Lovie’s Linebacker PrototypeMarch 27th, 2014
Thinking of trying out for the Bucs at linebacker? Lovie Smith has spelled out the attributes you need.
In response to Joe questioning him about newly acquired Dane Fletcher yesterday, Lovie laid out his linebacker blueprint and hinted that Fletcher could challenge Mason Foster.
“If you look at all our linebackers, there is a prototype: athletic, can run. You know, they don’t have to be 250 pounds. We’re not looking for those iso linebackers. We want guys that can play in space, that have agility that can do a lot of things,” Lovie said.
“Dane has rushed, of course. He’ll probably be lining up at the middle linebacker position for us. He’s been a good special teams player. But if we’re getting that type of athlete at the position, at all of our linebacker positions, we should be getting excellent special teams also. Because our “Mike” and our “Will” [linebackers] won’t play a lot of special teams. But [linebackers] No. 3 through 6, you know each Sunday will play a big role in special teams also.”
Asked about competition at middle linebacker Lovie explained that free agents like Fletcher, who was plucked from the Patriots, always want to know what their shot is at a starting job. “So Dane looked at it, and he felt comfortable coming here,” Lovie said.
No surprise, given that the Bucs signed him, but Lovie seemed thoroughly satisfied with his new linebacker signing. “I know when he came here we liked everything that he brought, smart guy that should bring a lot to the table,” Lovie said of Fletcher.
Now Joe doesn’t mean to overhype Fletcher at all. He’s a special teams ace that has limited linebacker experience. But his presence combined with Lovie’s comments are noteworthy. Foster, who is in the final year of his contract, has never had any competition for his job since he was handpicked to replace Barrett Ruud.