Editor's note: This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Buccaneers matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m., at Raymond James Stadium.
49ers TE Vernon Davis vs. Buccaneers FS Dashon Goldson
Tale of the tape
Davis (85): 6 foot 3, 250 pounds, eighth season, Maryland
Goldson (38): 6 foot 2, 200 pounds, seventh season, Washington
Safety Dashon Goldson definitely has the attention of his former teammates.
Goldson played six seasons with the 49ers, during which time he was regarded mostly as a clean player who was an intimidating presence in the team’s secondary.
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This season, after signing a five-year, $41.25 million deal with Tampa Bay, Goldson's hits have attracted a lot of attention. One suspension was overturned on appeal, and he later served a one-game suspension. He has been fined nearly $400,000 for helmet-to-helmet hits.
“I remember being on the good side of it, hearing commentators, analysts talking about how perfect, how good, how I do it the right way,” Goldson said this week on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.
“And all of a sudden with the new rule I'm a dirty player, a nasty player, targeted and I'm not playing the game how it's supposed to be played. I think that's ridiculous.”
Tight end Vernon Davis is more concerned with Goldson’s playmaking ability in the middle of the field than the legality of his hits. He is preparing to see a lot of Goldson on Sunday.
“I can expect to see Dashon as much as possible, but you never know,” Davis said.
There will be times when Goldson is matched up on Davis. It’ll be a scene that took place numerous times over five seasons on the 49ers’ practice field during training camps. And there will be no shortage of memories from which both players can draw.
“I know the way he runs. I know how he gets in and out of his cuts, and how he gets in and out of his backpedal,” Davis said. “So I know him really well. He’s gotten a lot better through the years, and he’s doing good for those guys.
“He’s familiar with me. I’m familiar with him. We’ve been teammates for so long, and I’m sure he’s watching me on film, as well. May the best man win.”
[RELATED: 49ers-Bucs matchup No. 3: Miller vs. David]
Davis is second on the 49ers with 44 receptions for 726 yards and a team-leading 11 touchdowns. Goldson is fourth on the Buccaneers with 41 tackles. He has one interception, while breaking up seven passes, and he’s forced one fumble.
Of course, Davis is not the only 49ers player who must be concerned with Goldson. He’ll be coming up in run support to stop running back Frank Gore, and he’ll be looking to make plays on wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, too.
Boldin was never a teammate of Goldson’s be he knows him well, too. They faced each other as NFC West teammates when Boldin played for the Arizona Cardinals. And, of course, Goldson’s last game with the 49ers was in Super Bowl XLVII against Boldin and the Baltimore Ravens.
Boldin said he will not let his mind wander to thinking about Goldson’s presence in the Tampa Bay secondary.
“As a receiver, you don’t worry about that stuff,” Boldin said. “If you get hit, you get hit. Just find him on a running play.”