A dozen seasons ago in New York, when and where Jonathan Goodwin was a rookie lineman for the Jets, position coach Doug Marrone taught him an imperative technique.
"Half of the battle with blocking guys is getting your hands on 'em and getting inside," Goodwin, in his third season with the 49ers, said before Thursday's practice. "You can leverage and all those things, but if you don't have good hand placement, it makes it tougher to block a lot of guys in this league.
"Fortunately, I was able to come into the league with a coach who harped on something like that."
Twelve years later, Marrone is the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, and Goodwin is a veteran chasing a second Super Bowl title. Recently named the team's Ed Block Courage Award winner, "Goody," as his teammates call him, said recently that he will contemplate retirement this offseason.
If there's one thing he'll be known for in the 49ers locker room, it'll be the same thing he's expected of come Sunday in San Francisco's Wild Card playoff opener at Green Bay.
"He's a master with his hands. Maybe one of the best in recent history using his hands and understanding how to use his hands, hand placement, leverage," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "He's just incredibly smart at getting everything organized quickly and recognizing it during the week."
"It's very easy to teach him something, 'Oh yeah, I got that, OK.' And I'm talking about something totally new. Give him something totally new, but it's not new to him. As long as you give him the concept, he's like, 'OK, OK, I got it, you want me to do this.' So, that's awesome when you can do that because he's directing traffic at a very high level."
Against the Packers, he'll be asked to do it a championship level even though Green Bay gave up 125 yards in the ground game this season.
Goodwin confirmed that the Packers three-man front, even without the services of injured defensive end Johnny Jolly, will be one to reckon with. There's nose tackle Ryan Pickett and defensive ends Mike Daniels and B.J. Raji to consider.
"We have a lot of respect for that defense," he said, "and we know it won't be easy."
"Daniels, he sticks out when you turn the film on, then there's B.J. and Pickett."
If this is, in fact, Goodwin's final postseason run, it would be his last game against Pickett, a 13-year vet whom he's lined up against since the pair's college days in the midwest.
"Physical guy, strong guy, big guy that can move the pocket," Goodwin said. "He's one of those guys that you know you're not going to knock two or three yards off the ball."
Unless, of course, you have a lot of leverage and perfect hand-placement.
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