Darrelle Revis has the potential to be one of the best players in the history of the football franchise in Tampa Bay. He possesses a level of skill and football IQ that very few other corners have ever possessed. He has all the physical attributes needed to defend even the best wide receivers on his own, with little to no help from teammates. He is truly an island on which star receivers are stranded and unable to escape.
And he’s not the most important defensive back on the roster.
Dashon Goldson’s signing was revealed shortly after free agency opened, and he signed with a good deal of fanfare, but a lack of excitement. There was still a prevailing feeling in Tampa Bay that cornerbacks were a huge issue, such a huge issue that the team was doomed to fail without adding at least two during the free agency period. Goldson was added to the roster, and fans went back into panic mode, waiting for a great defensive back to show up and save the defense. The fact is, there was already a great defensive back on the roster who was ready to make a huge impact.
Just ask Leonard Johnson and Danny Gorrer. My two favorite backup corners in Tampa Bay were on the field after practice this week, working with Dashon Goldson on techniques and skills as Darrelle Revis looked on and helped as well. But it was The Hawk, as he’s known, who was passing along his knowledge to the Buccaneers promising young role players at corner, making sure they have all the mental tools they need to make the same sorts of plays Dashon makes as an every-down, All-Pro safety. This is the sort of thing that provides a practical, on-the-field bonus for the players being mentored, and it also brings the defensive unit closer together and helps unite the team into a core of focused men seeking to perform at their best.
Goldson told the Buccaneers’ official website that leadership is something he focuses on, and believes he has a lot to offer to his new teammates:
“I was always a motivating guy. I was always looking at myself as a guy who would try to lead out there. I know it’s a young crowd that we have here, and I just want to help out and share my experiences with some of them, just show the work I’ve got. It’s always okay to come out here and ask questions, especially of me. I just want to shine a little light on things. I’ve played in the postseason now, I’ve been a part of good teams and bad teams, but I have a lot of experience in a lot of areas.”
So while Darrelle Revis will be locking down receivers every week, living up to his Revis Island nickname, it will be Dashon Goldson who will be the leader of the defensive backfield, both by voice and example. Mark Barron is almost certain to see an improvement with Goldson alongside him, because Goldson is the perfect mentor for a young, hard-hitting safety like Mark. Forgetting the fact that Barron will get to play closer to the line of scrimmage with Goldson playing deep, Barron will see an improvement thanks to Goldson passing along wisdom and advice to the young safety. Goldson will set an example that Barron can see every week, and learn from as the season progresses. From the angles Goldson takes, and the reads he makes, to the timing of his breaks and jumps, everything Goldson does will be there for Barron to see. And the best part is, as Goldson told the Bucs’ website, Goldson is right there for questions. Barron can bounce ideas off of him, and grow to understand the position from one of the best in the business.