Monday, April 26, 2010

Saints Nation: Interview with Saints' Pro Bowl Center Jonathan Goodwin

Below is an interview made just before the draft with Saints' Pro Bowl center Jonathan Goodwin. I always greatly appreciate how generous the players are with their time, and Jonathan was no exception. A class guy, through and through. Many thanks to him, and I hope you enjoy!

Saints Nation: So the schedule just got released. Anything jump out at you? I know you guys just take it one game at a time, but the rematch against Minnesota and the Thanksgiving day game against Dallas are big time events.

Jonathan Goodwin: Yes, we will be on national TV a lot this year.  Also we have some tough turnarounds on our schedule.  For example playing in San Francisco on a Monday night and then coming home for a division game against the Falcons.   I think we will be ready.  Its a tough schedule but one I think we will be prepared for.  I'm excited!

SN: Going back to your early days with the Saints, you started as a backup and got the starting spot once Jeff Faine left in free agency. Those were big shoes to fill because Faine was a big time player in New Orleans. Based on your Pro Bowl invite this year, I'd say you filled those shoes and then some. Can you talk about how difficult that was, stepping into a more prominent role with the team?

JG: It was not too difficult for me.  I didn't play a lot early on as a Saint but I started in some key games when i was in New York (with the Jets).  I am a confident player and I knew I could get the job done when called upon.  I thank the organization for believing in me.  I knew I would be the question mark of the line when I was plugged in, so it was my goal to show that the center position would not be a weak link because Jeff left.

SN: During this past season, the game against the Vikings in the NFC Championship is the only time I can remember a botched snap all year long. It's funny, when that happened I thought to myself "I don't think Goodwin and Brees have done that all season". It seems easy, but you see college teams, high school teams, and even pro teams struggle getting clean snaps. What it is about your chemistry with Drew and your ability to snap the ball that is so consistent and makes it look so easy? I think Saints fans take for granted how your shotgun snaps are on the money every time, and how we almost never have fumbled snaps. Any secrets there? Am I right that it's taken for granted a little bit?

JG: The most important thing is the exchange.  Without that no offensive play can take place.  The center and the quarterback are the only positions that touch the ball every play.  Drew and I take a lot of pride in it.  You are right, that was our only botched snap!

SN: With Jammal Brown going down this past season and Jermon Bushrod coming in, that was a lot more pressure on you and the rest of the line to help out the blindside. I noticed blocking schemes that shifted to the left, double teams, and chips. Probably more so than if Jammal Brown hadn't gotten hurt. How much did his injury change your game plan as a blocking unit, and how do you think Bushrod handled left tackle?

JG: Jermon did a great job for us.  That is a very difficult position to play in this league.  To have to go against the pass rushers he had to face this year was not an easy task.  Losing Jammal was tough.  He is a key part of our line and one of the top tackles in the game but with some of the rushers they see at the position even he gets help sometimes.  As a line we try to help each other as much as possible.

SN: I know you battled little bumps and bruises all season long. Props to you for playing through it all season and playing well. I think it was ankle issues? Are you feeling better and healthy now?

JG: Yes it was my ankle and im doing much better now.

SN:  Talk about how special the SuperBowl win was for you.

JG: It's something i will cherish the rest of my life.  Its very rare that you have the chance to say you are the best in the world.  I still have a hard time putting it into words.  To become a starter and help the Saints win a Super Bowl will always be a great memory for me.

SN: What are your goals for the 2010 season? Personally and as a team?

JG: Last year was a perfect year for me.  Pro bowl and Super bowl win all in one year.  So I would love to have that happen again this year.

SN: Anything else you want to tell the fans about you? Lots of Saints fans read my blog so this is your chance to tell them something if you'd like to.

JG: I would just like to thank the fans.  The support is unbelievable.  Ive been on another team before so I know how much better Saints fans are.  Keep the support coming and we will do our best to keep the titles coming.

Thanks again Jonathan, and good luck to you in 2010!