A Good-man for Falcons' defense

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Seeing long-armed, firmly built defensive lineman Malliciah Goodman explode up the gap only makes the Atlanta Falcons' coaches salivate.

They see a player with tremendous upside; a player who allows defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to be more exotic with his defensive fronts.

Goodman is just in his second year and maturing daily. He could be one of those players who stands out when the Falcons conduct their first padded practice on Monday afternoon.

"Malliciah, I think, is going to be a guy that can play a number of our packages and play different roles," coach Mike Smith said. "I think that Malliciah will play in our base package, he'll have a certain role. In our big sub-package, he'll have another role. In our sub-package, he'll have another role. So I think those are good questions that we have to answer because he can line up in many different places.

"I think as we go through the preseason, I think his strengths are going to become more defined. And we're going to be able to put him in those places where he's going to be able to play to his strengths."

Speaking of strength, Goodman bulked up this offseason in preparation for being more physical up front.

"I'm about 288, 290 (pounds) right now," the 6-foot-4 Goodman said. "I was in the mid-270s last year. I've just been eating, working out, putting the right things in my body. I've been having a high intake of calories and protein. Just working hard. My max (bench press) weight really improved. I feel a lot better in the trenches going against the guys."

Goodman played in 14 games last season. He played just 29 percent of the defensive snaps.

With the Falcons switching to a 3-4 base scheme and attempting to be multiple with their other looks, Goodman continues to try to find his comfort zone despite moving around a lot. New defensive line coach Bryan Cox has helped the adjustment.

"I'm getting very comfortable playing inside with the 3-technique (defensive tackle between guard and tackle)," Goodman said. "Last year, the defense was a little different. Now I'm inside playing the 3 and playing the 4 and 5-technique (3-4 defensive end). So I've been working on that with Coach Cox. He's been getting out of me.

"I'm more comfortable with the 3, just because of repetition. The going back and looking at the playbook and looking at Babs (Jonathan Babineaux) and also Tyson (Jackson), just studying them and seeing how they play blocks, how they strike their guy. I'm just learning about leverage and learning about that first step and what to look at. You've got to stop looking in the backfield and look at your guy; don't to be too anxious to jump in there. Just kind of be patient."