Speed KillsAugust 22nd, 2014
Consider Mason Foster a survivor. The Bucs’ middle linebacker was overwhelmed as a rookie, thrown into the fire with no help on either side of him and playing a new position. It showed.
Foster survived the Raheem Morris mess and improve greatly under then-commander Greg Schiano. With his third coach in four years, Lovie Smith, the new Bucs leader thought so much of him he handed him the playcalling duties.
When Joe had a chance to chat with Foster earlier this week, Joe asked what is different about the current Bucs defense and what can fans expect when the Stinking Panthers come to town in a little over two weeks.
“Definitely that we’ve got a fast team,” Foster said. “There are a lot of guys on offense that stretch the field. We’ve got fast guys on defense. But just how much everybody is competing. Everybody is close. We’ve got a great chemistry on this team. Guys are competing – we’re pushing each other. We’ve got high expectations for this year.”
It almost brings a smile to Joe’s face when he hears Foster talk about the speed of the defense. You simply cannot coach up speed. And speed can get you out of trouble, can compensate for some mistakes. Speed also screws with an offense’s mind.
Remember the glorious Super Bowl season when the Dixie Chicks and Michael Vick were flying high? They came to Tampa and mostly Derrick Brooks simply wore down Vick and got in his head. There is an NFL Films clip of that afternoon where Vick is on the sidelines saying, “I can’t get away from these guys,” or something along those lines.
That’s what speed does. It closes holes quicker. It takes away space quicker. And if the Bucs could ever get a pass rush from someone not named “Gerald McCoy,” it would blows up plays quicker
That, is Lovie’s goal. Speed. He wants guys with speed. If players like Da’Quan Bowers and Jeff Demps survive the cuts, then it is because of their speed and nothing else.