TAMPA — It wasn’t the first game Dashon Goldson has missed this season, but it felt decidedly different.
The Pro Bowl safety of the Buccaneers, sidelined for two weeks by a knee injury earlier this season, was healthy enough to play against the Lions on Sunday. But instead of suiting up at Ford Field, Goldson was serving his one-game suspension by the NFL for an illegal hit against Falcons WR Roddy White.
“It was real frustrating to be away from the team,’’ Goldson said Wednesday, when he returned to practice. “I didn’t know the extent of being suspended. You couldn’t be around the building, you couldn’t have any contact with the coaches. I couldn’t even be in the training room to get my body right.’’
Goldson returned to his native California last week, and he was elated to hear that the Bucs pulled off a 24-21 upset at Detroit, sparked by a flurry of interceptions by a makeshift secondary.
“Those guys did a good job of just bowing up and playing football,’’ said Goldson, signed in March as a free agent from the 49ers. “It was no surprise to me how they played.’’
Been there, done that
Carolina coach Ron Rivera knows what his counterpart is going through on the Tampa Bay sidelines.
Some Panthers fans called for Rivera’s immediate dismissal in 2012 when Carolina lurched to a 2-8 start before winning five of the last six games.
Rivera’s skeptics were empowered again this season as the Panthers lost three of their first four. Times have changed, and a seven-game winning streak has Carolina trailing New Orleans by one game in the NFC South heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Bucs at Bank of America Stadium.
Rivera and Greg Schiano worked together on Dave Wannstedt’s staff in Chicago in the late ’90s, and he was asked what advice he’d offer to Tampa Bay’s second-year coach, who started 0-8 this season before reeling off three consecutive wins.
“Just stay the course,’’ Rivera said. “Look, (Schiano) has been successful in major college football and he’s had some success as a coach in the NFL. Now, it’s just a matter of time. Last year, I was in the same situation and we got on a roll at the end of the year, and now this year we’ve gotten on a roll again. I like who Tampa Bay is going to become, and they’re on their way. Just be patient and just stick with it.’’
The quarterback of the Bucs offense and the quarterback of their defense have been honored for their contributions to the team’s recent turnaround.
QB Mike Glennon was named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Month for November and OLB Lavonte David was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Week.
Glennon guided the Bucs to a 3-1 record during the month, while also posting the third-highest passer rating (119.7) in the NFL.
“It’s great to get the award, but it really was kind of the whole offense that helped contribute to that,’’ said Glennon.
David earned his first career NFC Defensive Player of the Week award by posting 12 tackles, one interception, one forced fumble and one pass defensed against Detroit. He is the first Buc to earn Defensive Player of the Week honors since CB Ronde Barber won it in Week 1 of 2012.
“I go out there and try to have as much fun as I can,’’ said David, who was named Defensive Rookie of the Month for November 2012. “When things like (Defensive Player of the Week) happen, it goes to show that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.’’
New kid in town
The Bucs signed Bears TE Kyle Adams as a replacement for Tom Crabtree, who was placed on injured reserve with a season-ending biceps tear.
Adams has played in 24 games, with two starts, recording four receptions for 40 yards. A native of Austin, Texas, Adams played collegiately at Purdue, appearing in 46 games with 79 catches for 660 yards and three TDs.
Signed as a free agent from Green Bay, Crabtree played in seven games for Tampa Bay this season, with five starts, totaling four catches for 21 yards and a touchdown.
Ira Kaufman, Roy Cummings