Breakout Bucs: Mason FosterJuly 7th, 2014
Now that the Fourth of July is behind us (damn, what a weekend Joe had. Hope you guys had fun, too), the next important date of the sporting/drinking calendar is Friday, July 25, the first training camp practice open to the public.
Yes, folks, that is 18 short days away.
It always neat to try to sit back and figure out who is in line for a monster season.
Sure, who doesn’t expect Gerald McCoy to have a better year? Finally getting not only proven help on the defensive line but decent coaching, just about everyone expects the star defensive tackle to blow up. That’s too easy.
But what about someone off the radar a bit?
Well, in a discussion with fellow ESPN NFC South bloggers, Pat Yasinskas believes the next great breakout player for Tampa Bay is middle linebacker Mason Foster.
Middle linebacker Mason Foster is set up for a big season. Foster has had a decent career to this point, but he’s about to get a lot better. Hardy Nickerson and Brian Urlacher excelled as middle linebackers in coach Lovie Smith’s defense, and now it might be Foster’s turn. Weakside linebacker Lavonte David is the star of this unit, but Foster has a chance to be a nice complementary player. Smith likes to have his middle linebackers call the defensive plays, and that means Foster will be putting on the radio helmet this year.
Yasinskas brings up a great point. Wherever Lovie Smith went, he had a fantastic middle linebacker. When Lovie was with the Bucs, he had Hardy Nickerson. When Lovie went to the Rams, he had London Fletcher. At Chicago, Lovie had Brian Urlacher.
What Yasinskas missed is that Nickerson is now Foster’s position coach. So, yeah, given Lovie’s history with middle linebackers and Nickerson — who Derrick Brooks to this day raves about — coaching up Foster, all signs point to Foster eating pineapple this winter.
That would be pretty cool.