Demetri Goodson dreamt about this moment as a kid. He thought his first playoffs would be special, something he'd always remember.
The Green Bay Packers' rookie cornerback spoke about his growth as a player in his first season, and how he's adjusted to playing in the cold among other topics in this week's Q&A with Press-Gazette Media.
There's a lot of guys in this locker room getting ready for their first playoff run. What has this been like for you?
"This is a great opportunity, man. It's times like this that you dream about when you're little, so just being a part of this game is such a blessing. You don't overlook things, but this is by far probably the biggest stage that I'll get to play on from my career standpoint. This whole week has been great. Every time I turn on the TV, they're always talking about the game and stuff. It's a really cool honor to be a part of this game."
This has got to be the best classroom in the world for a young cornerback, with all the talent that position has on this team. How much have you learned this year?
"Oh, man, all the guys on our team are humble guys, and what I like about them the most is they're always looking to help. For me, when I first got here, it's just the little things to pick up on that make a big difference. I've picked up on them, and I've created my own game, but I'm also stealing what T (Tramon Williams) does, I'm also stealing what Sam (Shields) does, and what other people do. So I've polished my game up a lot, and I'm playing some pretty good ball right now. It's just such a blessing to be on this team, because most guys that have big-time checks are kind of arrogant, cocky, but there's not a guy in this room that I can say that about. So that just goes to show that we have a really, really good bunch of guys in here."
Your locker is between Tramon Williams and Morgan Burnett, a Pro Bowl cornerback and defensive captain. Has just being around the veteran guys in this locker room helped your game?
"Oh, definitely. The biggest thing that I picked up on was film study by both of these guys next to me. They do a great job of that. Before I got drafted, I studied my plays and all that, studied the game and everything. So I thought I knew a lot, but when you get to this level and you really see these guys break it down and come to work every day, you realize that you have to pick it up another level."
What's the biggest thing you've learned through your first season?
"I mean, I knew that it was a business, but I didn't know how much of a business it was. I'm just learning that, that it's all about production. So you have to produce, or they'll cut you. That's just the way it goes. So, just the business part of it, and I didn't know how demanding of a game this is. You have to go out every single game and perform your best because you're going up against the best guys every single night. So you can't have a night where it's like, 'I don't feel like doing this today,' or you can't come to practice saying, 'I don't feel like doing this today,' because it's your job now. So you have to come to work ready. You have to come to every game ready. You have to really, really focus in."
From that first rookie minicamp to now, what's been the biggest growth in your game?
"Just confidence. Just not being the new guy anymore, and just knowing what to expect. Just getting my feet wet, you know. When you first come in, you don't really know what's going on. You don't really know what to expect. I go up against Jordy (Nelson) every single day since camp was over, so he's helped my game out a lot just with confidence, and going up against No. 12 every day in practice helps my confidence. I've picked a couple balls off of him. It's just being comfortable and not being the new guy anymore."
The other thing about the cornerbacks on this team, for all their talent they had to earn their opportunities. They didn't just come automatically. Does that inspire you when there haven't been many defensive snaps for you this season?
"Oh yeah, for sure. All of them. They talk to me, and they tell me to just keep on fighting and your time will come, but when it comes just be ready for it. So that's what I've been doing because they see the way that I've been coming on lately. Even in practice, I practice hard. So they're like, 'Man, don't even worry about that. Just keep on learning, and your time is going to come.' All of them had to work to get to where they're at now. That just goes to show that hard work pays off."
Have you been indoctrinated about the history of the Ice Bowl or seen any snippets of the game?
"No, not yet. I mean, they showed pictures of it and stuff like that, how it was a whole bunch of snow and all that stuff, but I never really sat down and just got to read it or anything like that. So, hopefully, coach will probably have a couple clips of it Saturday night when we all meet up."
You played college football down in Texas. Are you used to this cold yet?
"I'm not used to it, but I can deal with it more than I have in the past. When I went to Baylor, I played Oklahoma State, and it was like 25 degrees. It just totally shut my whole body down. I couldn't play in it, but here we practice in it so much and we're outside, so you just kind of get used to it. It's still cold, but once the snap goes I don't feel anything until the play stops. Then it's like, 'I'm cold,' but the ball snaps and I don't feel anything. It's weird."
What's the key to adjusting from the warm climate to this deep freeze in northeast Wisconsin?
"The only way to get used to it is to play in it. There's no mindset thing that you can just snap and say, 'All right, forget the cold.' You have to play in it. So I feel like that will be a big, big advantage for us because we're so used to it, and we live in it. So hopefully that'll make a little bit of a difference for us."
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