Fletcher Earned Snaps, Green Dot

March 31st, 2014

DaneFletcher2Joe’s been doing his homework on the Bucs’ new free agents, and Joe finds it noteworthy that newcomer linebacker/special teamer Dane Fletcher earned the confidence of the Patriots’ coaching staff last season to the point he was awarded the infamous “green dot” for a brief stretch.

That’s the lone helmet – marked with a green dot – that is delivered the defensive signal calls of the defensive coordinator/head coach.

And considering New England employs rather diverse defenses, and the fact Fletcher missed all of 2012 with a blown knee, that’s speaks very well to Fletcher’s football savvy, smarts and the trust he earned.

Joe’s read estimates that Fletcher was on the field playing multiple linebacker roles for 15 to 20 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps last year. And the majority came in midseason or later. He’s definitely not just a training camp body on defense; his special teams prowess is well documented.

Lovie Smith told Joe and assembled media in Orlando that Fletcher liked the way the situation looked for him in Tampa before he signed with the Bucs.

Lovie was explaining that all prospective free agents crave playing time, and Fletcher liked his odds battling with Mason Foster. Lovie was clear that Fletcher was pegged for middle linebacker in the Bucs’ new defense, though Fletcher played outside in New England. Doug Kyed of NESN.com speculated Fletcher could handle any position in Lovie’s 4-3 alignment.

Fletcher sure seems like an intense competitor, likely an upgrade in that department to Dekoda Watson. Joe found this Fletcher quote interesting, via Comcast New England last year. “As Fletcher put it: You worry about yourself. You can’t worry about other players and what their role is. If it’s a younger [player] you try to help him out, but at the end of the day, it’s their job to know what their responsibility is and we’ve all got to put it on our own shoulders.”

Now Joe’s not trying to overblow the value of a marginal linebacker. But Fletcher does have intriguing potential. Just the fact he thrived coming off an ACL injury in limited action is very promising. As Bucs fans know too well, that is no given.

17 Responses to “Fletcher Earned Snaps, Green Dot”

  1. Bucsfanman Says:

    Seems solid. You can’t have enough depth in this league whether he starts or Foster starts.

  2. SAMCRO Says:

    Doesn’t it seem more natural if Foster would slide back into his college position on the outside and have Fletcher play the middle, where he can help or share duties with David on defensive play calling? It’s just if you ever actually watched Fletcher play he always has this knack of being in the right place at the right time. He truly can read and decipher offensive play calls.

    Who will be the odd man out?

    Casillas? ..Foster? ..Fletcher? ..David?

  3. William Says:

    Foster and Fletcher will make each other excel. Good job Licht & Lovie!

  4. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    i have said it before but I think Bucs fans would be happy if the Bucs trades Vincent Jackson, promoted Mike Williams to the #1, drafted Sammy Watkins or traded back and picking up Mike Evans in the first. Then draft a qb, ot/og, mlb, cb in any order. Look the first 5 games of the season this new roster will be learning on the job to trust each other and the system. This will mean that the team could get blown out in a game and lose a few close game for teaching moments. The team will be better for it if they trade Glennon and Jackson for 2015 draft picks. The defense would be set and the offensive system will be understood by the vets, helping the 2015 drafted TE, power RB, OT/OG, FS, CB and QB maybe (Winston, hopefully) if this years QB doesn’t pan out to be starter material.

  5. BamBamBuc Says:

    Looks like Foster may need time in OTAs at SLB as well as MLB. I wouldn’t be opposed to Fletcher beating out Foster for MLB and moving Foster outside. It’s been talked about for a couple years about getting a “true” MLB and moving Foster outside. Foster has been good at finding lanes to attack runners, and not bad in pass rush. His lacking is in coverage, and if Fletcher is a better fit in coverage, Foster can come off the field in nickel alignments. Sounds like a win-win to me. And if Fletcher isn’t good enough to win either SLB or MLB starting spot, then all he will ever be is special teams captain because we currently have no SLB unless he wins the MLB job from Foster.

  6. Mumbles Says:

    I like Mason Foster and I’m pulling for him, but may the best man win!

  7. passthebuc Says:

    Now Joe, you must admit this article is much more interesting than crushing about Johnny football.
    Please, more of the same.

  8. Macabee Says:

    Interesting observation! Jonathan Casillas played SLB last year and was recently re-signed by the Bucs.

    I was looking at depth charts on OurLads and they show Casillas as a back-up to LVD at WLB. They show Foster at MLB backed up by Fletcher. They show Marvin Booker at SLB backed up by Danny Lansanah. In other words we do not have a starting SLB if Casillas is going to play the weakside as he did wit the Saints.

    Maybe Foster gets kicked over there or it’s a slot that could be Kahlil Mack. Or OurLads doesn’t have a clue!

  9. mpmalloy Says:

    Now Joe, you must admit this article is much more interesting than crushing about Johnny football.
    Please, more of the same.

    Yeah, but can Fletcher “pull” in the NFL?
    That’s the real question.

  10. brandonbucfan Says:

    Joe just used the majic word I used in my last response “potential” where I described what I saw of our FA’s. The hope is that you hit on one MAYBE two of three. We need to hit a homerun on all of ours just to field a decent decent team because we have nothing else behind them and only 5 picks in the draft. San Fran has 12. and Lovie says our draft pick will be expected to fit in although maybe not start right away! At #7 if we can’t find someone to start trade down a couple of picks (Buffalo?) and get another player to fill our gap in the 4th round. Just my opinion.

  11. Orca Says:

    Newbucsfan!!! Says:
    March 31st, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    i have said it before but I think Bucs fans would be happy if the Bucs trades Vincent Jackson, promoted Mike Williams to the #1…

    What? Vincent Jackson is the best receiver they’ve ever had and Mike Williams is not a #1 receiver, not to mention he may not be around if he doesn’t straighten up his act a little.

    What are you smoking?

  12. Bucfan77. Says:

    If he has great promise, why did he just get a one year contract?

  13. biff barker Says:

    Nobody would trade for VJax with his $10M+ contract. Nice player, but he’s on the downside of his career.

    There is no doubt in my mind the Bucs have considered trading/cutting every single player except GMC and LVD.

  14. PRBucFan Says:

    May very well be Lovie’s starter before we know it.

  15. zam Says:

    At this point we have to trust Lovie’s eye. I do like that the Bucs have strived to go get lots of depth, the “value” guys. They don’t have to be starters, because in the NFL with injuries and fatigue it’s your second team that often determines how many wins you rack up.

  16. BucNasty!!! Says:

    Every one says kick foster to strong side but I say he doesn’t beat out casillas for the strong side so odd man out might b foster. Locke life Cadillac he’s here to stay notice the New contract over Watson plus all this media exposure he gets yeah he’s deff starting an I think Fletcher might b more fluid n the hips than foster and can cover the middle more like urlacher an we all kno ma favorite buc is going no where LAVONTE!!! I got a man crush on him worst than Joe and Rachael Watson (pause) lol

  17. #70 BucFan Says:

    Lovie made it clear, in his early press conferences- that he intended to up grade MLB. He came right out and stated that.

    In Lovies defense- the MLB is more of a cover guy, that a run stopper
    Dane Fletcher is Barrett Rudd.
    Uneducated fans hated Rudd, but he was the right guy for the Tampa two.
    So is Fletcher.
    Foster has continued to struggle in coverage. He will actually be more at home as a SLB. That’s where he played in college.

    That’s why Watson became expendable

 
 

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