TAMPA — S 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 also has watched much from the sideline, easing back into full speed.
"They've got me taking baby steps. But it felt good to be out here running around a little bit," Goldson, who said he dropped 10 pounds in the offseason, said Saturday. "I'm looking forward to getting in shape and definitely being out there the whole practice."
The Bucs had another veteran safety, former Gator Major Wright, lined up alongside Mark Barron with the No. 1 defense for most of the day, and Goldson said he has been pleased by his progress preparing for the season.
"The trainers here have been doing a good job with me," he said. "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 repetitions for 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," said Smith, whose team will go in full pads for the first time today. "We'll continue to rest him a little bit with his reps. But I was impressed with his movement (Friday and Saturday).
"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 season with fines and a one-game suspension for illegal hits. Smith said that shouldn't be a problem.
"We know he'll hit," he said. "And we'll get him to lower that target, believe me."
TEN, FOR STARTERS: DE Michael Johnson has a personal goal for 2014, and it's something the Bucs haven't seen in quite a while.
"I'd like to get back to double digits," Johnson said of his goal for sacks in his first season with Tampa Bay. "I don't see why not. That's definitely the plan, and that's what's going to happen."
Johnson had 111/2 sacks for the Bengals in 2012 but 31/2 last season.
The Bucs haven't had a player reach 10 since Simeon Rice in 2005. DT Gerald McCoy just missed with 91/2 last season. Only one team has gone longer without a player reaching 10: San Francisco since 2002.
MORE TURNOVERS, PLEASE: Barron stepped in front of a Josh McCown pass intended for WR Chris Owusu and made a leaping interception. On the next play, McCown threw a long touchdown pass to WR Vincent Jackson, who beat CB Alterraun Verner.
That's kind of how practice went Saturday, but Smith said he wasn't pleased because he felt the defense missed chances for more turnovers. During his tenure as coach, 2004-12, the Bears forced more turnovers than any team in the league.
"That was a start. We missed a lot of opportunities to take the ball away," Smith said. "When I start my meeting (today), we're going to show the standard isn't there yet until we see guys stripping, yanking after the football every snap.
"We'll get that point across."