Alex Smith has always been the guy who bore the brunt of fan displeasure. Although it wasn't quite as crazy as the booing and "We Want Carr!" chants from this past season, he's always been the favorite whipping boy of 49ers fans. This past year saw Dashon Goldson take that title for the defensive side of the ball as he appeared to struggle after a strong impact season in 2009.
Florida Danny had an interesting take on Goldson's 2009 season HERE:
The 5th-most surprising stat you probably didn't know is another double-whammy:
- Dashon Goldson's 51 tackles on completed passes was the 3rd-highest total among Ss. He also ranked 3rd with 11 completion stops.
So, going back to the last discussion, Goldson was easily one of the most productive Ss in the league. I was absolutely shocked when I saw this. I knew Goldson was good. I knew he has a bright future ahead of him. I knew for damn sure that he's better than Mark Roman. What I didn't know is that he's a tackling machine. Rather, I always figured his skills were in the "create turnovers" and "lay wood" mold of FSs, not the "I'm the last line of defense" mold.
I was excited about Goldson's potential after 2009 and figured he'd be one of the keys to the 49ers defense in 2010. However, if we look at just the numbers, the man called The Hawk was not quite the ball hawk in 2010 that most of us would have preferred. After a 2009 that included a 3 forced fumbles, 2 sacks, finishing second in tackles, and snagging a team-leading four interceptions, Goldson's 2010 saw only one interception and one sack, and a drop in tackles. Additionally a lot of folks were all over him for his play in general.
Matt Maiocco has been putting together some positional reviews and he had this to say about Goldson in his post on the entire secondary:
It was Goldson's first year calling the defensive signals, and it's difficult to say if that might have affected his comfort level. He was playing with several injuries, too. Goldson's output dropped ... in 2010 ... He was not involved in many key plays throughout the season. Yet, in speaking with the coaches, Goldson got high marks for fulfilling his defensive assignments and keeping the ball in front of him. Still, it was a disappointing season because he did not make the kind of impact one would've expected from him in his second season as a starter. He is unsigned for 2011, but -- depending on the new CBA -- might be a restricted free agent as a four-year veteran.
Ninjames will have his own thorough analysis of Goldson with his secondary "Long Look Back, Brief Look Forward" but I really wanted to single out Goldson for discussion at this point. Although he's going to be a free agent, he'll be restricted and I would be a bit surprised if he wasn't back in 2011. Once/if the CBA is figured out, it will come down to what kind of contract he is offered on the open market. If it's a big contract the 49ers may or may not choose to match it, which would mean he's a free man to sign with that other team.
The question at this point is whether you want to see him back, and whether the green dot and injury stuff affects your opinion of Goldson's 2010 season. Nobody wants to hear excuses but they still are something to factor in when assessing an individual's performance.
For the folks who are down on Goldson, I'm curious how compare the success he had in 2009 with what happened last year. The team has a new coaching staff so it's hard to fully account for the "high marks for fulfilling his defensive assignments and keeping the ball in front of him." The coaching staff he worked with is gone (and Jim Tomsula in his role as DC likely didn't deal with Goldson regularly) so we have to factor that into the assessment.
What can we make of Dashon Goldson heading into 2011, if he is in fact brought back. Or would you strongly prefer he not be brought back next year?