On the opening drive of the 49ers’ third exhibition game, quarterback Brian Hoyer connected with wide receiver Marquise Goodwin on a 46-yard touchdown play.
Hoyer faded back, set up and launched a deep ball down the middle to Goodwin — a former Olympian and track star — who simply outran the Minnesota Vikings secondary.
It could be a preview of things to come.
The former University of Texas standout — nicknamed “Flash Goodwin” by his teammates — built a strong rapport with Hoyer and his offensive teammates this offseason and performed well over the exhibition season, catching five passes for 104 yards, a 20.8-yard average.
After four mostly unproductive seasons with the Buffalo Bills — 49 catches for 780 yards and six TDs — Goodwin appears to be primed for a breakout season with the 49ers in the new offensive scheme of head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee, is one of those who predict Goodwin will thrive in his new environment.
As Barrows noted, former track athletes with great speed often tend to be “one-note” receivers, good simply at running straight, deep routes. But Barrows wrote Monday that Goodwin, throughout spring workouts and summer camp, showed much more polish.
“Yes, he catches the deep ball,” wrote Barrows. “But he also has been prolific on dig routes, crossing routes, screen passes and anything else that Kyle Shanahan has drawn up. It’s clear by his work ethic that Goodwin wants to be great. Couple that with a stronger-than-expected arm from Hoyer, and Goodwin stands the best chance of going from a guy that NFL fans might have heard of to someone they wished they drafted on their fantasy football squad.”
Hoyer, too, says he’s been impressed with how hard Goodwin has worked to improve even since spring drills.
“He got here and you can just tell that they only used him to go deep and no one ever really coached him,” Hoyer told the media in training camp. “I think he’s taken to coaching really well. He’s worked his butt off towards it, too.”
Hoyer sees Goodwin as a prime offensive weapon once the season begins.
“The good decision he made was to come here,” said Hoyer, “because Kyle knows how to use guys like that and he’s willing to put the work in and he’s done a great job.”
The 49ers open the regular season Sunday at Levi’s Stadium against the Carolina Panthers at 1:25 p.m.