Herm Edwards Says Foster Fits Bucs’ SystemApril 30th, 2011
As Joe hammers out more research on linebacker Mason Foster, the Bucs’ third-round pick out of Washington, Joe keeps seeing a common thread: Foster has a high football IQ enhanced by his time switching from defense to quarterback during his senior season in high school and playing multiple linebacker spots in college.
Former Bucs coach Herm Edwards and Foster come from the same Northern California coastal neighborhood (Foster’s going to get a rude awakening from the Tampa humidity and heat) and it seems Edwards knows the kid, so he told their hometown newspaper, The Herald of Monterey County, Calif.
Foster, among his other comments, thinks he flew under scouts’ radar and his savvy can make up for his physical shortcomings.
“Honestly, I kind of got overlooked playing on the West Coast,” said Foster before the draft. “On the big stage, I raised my game to another level.”
Foster’s versatility was an attraction. The 6-foot-1, 245-pounder can play the run inside, or line up on the outside and blitz or drop back into coverage.
“You don’t have to be a big linebacker to play in that system,” Edwards said. “You have to be instinctive. That’s what Mason is. He’s going to get a shot right away.”
Foster’s stock began to rise at the Senior Bowl. During the NFL combines, he was praised for his understanding of defenses during meetings with teams. What might have hurt Foster was his 40-yard dash time, which was 4.75 at the NFL combines. He had a best of 4.65.
“Some players are workout warriors,” Foster said. “But can they play?”
“He’s such a versatile guy. He’s got the ability to play in space but yet play hard-nosed football. He’s an excellent pass rusher, and he’s got ball instincts. I don’t know how many times in two years, the ball gets tipped into the air and it finds its way into No. 40′s hands. He’s just got great instincts, and in the NFL he equates to a three-down linebacker, meaning he can play first- and second-down football, but even in nickel situations, he can rush the passer or cover people – he can do that really well too.”
Joe likes Foster’s legitimate versatility. Hopefully he can light a fire under the asses of all the Bucs’ starting linebackers, assuming they’re still wearing pewter when the dust settles on free agency.