Dane Fletcher Talks Starting, TalibApril 23rd, 2014
Back at the NFL Owners meetings, Lovie Smith said he primarily signs free agents who can be starting players, in part, because that’s what good free agents want to know when they are being recruited. These guys want playing time.
Lovie sees newcomer and former Patriots LB Dane Fletcher as one of those guys.
The Bucs are excited about Mason Foster and what he can deliver in his contract year, but Fletcher has plenty of talent and Lovie has said he’s a middle linebacker, among other roles he can fill. Hardy Nickerson is on record praising Fletcher’s versatility.
Joe met Fletcher yesterday and asked whether he came to Tampa to be a starter.
“I felt like this was by far my best opportunity to play and contribute on defense and really earn a role and help this team succeed. I really respect Lovie and his coaching style and the defenses that he’s brought up in the past, so you know, that brought me here pretty quick,” Fletcher said.
Joe also asked Fletcher to tell fans what his strengths are on the field.
“I like to really study the game, and really understand what teams are trying to do against me. My speed with quickness and strength,” Fletcher said.
Interestingly, Fletcher did not want to talk about playing for Bill Belicheat. However, Fletcher was happy to share his impressions of his former teammate in New England, helmet-wielding, cabbie-slugging, Adderrall-popping, coach-cussing, referee-charging, pistol-friendly, granny-hassling Aqib Talib.
“Aqib was great. I really liked playing with Talib. He was smart, great corner to be a part of on the defense with. He was a character. He was hilarious. I liked him,” Fletcher said.
Joe will be keeping an eye of Fletcher and Foster. No, Joe wouldn’t bet against Foster, but Joe believes Fletcher has a legitimate shot. He earned a lot of respect in New England and played well coming off an ACL injury last season. Bucs fans have learned how hard that is to do.