Hardy Says LBs Can Play In His Image

April 6th, 2014

hardy nickersonIt’s been an age old question: Can a great player be a great coach, one who can get his students to play like he did?

Bucs icon Hardy Nickerson, now Tampa Bay’s linebackers coach, didn’t hesitate to say he can do just that.

You can watch Nickerson respond to the query and explain in this Buccaneers.com video.

Joe realizes many of his young readers, as well as new Bucs fans, don’t realize what a rip-your-head-off, violent, emotional middle linebacker Nickerson was. He came to the Bucs in 1993 and made five Pro Bowls in seven seasons, three for Sam Wyche and four for Tony Dungy. The man has been given credit for molding Hall of Fame alpha dogs Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks. Every season Nickerson isn’t in the Bucs’ Ring of Honor is a crime against humanity.

Nickerson was a linebackers coach for Lovie Smith in Chicago back in 2007 before leaving the NFL ranks. Now he’s back.

Mason Foster already had Bryan Cox, a rabid, Pro Bowl beast in his day, coaching him in 2012, when Foster blossomed before Cox moved to coach the Bucs’ defensive line last season. So it’s not like Foster hasn’t been around an intense ex-player. But it sure will be interesting to see what Nickerson might be able to do with Foster. Nickerson played the same position in the same defense.

No, Joe doesn’t expect newcomer Dane Fletcher to win the middle linebacker job, though it’s great that Foster finally will have some competition.

This is a huge year for Foster, who will be an unrestricted free agent in 11 months. He’s done good things as a 2011 third-round pick, but he’s never put together what Joe would consider a complete, consistent season.

Work your magic, Hardy.

31 Responses to “Hardy Says LBs Can Play In His Image”

  1. Mark Ingram Says:

    Hardy was to the Bucs what Reggie White was to Green Bay. The FA signing that started the turnaround.

  2. Leon Says:

    Dane is a downgrade on Hayward to think he is competition is lunacy.

  3. pablo Says:

    Lol @ Joe think fletcher is competition.
    I question his credibility at times…

  4. #70 BucFan Says:

    In one of his first press conferences, Lovie stated that he was unhappy with the MLB posistion on this team.

    Doesn’t sound like Foster is Lovies guy in the Middle.

  5. Brandon Says:

    Leon Says:
    April 6th, 2014 at 3:43 pm
    Dane is a downgrade on Hayward to think he is competition is lunacy.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    Right, because starting games with the Pats and never winning a starting spot or seeing many snaps with the Bucs and their horrible LB corps the past several years means Hayward is better. In your dreams. Fletcher is a far superior athlete to Hayward and Foster and considering he has been with the Pats the past four years, he’s probably knows more about what it takes to a professional and succeed than either of them do.

  6. Destinjohnny Says:

    Fletcher is totally competion- his coverage skills and his ability to break down what is going on is better then masons. Mason has no coverage skills

  7. Bruno Says:

    Damn, I feel old now. ;(

  8. Bucfan#37 Says:

    It’s great to have Hardy back with the Bucs in any capacity. He was a ferocious player for our team, one of the best Bucs ever.

  9. Kevin Says:

    I am anxious to see what Fletcher brings….Overall more excited than any offseason in recent years.

  10. Keith Says:

    Lovie himself said Fletcher was competition. Amazing how people make fun of Joe yet comehere all the time.

  11. RustyRhinos Says:

    Joe, your right on with this.”Every season Nickerson isn’t in the Bucs’ Ring of Honor is a crime” \Very glad he is our LB coach.

  12. Owlykat Says:

    Hardy is the perfect fit for the Tampa Two MLB Coach. I saw all his games s a Buc. Foster was the top OLB in the draft but was put out of place at MLB. Move him to SLB and he will be a star. Covering passes are not in his skill set. Fletcher can play MLB. Ask Quarles who was a ST specialist when he was moved to MLB and played there for us in the SB. Fletcher has been the backup MLB for Pats.

  13. Buc1987 Says:

    RustyRhinos …he started his career as a Steeler for 6 seasons. I’m a BIG time Hardy fan, but I wouldn’t consider him for the ring of honor just for that reason alone. Brooks and Lynch on the other hand for certain. For they were drafted by our team and became stars as Buccaneers.

    I wonder if they are going to retire Brooks’ number this season like they did for Sapp. Or is it too early for that? That will be a game I will definitely be attending.

  14. Buc1987 Says:

    Sorry Rusty I didn’t realize that you were quoting that Joe character.
    Well then the above was directed at you sir Joe.

  15. DavidM Says:

    Love me some HARDY F`N NICKERSON!!! I havent been this pumped for a season in yrs.

  16. Luther Says:

    Buc1987 – I really don’t care that he played for the Steelers. I feel he deserves the ring of honor because, before he came, no one wanted to play for us. I was so tired of players being drafted by the Bucs only to have them star for some other team. He taught players how to practice (Tyji Armstrong) and how to play to win (Sapp, Brooks, Lynch, etc). Put Hardy in the Ring of Honor now!!!

  17. Owlykat Says:

    While Fletcher can play MLB, who would be his backup? The best outcome there for the Bucs would be to draft the Michigan State MLB at 6’3″ who has the speed, length, and height to cover passes in Cover Two, yet tough enough to shut down the top RB in this draft from Ohio State when his team beat undefeated Ohio State. In short the same skill set as Urlacher, which should excite Lovie. Let Fletcher learn Tampa Two and be his back up while starring on STs!

  18. Buc1987 Says:

    Oh boy some of you are in for a big letdown. All pumped up for a great season. I’ll bet ya this is the most pumped some of you will be all year. Have your fun now, getting all excited and such. Expecting instant success. While I’m expecting no better than 6-10 as of right now. The 2nd wave of free agency and of course the draft are still on the way, but right now I see 6-10. I’m so excited too, yipee!

    Let see how pumped up some of you still are in October.

    Signed, Debbie Downer

  19. Eric Says:

    Lovie is doing a masterful job.

    I’m smelling one of those worst to first turnarounds and a Division Title. Just like in 2005 and 2007.

    Those weren’t greatly talented teams but Jon knew how to win and so does Lovie.

  20. Buc1987 Says:

    “Buc1987 – I really don’t care that he played for the Steelers. I feel he deserves the ring of honor because, before he came, no one wanted to play for us.”

    Yah that seems like a good enough reason. (sarcasm)

    Loved him as a mentor to the young defensive guys, but to say that those players were only great because of Hardy Nickerson is a stretch. A big one.

    I predict he never gets in that ring of honor though.

    Does Brad Johnson belong in that Ring of Honor too?
    How about Keenan McCardell?
    How about Michael Pittman?

    Those 3 have SB rings. Although they played a lot of their career before coming to the Bucs. So we must include them as possible candidates as well.

    Like I said I was a BIG Nickerson fan when he played. He became a star as a Steeler. Just like Simeon Rice became a star as a Card before he became a Buc. Should we ask the Steelers and Cards for permission first?

  21. Buc1987 Says:

    “Buc1987 – I really don’t care that he played for the Steelers. I feel he deserves the ring of honor because, before he came, no one wanted to play for us.”

    Yah that seems like a good enough reason. (sarcasm)

    Loved him as a mentor to the young defensive guys, but to say that those players were only great because of Hardy Nickerson is a stretch. A big one.

    I predict he never gets in that ring of honor though.

    Does Br-ad Johnson belong in that Ring of Honor too?
    How about Keenan McCardell?
    How about Michael Pittman?

    Those 3 have SB rings. Although they played a lot of their career before coming to the Bucs. So we must include them as possible candidates as well.

    Like I said I was a BIG Nickerson fan when he played. He became a star as a Steeler. Just like Simeon Rice became a star as a Card before he became a Buc. Should we ask the Steelers and Cards for permission first?

  22. Buc1987 Says:

    Eric I think your wrong about 2014, but I hope your right.

  23. Eric Says:

    I’d put Brad Johnson in the ring of honor.

    Man gets little respect but that was a damn fine pro bowl season he had in 2002 and he held that team together when it was slipping away in Philly.

    Rock solid and our only Super Bowl winning QB.

    Plus he had to assimilate Chuckies offense with a bunch of new starters.

    Hardy outta be in too. Big huge part of the turnaround from laughing stock.

  24. Eric Says:

    Give it some time 1987, you will come around.

    Cake hasn’t been baked yet.

  25. Luther Says:

    Buc1987 – you take one snippet of my post and act like that is the sole reason? You act like a politician.

    The guy meant a lot to our franchise and he deserves the honor.

  26. Buc1987 Says:

    I guess some fans qualifications for this Ring of Honor is very different than mine. Was it Hardy that started the turn around or Dungy or was it Wyche?

    My qualifications (for a player) are very simple as you can see. Not that I matter. First you have to start out as a Buc. Gruber, Sapp, Selmon etc. and be very successful doing so. Guys that bleed, red, pewter and orange.

    I would imagine Hardy bleeds, red, gold, pewter and black.

    Apparently though to some it only matters if a player contributed a lot to the team. That’s fine by me I don’t make the rules. For all I know that is the rules for getting selected to it. As long as you contributed a great deal to the team, you get in.

    Sorry if I need more than that.

  27. scubog Says:

    I thought the Ring of Honor is to recognize coaches and players for their contribution to the team regardless of their NFL birthplace. I suspect Hardy considers himself a Buccaneer even though he started with the Steelers and, as I recall, ended with the Jaguars. It was Hardy, who brought some much needed swagger to the team. Ask Sapp, Lynch and Brooks who inspired them. These cornerstones of the great Dungy led Buc defense were acquired by Sam Wyche, who still gets very little credit. Thanks Sam.

  28. Luther Says:

    I agree scubog…Sam gets a LOT of credit from me. I guess Gruden certainly doesn’t deserve any honors because he was a Raider coach first…Of course Sam was the Bengals coach first too.

  29. hamilton Says:

    mason foster will make the probowl this year.

  30. Tomcin Says:

    Maybe Urlacher would come back for one year.

  31. MIKELB831 Says:

    Who was the only LB in the NFL to return TWO picks for TDs this past season? And you all think he can’t cover… 7 passes defended to go with 3 ings… While sitting in nickel packages. You all are #trippin

    http://www.buccaneers.com/team/roster/mason-foster/3ea0237b-e1b6-44af-b956-14a78a1eb333/

 
 

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