Last season, Dashon Goldson made headlines -- but not for the reasons the Buccaneers wanted. He racked up fine after fine for hits to the head of defenseless receivers. Eventually, that led to a suspension and a whopping $455,000 in fines. Naturally, Goldson is not okay with losing nearly half a million dollars in pay, so he's hired a tackling coach to help him lower his target, according to Yahoo! Sports' Anwar Richardson.
Goldson certainly had issues lowering his target, but the damage it did to the Bucs was a little overblown, as well. Per the NFL's penalty report, Dashon Goldson was hit with six penalties for a total of 76 yards. Meanwhile, Gerald McCoy amassed 11 penalties for 91 yards, Jeremy Zuttah managed 7 for 60 yards, and Mark Barron racked up 6 for 83 yards. It seems to me he was vilified a little too much, no doubt in part because of the massive five-year, $41.25 million contract he signed last year.
Still, the former 49er at times struggled last year. Aside from the penalty flags and the suspension, he was also involved in a few too many coverage busts. He's trying to address the former with his tackling coach, while the latter was at least in part due to communication issues, as he sometimes called 49ers audibles his teammates didn't recognize, per Pewter Report. That may be an issue again this season, what with the move to yet another new scheme -- but at the same time, I'd hope he's learned from those mistakes.
There's been some speculation that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would say goodbye to Dashon Goldson, given his high salary and seemingly undisciplined play. This is extremely unlikely, however. Goldson's $9 million in compensation this year is guaranteed, and reports differ on the extent to which his $9 million 2015 compensation is guaranteed (it may be guaranteed for injury, but not for skill reasons, for instance). Lovie Smith has also named Goldson as one of the players to build around.
Unless the Bucs can find a decent return in trade (which would move those guarantees to the receiving team), Goldson is a Buccaneer for at least one more year, and likely two more years -- regardless of whether he actually learns to tackle better. And he should be fine, too. He's a very talented player who can do everything the Bucs would ask of him. Plus, the team really doesn't want to start Keith Tandy in his place, I would hope.
Goldson can struggle with is man coverage and discipline, but there's little reason to ask him to play man coverage much, and there's reason to believe his discipline issues were related to communication problems, and will not be a structural problem. As long as he can simply execute his assignments, Goldson should be a very good player for the Bucs. And addressing his tackling form should help.