When a new coach and new GM come in and take over a team, the entire roster should be on red alert. When Lovie Smith was announced as the new head man in Tampa, the collective heads of the entire Buc universe looked toward Darrelle Revis and wondered how he would fit in the Tampa 2.
We here at the Pewter Plank, as well as many of our friends from other outlets have written countless articles about how poor of a decision it would be to move on from one of the top DB’s in the NFL. It seems as though that fire has been put out. But the sparks started causing us to wonder, if a guy like Revis could go, who else might doesn’t fit and might need to go. That brings us to Dashon Goldson.
Goldson had a tough year in Tampa a season ago, riddled by 15 yard “hitting too hard” penalties and the impact that a new (bad) defensive system has on a safety coming in from another team. So does he belong as a long-term part of the franchise?
The biggest concern for me is the fact that Mark Barron is turning himself into a younger, and possibly better, version of Dashon Goldson. Both love to play downhill, both struggle when asked to cover large amounts of space in the deep passing game, and both absolutely crush people when they get the chance.
What Barron excels at, covering tight ends, has become a huge trait in a safety, especially in a division that has Jimmy Graham. Goldson’s dominant trait is his closing speed, which unfortunately the league’s safety initiative has made less important in a defender’s arsenal.
The question I have for Lovie Smith is, “can you find a way to get the most of out both Barron and Goldson on the same play?” They seem like far too similar styled players for the Buccaneers to want to keep both around. However, the Schiano system may have been the problem.
At this point, I’d only be ready to give up on Goldson if you can guarantee me the Bucs get a Pro Bowl free safety to replace him at equal or lesser cost. With Jairus Bryd about to hit the market, and with a strong connection to Lovie Smith’s coaching staff, that might be possible, but unlikely.
So I’d rather see Lovie take a crack at having both Goldson and Barron in 2014, even if I’m pretty sure it’ll be tough to get the most out of both at the same time.