It wasn't readily apparent at the outset of training camp, but with each passing day fourth-year receiver Marquise Goodwin has made plays in the passing game. Entering a contract year, Goodwin is hoping he can convince the coaching staff that he can make an impact on offense for Buffalo in 2016.
In Tuesday's practice, Goodwin was again making plays. After a 15-yard reception on the left side on a pass from Tyrod Taylor, Goodwin made a diving grab at the near sideline for a 20-yard pickup. His best play may have been in the red zone when he found a hole between the corner and the safety and Taylor hit him with a bullet in the end zone for a touchdown.
"What a weapon he is huh," said offensive coordinator Greg Roman. "World class speed. The guy has got a different attitude about him and a different look in his eye this year and I like it. He's showing up every single day. "On his off day he was in the weight room with Tyrod working out. He was asking good questions in meetings. All the things that impress you. He's somebody who is on a mission."
Through the first two weeks of camp Goodwin has been one of the more consistent receivers when it's come to separating from defensive backs and making difficult catches. Head coach Rex Ryan has sat up and taken notice of Goodwin's improved consistency in the practice setting. He believes Goodwin's understanding of the scheme is allowing him to play at top speed, a speed that most defensive backs just can't reach.
"Being familiar with what we do offensively is a big boost. That's not a thing that slows him down," said Ryan. "He knows what he is doing. That's a big thing. Sometimes when you install a new offense, defense or whatever there's a learning curve. I think that he's accelerated through that and we know that he knows what he's doing and that's why he can let his physical gifts jump out."
What's interesting about how training camp has gone for Goodwin so far is that had he qualified for a spot on the US Olympic team for the long jump a month ago he would still be in Rio. The receiver likely would not have reported to camp until the third full week of training camp at the earliest, which certainly would've jeopardized his spot on the roster.
"The fact that he's here is more to our gain and I get that," said Ryan. "But as an organization we were unanimous that if he had an opportunity to represent our country that we were all in, but I'm glad he's here now."
Goodwin has seen consistent reps with the starting unit, as he has been part of a rotation that includes Robert Woods, Leonard Hankerson, Dez Lewis, Greg Little, Greg Salas and Jarrett Boykin. That could change as the offensive staff is trying to balance out opportunities with the ones as much as possible.
The key now is for Goodwin to stay healthy, something that has cropped up as a problem once the diminutive receiver gets to the regular season. Roman is hopeful that the organization's patience with his physical setbacks pays off.
"That happens to guys sometimes," Roman said. "They go through a couple of years where they get nicked a little bit, but if you hang in with them and they get their bodies right they're ready to go and they're that much wiser. It might be the case there. Hopefully it is."
As well as Goodwin and a couple of other wideouts have performed, Buffalo's offensive assistants maintain that no one has conclusively separated themselves from the rest of the receiver pack in training camp to this point.
"It's a pretty tightly contested race and I wouldn't jump to any conclusions because it truly is a competition there," said Roman.
But Goodwin has certainly begun to make a case. Can he carry it into the preseason? Rex Ryan certainly hopes so.
"He's becoming really a nice receiver and a guy that you can depend on catching the football," said Ryan. "That's been great to watch."