Foster To Oustide Linebacker?June 10th, 2014
Veteran Bucs beat scribe Woody Cummings, of The Tampa Tribune, served up five things to keep an eye on during the Bucs’ mandatory minicamp, which starts this afternoon.
One suggests Mason Foster could be on the move before opening-day kickoff.
Cummings says he will have his eyes focused on newcomer Dane Fletcher, a Bill Belicheat linebacker the past handful of years. Fletcher played about 15 to 20 percent of the snaps in New England’s defense last year, and he played his share of middle linebacker.
Lavonte David will man the weak side, Mason Foster the middle and Jonathan Casillas the strong side. That is, unless Dane Fletcher steals a job. Versatile and good enough to start, Fletcher is a player to watch in this camp and again in training camp. He’s going to get a chance to unseat either Foster or Casillas. And if Dane unseats Foster, Foster could eventually unseat Casillas. The only lock here is David. Everyone else is fighting for playing time.
Joe doesn’t disagree with Cummings, but Joe thinks the odds are quite slim that Foster loses his starting middle linebacker job, especially given that Lovie Smith said he’s turned defensive playcalling duties over to Foster at the “mike” linebacker position. Linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson also said great things about Foster last week.
However, Fletcher is Lovie’s “prototype” linebacker and Lovie strongly implied months ago that Fletcher is here to compete for a starting job, like all the free agents he targets early in an offseason. So Cummings is not writing anything outlandish.
A potential move of Foster to outside linebacker could be seamless. He played there as renowned tackling machine in the Pac-12.