Keanu Neal is expected to miss 3-4 weeks due to a minor knee injury that he sustained in the Falcons third preseason game against the Dolphins. The injury will sideline Neal for at least the opener, forcing the Falcons to add veteran safety Dashon Goldson to the roster.
Dashon Goldson spent last season with the Washington Redskins, starting in 15 games, combining for 110 tackles and recording 1 interception. Goldson had a stellar start to his career in San Francisco, where he was a two-time pro bowler and a leader on one of the best defenses of this decade. He signed with the Bucs in 2013 and was significantly less effective. Tampa Bay featured one of the worst secondaries in the league while Goldson was there. The Bucs opted to trade him to Washington last offseason.
Goldson is the same type of player as Keanu Neal, just ten years older. In his prime, Goldson was one of the most feared hitters in the entire league. He can bust receivers up over the middle and is terrific at coming up and stopping the run, which can be seen in his 110 tackles last season. Goldson, now at 32, has lost a step but still provides help against the run and a physical presence in the secondary, something Dan Quinn finds necessary in his defense.
Hopefully, Goldson will not have to be relied on much, as everybody is excited to see rookie Keanu Neal take the field. However, he should serve as a capable fill-in while Neal is out and perhaps serve as a mentor for Neal as the season goes along.