Reporting Justin Pawlowski
I had an opportunity to spend Thursday morning at One Buc Place for Buccaneers training camp practice. It’s amazing how much you can learn at one practice just by listening.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to build strong relationships with people within the Buccaneers organization that keep me up-to-date on the workings of the team behind the scenes.
I believe a majority of the focus from the fan’s perspective will be on the defense early in the season. With the additions of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson, along with the continued maturation of players like Gerald McCoy, DaQuan Bowers, Adrian Clayborn, Mason Foster, Lavonte David, and Mark Barron, expectations are very high.
One piece missing from this Buccaneer defense is Ronde Barber and his leadership.
Who takes this role?
With all due respect to Gerald McCoy, I have been told that Dashon Goldson is the unquestioned leader of the entire defense.
The Buccaneers were so confident in Dashon Goldson that they gave him a 5-year, $41.25 million contract in free agency, showing how valuable they believed he could be. Well, one high-ranking Buccaneer source told me that Goldson is already “exceeding expectations to which were already extremely high” and that Goldson is not just the leader of the secondary, but the leader of the Buccaneer defense.
While many might still see Gerald McCoy as holding a leadership role, Goldson has brought the experience of a 2-time All Pro that has played on a super bowl caliber defense. Goldson’s ability in both run support and in coverage will help the defense become more of a force on the field, but it might be his knowledge and experience that he shares which might take the Bucs defense to all new levels.
Goldson might also be the one to elevate McCoy’s level from Pro Bowler to NFL star, and if that happens, Goldson might end up being one of the best free agent pick ups in recent memory.