49ers finding unique ways to utilize Marquise Goodwin's rare speed

49ers finding unique ways to utilize Marquise Goodwin's rare speed

SANTA CLARA – Marquise Goodwin draws inspiration from a man who struggled with drops as a rookie, then became the greatest wide receiver in football history.

“Drops happen,” Goodwin said. “The greatest to ever play the game, they were hating on him when he first got here in the league. He dropped the ball too much. It happens.”

That’s the story of Jerry Rice, whom Goodwin has gotten to know since coming to the 49ers as a free agent in 2017.

Rice, a first-round draft pick in 1985 from Mississippi Valley State, was plagued by drops early in his career before going on a streak of 11 consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Rice was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. Goodwin was born in 1990.

“I’ve spent time with him, talking with him,” Goodwin said. “I probably have every sports card that he has in his career. I have a whole booklet. I’ve followed him very closely in his career, even though I was young.”

Goodwin enjoyed the most production of his career in his first season with the 49ers, catching 56 passes for 962 yards. He struggled with injuries last season, and his numbers dropped to 23 receptions for 395 yards in 11 games with eight starts.

This season, Goodwin missed a game due to personal reasons, then was inactive two weeks ago against the Arizona Cardinals. On Monday, he did not haul in a catchable pass early against the Seattle Seahawks, then ended up playing just 10 of the 49ers’ 83 offensive snaps.

“He had an injury in the game,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan explained. “His arm was cramping up, he had a finger issue, so he was out for a few series. Then, the way things were going in the game, we just didn’t rotate him back in much.”

Goodwin is one of the elite speedsters in the league, but other than a 38-yard touchdown catch in Week 2 at Cincinnati, he has not gotten deep. He has just 11 receptions for 181 yards on the season.

Goodwin said he is more focused on catching the ball at any route depth rather than putting an emphasis on getting deep.

“Just looking to help the team in any way I can,” he said. “Just got to worry about making the ones that aren’t deep. But I look forward to anything. I’m glad to be alive and moving forward, and we got a game this week.”

The 49ers found a way to use his speed on Monday night, as he lined up behind Mitch Wishnowsky in punt coverage. The play was timed so that Goodwin would reach full speed and not be too far beyond the line of scrimmage before the punt, which would be a penalty of ineligible man downfield.

Goodwin reached a top speed of 22.6 mph, according to Sportsradar. Goodwin was in perfect position to defend the return, but teammate Raheem Mostert got there early and was penalized for kick catch interference.

“I’m a football player at the end of the day,” Goodwin said. “We’re all capable of doing all types of things. I’ve had a little experience at punt coverage. My main job right then was to try to force him to fair catch or knock his head off – one of the two.”

[RELATED: 49ers' Al-Shaair ruled out Sunday vs. Cards with concussion]

Goodwin lined up once in the same formation last year against the Chicago Bears and forced a fair catch against Tarik Cohen.

“It’s a way to get him down the field,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It’s very hard to bump a guy in that situation, so if you punt it up high you can almost guarantee a fair catch.”

Ravens' John Harbaugh reacts to 49ers' Tim Ryan's Lamar Jackson remarks


Ravens' John Harbaugh reacts to 49ers' Tim Ryan's Lamar Jackson remarks

49ers broadcaster Tim Ryan was suspended for one game after comments made about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson following Sunday’s loss.

“He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with the dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see the thing,” Ryan said on the show (H/T The San Francisco Chronicle).

The comments created a social media firestorm, but Ravens head coach John Harbaugh isn’t interested in furthering the controversy.

“I don’t really know too much about it or understand the context of it. It’s not relevant to what we’re trying to accomplish right now,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com.

[RELATED: 49ers' Harris to start at strong safety for injured Tartt]

Former 49ers defensive end Dennis Brown will replace Ryan on Sunday’s broadcast in New Orleans.

49ers injury report: Marcell Harris to start in place of Jaquiski Tartt

49ers injury report: Marcell Harris to start in place of Jaquiski Tartt

BRADENTON, Fla. – Marcell Harris on Sunday will be back where he ended his rookie season with the 49ers.

Harris will take over as the 49ers’ starter at strong safety with Jaquiski Tartt out for at least one game after sustaining cracked ribs in the team’s 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13.

Tartt and backup defensive tackle Jullian Taylor (elbow) have been ruled out for the 49ers’ game Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Two of the 49ers’ seldom-used wide receivers, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis, are listed as questionable, along with left tackle Joe Staley. Goodwin has knee and foot issues, according to the team, while Pettis has already missed one game with a knee injury.

Staley has missed three games after surgery to repair a fractured and dislocated finger. He is expected to play Sunday.

All other 49ers players, including Dee Ford and Richard Sherman, will be available for Sunday’s game.

Harris started the final five games of his rookie season after being a sixth-round draft pick from Florida in 2018. He did not earn a spot on the team’s 53-man roster at the beginning of this season. Harris was promoted from the practice squad in October and has appeared in nine games this season.

“I’m real happy for Marcell,” coach Kyle Shanahan said on "49ers Game Plan," which airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3). “He’s gone come a long way, in that he was a very good college player, tore his Achilles his senior year, which really hurt him. That’s why we were able to get him in the draft. It affected him his whole rookie year.

"He’s been able to string together about eight months where he has been healthy, and when you’re made of the right stuff, you have the talent and you can stay healthy, you usually just need the time.”

Harris took over for Tartt on Sunday and made one of the top plays in the game when he took the ball away from Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson on a running play to create a turnover.

[RELATED: Sanders has been valuable resource for 49ers' young WRs]

49ers injury report

S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs)
DT Jullian Taylor (elbow)

WR Marquise Goodwin (knee, foot)
WR Dante Pettis (knee)
T Joe Staley (finger)