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Jonathan Goodwin Leads Athletic O-Line

Posted Jan 16, 2013

Jonathan Goodwin looked at his phone as he landed in SFO on Tuesday morning to find out Colin Kaepernick was on the latest cover of Sports Illustrated.

He had just flown in from his home in Columbia, S.C., after his wife, Alnessa, gave birth to their third-born son. Cade Spencer Goodwin was born on Monday, checking in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces and measuring 20 ¼ inches long. The 49ers center stayed with his family overnight before heading into the Bay Area on Tuesday morning, by way of a connecting flight to Atlanta.

“The Mrs. understood,” Goodwin said. “I definitely wanted to get back and start to look at (the Falcons). Because these opportunities, even though we’ve been in them the past two years, they still don’t come that often.”

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was happy to see the organization add another first-year contributor. Earlier this year, Harbaugh, CEO Jed York and long snapper Brian Jennings each welcomed new sons into the 49ers family.

“We are all very happy for Jon and Alneesa on the birth of their son, Cade, and would like to extend our warmest, heartfelt wishes to the entire Goodwin family,” Harbaugh said in a statement.” The 49ers are very pleased to say that we’ve added great depth to our team.”

Goodwin slept on the flight from Atlanta but jumped right back into preparing for the third NFC Championship game of his career. The 11-year veteran won Super Bowl XLIV with the New Orleans Saints following the 2009 season.

The Goodwins planned ahead for the occasion, as Alneesa traveled back to the family’s home in South Carolina about a month ago to prepare for the newborn.

“Just in case we made it to New Orleans (for the Super Bowl), she would have a better chance to go from there than from here,” Goodwin explained.

Goodwin and the 49ers will be on a plane back to Atlanta Friday in pursuit of the sixth Super Bowl berth in franchise history. Former San Francisco coach Mike Nolan is the coordinator of a Falcons defense that features a crop of talented interior defensive lineman.

Heading the group is defensive co-captain Jonathan Babineaux. The eighth-year defensive tackle is listed at 6-foot-2, 296 pounds and has lightning quick hands and feet that make him a tough test in the trenches. Fellow defensive tackle Vance Walker is also a stout option in the middle of the defense and was a key member of the d-line rotation in last week’s win against Seattle.

“They’re quick, they’re explosive,” guard Alex Boone said. “They get off blocks, they’re very good with their hands, they’re low. In the run game this week we really have to be dialed in. In the pass game, we know they’re going to be moving around, they’ve got a lot of good guys moving around.”

The 49ers offensive line has shown it’s pretty good at moving around, too. As the offense has evolved with the quarterback change to Colin Kaepernick, the zone read option has become a big part of the playbook. The big guys up front have made the transition seamlessly, showing off their athleticism in the process.

“It’s help us a lot in games,” Goodwin said. “It gives the coaching staff more things that they can do because they have a line that’s pretty athletic.”

Goodwin and Boone, along with Anthony Davis and Pro Bowlers Joe Staley and Mike Iupati, played together all 16 games this season and became one of the NFL’s best all-around offensive lines along the way. Last week, they helped the 49ers rush for a franchise postseason record of 323 yards.

But as he looked at the film of the win over the Packers, Boone said were still mental errors and footwork fixes that have to be addressed.

“We were dialed in for that game. This game, we’ve got to be even more dialed in,” Boone said. “We’re going to be on the road in a hostile environment, very good defense. This is one of those games when you really got to focus in. We can’t take anything for granted.”

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