Breakout Bucs: Mason Foster

July 7th, 2014
All signs point to MLB Mason Foster blowing up this fall.

All signs point to Bucs MLB Mason Foster blowing up this fall.

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.

17 Responses to “Breakout Bucs: Mason Foster”

  1. Captain Stagger Says:

    Mason Knows…..

    Very under rated guy. All that talk of Fletcher taking his spot was BS. Mase will be a rock in the middle.

  2. Destinjohnny Says:

    As long as he dosent have to cover anybody he will be fine-’don’t be surprised if Dane beats him out-’the guy is all in though he really works hard

  3. ForgotAboutDre Says:

    Foster has always been overrated for us. Decent tackler which pumps up his stats but huge liability in coverage. And no, him getting a nice pick 6 against the Saints does not make up for that.

    Hoping this year will be better for him.

  4. Mumbles Says:

    I wish Mason Foster the best, but the surprise and success story coming out of training camp this year will be Carl “the Death Star” Nicks!

  5. Tom Edrington Says:

    Life has gone full-circle for Hardy Nickerson.

    He was their first and most important free-agent signing back in the day, one that would set the tone and bring in a player who showed Brooks, Sapp, Lynch and the rest how to bring it on defense.

    If you listen to Ian Beckles talk about Hardy, it was Hardy’s attitude and even the fact that Hardy was a bit on the “dirty player” side, nothing wrong with a little “dirty” these guys need to get a little “nasty” in them. Beckles calls it having “dog in you” So look for more guys with a bit of “dog” in them.

  6. Buccfan37 Says:

    Yeah, now that’s what we’re talking about! Foster and David causing havoc in the Bucs defense. Release the crackems.

  7. BritBucsince92 Says:

    “Release the crackems” ……… Love it!!!

  8. Touch_Down_Tampa_Bay Says:

    With all the given players that are a no brainer to have success I think they will cause a ripple effect that will bring Verner to the Barber level. In the same token I’m hoping Banks becomes our new Tillman.

    The possibilities of an outstanding playoff year are high for me. But no matter what, we are back to being entertain by our Bucs. Juices are flowing Baby! Let’s go Bucs!

  9. Louis Friend Says:

    All of those guys mentioned were expected to be or already were great players when Smith got to them. I’m not so sure Foster fits into the Nickerson/Urlacher/Fletcher category. Maybe he’ll raise his game, but I think he’s already playing as well as he can. Which isn’t bad, but not Pro Bowl quality.

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I notice all the Mason naysayers are new to the website this year or silent while here before that.

    Interesting.

    Well, here’s the deal. Mason Foster has gotten better and better year after year. Even if you were right about his coverage skills, there are plenty of very successful MLBs that are big and not cover guys. At worse, Mason will do well stopping the run, make tackles behind the line and hit the QB from time to time.

    That’s more than Ruud ever did. He tackled well, but it was always after a good gain.

    Foster has earned some props at least (unlike Glennon #dig). Has he arrived at his peak? No. He is still earning props as he improvs. But at least he has real stats.

  11. biff barker Says:

    Foster played extremely well early last season but his play seemingly fell off as the season wore on. In previous years he was injured later in the season too.

    Good player, with the potential to be great in the right system. He’s got the best coaches in the business, that’s without question.

  12. Sean Says:

    So he may not be a superstar… I’m OK with him being Shelton Quarles

  13. Nuc if you buc Says:

    Can’t wait to see how masons moving after the recent weight loss

  14. Snook Says:

    I also think Mason Foster will have a big season. But Pro Bowl? No. Unless he has 10+ sacks, he’s not going to Pro Bowl. Its a joke anyways.

    See Lavonte David 2013.

  15. MadMax Says:

    I hope he stays healthy and has a record year. I know about the coverage of pass plays, but we have David and the secondary to help there. Hopefully he excels at his new roletoo, wearing the green sticker. If not, I hope it goes back to David.

  16. Brandon Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says:
    July 7th, 2014 at 10:20 am
    I notice all the Mason naysayers are new to the website this year or silent while here before that.

    Interesting.

    Well, here’s the deal. Mason Foster has gotten better and better year after year. Even if you were right about his coverage skills, there are plenty of very successful MLBs that are big and not cover guys. At worse, Mason will do well stopping the run, make tackles behind the line and hit the QB from time to time.
    —————–

    Still here, bro. Mason Foster isn’t athletic enough to cut it as a Mike in the T-2. He’s an average athlete, at best. He struggles in coverage which is a huge component of being a successful Mike in the T-2, he also struggles to get sideline-to-sideline, which is a must have. Mason Foster is a decent LB, kind of a like a Curtis Lofton-type. Good plugger but a liability in coverage, those LBs are a dime a dozen. When I think of Foster in the T-2, it reminds me of the one year experiment with Jamie Duncan at Mike…only Duncan was more athletic.

    If Fletcher doesn’t take his spot (he’s athletic enough to fill the role well), somebody else will next year. Marginal athletes have little place in the front 7 of the T-2.

  17. Brooks Says:

    I hope none of our guys are eating pineapple joe. If they are that means we missed the Super Bowl.

 
 

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