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Thursday, Nov 27, 2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Hot Reads: Smith will rely on Goldson’s smarts

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New head coach Lovie Smith is expecting a big year from veteran safety Dashon Goldson, who missed most of Tampa Bay’s offseason workouts with an injured ankle.

Goldson has been limited during the first two days of training camp, but the two-time Pro Bowler with the 49ers is running without pain.

“I was impressed with his movement (Friday and Saturday),’’ Smith said. “He’s a very smart football player. It’s our MIKE linebacker (Mason Foster) and our free safety who make most of the checks and calls and Dashon has great knowledge.’’

Goldson was fined almost $500,000 last season for a series of illegal hits and Smith is confident the eight-year pro can make the necessary adjustments to flourish this fall.

“We know he’ll hit,’’ Smith said. “And we’ll get him to lower that target.’’

Stat of the day

There are 19 rookies on the Bucs’ training camp roster.

Quote of the day

“Our middle backers would push you right to (John) Lynch and Lynch would knock the heck out of you. You can’t do it anymore. That’s the question I have for Lovie Smith. How do you plan on doing what we did to take away the middle of that field?’’

— Bucs Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp on the NFL’s new rules regarding player safety

Did you know

During Thursday’s afternoon training camp practice, fans can participate in the UnitedHealthCare Mini Combine, including a 40-yard dash, to see how they match up against Tampa Bay players.

Play of the day

Goldson’s partner at safety, Mark Barron, jumped in front of a Josh McCown pass intended for Chris Owusu and picked it off, triggering applause from the fan gallery.

“That was a start,’’ said Smith, who constantly stresses takeaways. “But we missed a lot of opportunities to take that ball away today.’’

Ira Kaufman

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