Notes: Goldson taking 'baby steps' in return
TAMPA -- Safety Dashon Goldson, held out of offseason drills as he recovered from foot surgery, has opened the first two practices with the No. 1 defense but has also watched much from the sidelines, easing himself back into full speed.
"They've got me taking baby steps, of course, but it felt good to be out here, running around a little bit," said Goldson, who said he dropped 10 pounds in the offseason, one of several players to come in lighter. "I'm looking forward to getting in shape and definitely being out there the whole practice."
The Bucs had another veteran safety, Major Wright, lined up alongside Mark Barron with the No. 1 defense most of the day, and Goldson said he's been pleased by his progress preparing for the season.
"I'm excited," he said. "The trainers here have been doing a good job with me. They're taking their time but definitely pushing me at the same time. I think I'm on track to be there, especially the first game, full speed."
Coach Lovie Smith said he'll be careful in adding more repetitions to Goldson, with two weeks before the preseason opener at Jacksonville and six weeks until the regular season starts against Carolina.
"We had him start off and that was pretty much it," Smith said. "We'll continue to rest him a little bit with his reps. But I was impressed with his movement, yesterday and today. He's a very smart football player, too. We're going to ask an awful lot (of) our (middle) linebacker and free safety. They make most of the checks and most of the calls. They're our Hardy Nickerson and our John Lynch."
Goldson made headlines last year with fines and a one-game suspension for high hits, but Smith said that shouldn't be a problem: "We know he'll hit (and) we'll get him to lower that target, believe me."
NOTHING MAJOR: Second-year CB Rashaan Melvin, who was working with the second-team defense, injured his ankle on a long touchdown pass from Mike Glennon to WR Tommy Streeter, and while he did not return to practice, coach Lovie Smith said the injuries Saturday were "nothing major." Undrafted rookie Keith Lewis stepped up and replaced Melvin with the second-team defense, lining up opposite former USF star Mike Jenkins.
BIG PLAYS: Barron and LB Brandon Magee, signed just as camp started, had interceptions during passing drills. WR Vincent Jackson caught a long touchdown down the sideline from QB Josh McCown, beating CB Alterraun Verner. Verner also had a nice breakup on a short pass, and Smith said he was "pretty pumped" to learn that Verner had experience as a backup punt returner during his time with the Titans.
THIS AND THAT: Undrafted rookie tight end Ian Thompson has been moved to fullback, where he's battling with 258-pound Jorvorskie Lane and former FSU RB Lonnie Pryor for playing time. The Bucs still may not carry a fullback on the roster. ... The Bucs are cross-training starting guard Jamon Meredith at tackle, and he lined up as the right tackle on the third-team line Saturday. ... For the second straight day, the Bucs had veterans Jamon Meredith and Oniel Cousins as the first-team guards. Rookie Kadeem Edwards and second-year pro Patrick Omameh worked with the second line.