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The above photo is a perfect encapsulation of what Dashon Goldson does for the 49ers from the free safety position. He lays people out, pure and simple. Goldson still has some issues in coverage from time to time, but his ability to play downhill to the football has made him one of the most feared tacklers at his position in the NFL, if not the most feared player at free safety.
Football players are like everyone else in life. If you keep punching someone in the face, eventually that face will turn into hamburger meat and the person attached to it will not ever come back for more. The brutal memories associated with having to pass an incisor after an aggressor knocked it down one's throat will make that person think twice about ever opening their mouth in public again.
The same mentality applies to football. Get your bell rung enough and you start pulling up a little short on balls over the middle, you start looking for the sidelines instead of the first-down marker, your brain gets foggy and now you can't remember what route you were supposed to run on 3rd-and-8, and on and on and on.
Dashon Goldson's ability to lay out anyone on the field and set the tone, physically, reminds me of Sharon Stone in Casino. Ol' Sam Rothstein tried to turn a hustling, thieving prostitute into his wife. Well, when she kept bashing his idyllic idea of domesticity to pieces, he eventually abandoned her. It was a battle of wills and Sam gave up in the end, resigned to accept that his marriage was a total failure. He learned something about himself, namely that he can't change the unchangeable.
Well, repeatedly trying to go over the middle against Goldson while hoping that you aren't going to get popped in the mouth is like hoping that Ginger will change her ways. It ain't going to happen, and eventually receivers lose their stomach for it, just like Rothstein lost his stomach for Ginger.