Vernon Davis says he always considered longtime Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson the hardest hitter in the NFC.
With Wilson now playing for the New England Patriots in the AFC, the 49ers tight end now thinks the title goes to the player he’ll likely encounter frequently Sunday in Tampa, Fla., former teammate Dashon Goldson.
“Dashon is probably one of the most talented guys when it comes to making tackles,” Davis said Friday of the Buccaneers safety. “He’s fast, he’s quick, and when he hits you, it’s a strike. ... I enjoyed seeing it when he was here.”
Goldson spent six years in San Francisco, where he established a reputation as a hard hitter and racked up thousands of dollars worth of fines from the league. He was the 49ers’ second-most penalized player last season – behind cornerback Chris Culliver – and has more penalty yards this season than any of his Buccaneers teammates despite being suspended for a game due to a helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless opponent.
Goldson has accumulated 98 yards worth of penalties – fifth in the league – including four flags for unnecessary roughness.
Still, he chafed at the notion that he is a dirty player.
“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 during a conference call this week. “And all of a sudden with the new rule I’m a dirty player, a nasty player, and I’m not playing the game how it’s supposed to be played. That’s ridiculous.”
Asked if Davis and the other 49ers pass catchers need to be reminded that Goldson is patrolling the field, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said no.
“I don’t think we have to tell them that,” he said. “They already know. We know Dashon’s a physical player, instinctive player, and he’s playing at a very high level. We’re all happy to see that, but at the same time, we don’t want him to have too good of a game on Sunday.”
Gore only has missed the 1,000-yard plateau twice since the 49ers drafted him in 2005: his rookie season, when Kevan Barlow was the team’s primary running back, and in 2010, when Gore suffered a broken hip in Week 12.
Gore has been dealing with an ankle injury this week, but he practiced in full Friday and is listed as probable on the injury report.
Like Gore, receiver Michael Crabtree is listed as probable with an ankle injury. Fellow wide receiver Mario Manningham is questionable because of a knee injury. Manningham has gone two weeks without a reception.
Despite 16 penalties and several personal fouls, there were no fines from last Sunday’s 49ers-Seahawks game.