, the assistant head coach, made Peyton Manning into who he is today.
“At the end of the (day), he’s still a great mind as far as the passing game,” Goodwin said of Arians. “I just throw in my two cents every now and then for the most part.
“Those guys are doing it because they’ve been doing it for along time.”
But Goodwin still gets his chance to mold the offense in his image. He said the majority of the work during the week is on his shoulders.
For now, however, Goodwin will continue to learn from two of the brightest minds in the game.
“At the end of the day,” Goodwin said, “in my belly, I’m still a line coach.”
The fact that Patrick Peterson will also be playing wide receiver this season isn’t a secret. But how the Cardinals will unveil Peterson on Sunday still is.
“I can’t tell you that,” Goodwin said with a smile. “He’s going to be in there some. Who knows? That’s up to coach (Arians) and what he calls. Obviously they’ve seen some stuff in the preseason, but they haven’t seen it all.”
Goodwin believes left tackle Nate Potter is good enough to make the transition to guard, which the second-year pro started doing this week at practice.
“Nate’s a good athlete,” Goodwin said. “It’s still a little bit of an adjustment to him, but I think he’s capable.”
The Goodwin family is a house divided these days. Harold’s younger brother, Jonathan, is an offensive lineman for NFC West rival San Francisco. But don’t expect a good-luck phone call. Harold hasn’t heard from his brother as his coordinator debut nears.
“I haven’t talked to him,” Harold Goodwin said. “He’s the enemy now.”
While he was in Indianapolis, Goodwin was impressed enough with tackle Bradley Sowell that when the Cardinals were looking for a little more stability on the offensive line, they turned to the former Colt.
“He knows the system because he was in it last year,” Goodwin said. “It’s still a little bit of a learning curve because he forgot a little bit, but for the most part you see him out there getting reps, so he knows most of it.”