Mason Foster Is Not “Significant Leverage”

May 22nd, 2011

Bucs third-round pick Mason Foster may be a lot of things: He could be another Ray Lewis, per Raheem Morris. He could be Derrick Brooks and Shelton Quarles rolled into one, so claimed Herm Edwards.

But Joe is quite certain Foster is not leverage in the Bucs’ future free-agent negotiations with Barrett Ruud, as St. Pete Times writer Stephen Holder wrote today in a piece about Ruud. 

Ruud won’t even speculate on the chances of a return to Tampa Bay. The Bucs drafted Washington LB Mason Foster last month and have initial plans to use him as a middle linebacker, something that would give the team significant leverage in any potential negotiations with Ruud and makes his departure more likely.

Joe likes the Foster pick as much as the next guy, but nobody knows if he’s going to be any better than Tyron McKenzie, another third-round pick (Patriots, 2009) the Bucs seem to like, too. Either of those unproven guys is meaningless to the Ruud negotiations.

The only leverage the Bucs might have with Ruud is his perceived value on the open market. If the rest of the NFL is horrified by Ruud’s film, like many Bucs fans are, then the Bucs have leverage. If not, well, odds are Ruud is gone. Is Mark Dominik going to overpay for Ruud? Highly doubtful unless a new salary cap floor changes the game in a bizarre high-pressure, abbreviated free agency period.

Joe believes it’s Ruud who eventually will have strong leverage on the Bucs if the lockout extends deep into the summer. The odds of the Bucs wanting to start Foster at middle linebacker after an abbreviated training camp and preseason are pretty slim.  

25 Responses to “Mason Foster Is Not “Significant Leverage””

  1. Macabee Says:

    When I hear the word “leverage” it implies some sort of contest or struggle where one party gains some advantage over the other. To me, this is simple – either Ruud wants to be a Buc or not and if he does he should make it clear what he wants. Either the Bucs want him back or not, if they do, when allowed, they should make him an offer. The idea that either Ruud or the Bucs would be forced into a deal as a result of who holds the better hand or “has leverage” makes for a bad relationship going forward because somebody loses. He should walk if he doesn’t want to play for the Bucs and the Bucs should tell him to walk if they don’t want him!

  2. Bucnjim Says:

    I’ll agree that Foster doesn’t give the Bucs much leverage with Ruud if at all. I will say though that we’re talking about this year only. With all the young talent the team is drafting; Ruud will be long past his prime (which I believe he already is) by the time these guys hit their prime. The team needs some new blood that can all gel together. My problem with Ruud has never been personal. I’ve always said he is a DECENT player that is overated by some fans. The problem is (which most people for some reason won’t admit) is his value as a leader. The leader of the D is no QB! He calls the plays and occasional will change them pre snap. Since Ruud isn’t a splash play or physical player; there is little opportunity to improvise once the play is in motion. There lies the main reason Ruud gets so many tackles down field. He reads the plays and knows immediately where they are going, but his execution is hampered by his lack of strength and abitlity to shed blocks.

  3. Matthew levanduski Says:

    Well put Jim, I personally would rather see Foster or McKenzie get their chance to grow with the young line. Good point about Ruud being past his prime by the time everyone else reaches their potential. Why couldn’t Ronde or Geno start making the adjustments>

  4. Bucnjim Says:

    I believe Ronde already makes most of the adjustments to the secondary especially when he moves to cover the slot. Barber may only have a year left in him, but I could see him in that defensive play calling role. He may be small, but he’s smart and tough as hell.

  5. Patrick Says:

    This guy is not going to be an inside linebacker. With his speed you got to play him outside.Weak side suits him the best. Rudd isn’t going anywhere.


    @ Patirck, keep dreaming. He is gone. Been replaced. The Bucs weren’t afraid to start 11 rookies last year. They will start more rookies this year. They need experience not sitting behind soft Ruud.

  7. dan Says:

    haha no. they will not start either Mckenzie or Foster day one. not going to happen unless ruud is unwilling to play for the bucs because he’s ticked. Dominick will listen to Rah who only says awesome things about Ruud. guys stop your hate on the SYSTEM that is called *where at the snap he is supposed to run backwards* and on plays he is supposed to guard the run think of it this way, a linebacker run stuffing is like a running back, if his line isnt doing its job, then he fails. the end. stop all the uninformed whining.

  8. Bucnjim Says:


    I’ve never seen a more incorrect statement than *where at the snap he is supposed to run backwards*. This is SO FAR from the truth I have to ask you if you even watch the Bucs? Replay any game you would like! I dare you to show me any first down play with a one or even 2 WR set that has Ruud running backwards in coverage. He may not be charging into a gap, but he is definately not running BACKWARDS!

  9. Bucnjim Says:

    Raheem’s Defense (according to his own words) is supposed to be fast, Physical & Violent. Which one of these describes Ruud again?

  10. Big Marlon B Says:

    When the lockout gets lifted, make a call to Mark Herzlich’s agent and get him in here. A lot of people try to point out the fact that he’s not overly athletic…but depending on who you ask, Mason Foster isn’t either. Both players have tremendous instincts, incredible toughness, play physical and shed blocks well, top notch leadership qualities and work ethic, and they demonstrate productivity by making plays consistently. Everyone needs to stop saying this one or that one doesn’t fit the scheme because they lack the speed. THIS IS NOT A TRUE TAMPA 2 ANYMORE….MONTE KIFFIN IS LONG GONE FOLKS!!! Herzlich can provide quality depth, and eventually push for some time at the Mike or Sam spots. In addition to all the qualities I listed before, Herzlich also offers something that Rah and Dominik covet….schematic versatility. Make it happen Dom!!!!

  11. McBuc Says:

    Joe, spot on on this one. Nice right up, oh…I I understood what you were going for with your letter to Freeman, some of these guys are a bit too seriouse.

  12. dan Says:

    i have watched the games, infact ive watched… 9 of them in the past few weeks, i have seen Ruud in zone coverage and and ive seen him make tackles ON the line of scrimmage, ive seen both. to be honest why dont we consider using the brilliant grim as a middle line backer? he is stout, good on run D and smart enough to make coverage calls… just a thought if we can get depth at safety.

  13. m.wesley Says:

    his best quality is his smartness hes like a coach on the field so i know he can read and react a pass play from a running play.that is where you say his worth is right?

  14. m.wesley Says:

    Grim 6 feet 210lbs,think hes big enough Dan?

  15. Espo Says:

    “If the rest of the NFL is horrified by Ruud’s film, like many Bucs fans are, then the Bucs have leverage.”

    Are you trying to tell me that somewhere there is evidence of Barrett Ruuuuud not playing up to NFL standards? I wish we could get our hands on these secret films so there wouldn’t be such a debate all the time.

  16. McBuc Says:

    ESPO…Only in fans minds, the expersts all seem to say he is doing well.

  17. BigMacAttack Says:

    Well Grimm is a Safety converted from LB. If the Bucs need to break open the vault for the salary floor, I would sign Nnamdi before I’d pay Ruud a penny more than he is making now. I’d also resign Cadi, Hayward, & Truebonehead. I like Dakoda Watson and look forward to his second season. Hayward, I feel is better than Black, Ruud or Hayes, and won’t hesitate to lay the wood on somebody. How bout them Lightning? Yeah! Go Bolts!!! I’m going Wednesday.

  18. MarkD Says:

    Ruud is a good zone coverage LB. The problem with Ruud that he also the worst LB in the NFL at stopping the run. A middle LB should be able to run to his gap and stop the run. About 2 weeks ago, NFL network replayed the Bucs v Cards game. I made my father watch Ruud closely. Ruud played wrong angles, and over run gaps. Running backs gets 3-4 yards after contact against Ruud. He claims that he makes a lot of tackles. True. But not suppose to let the backs get 10 yards down the field before making your tackle. Point is that Ruud is SOFT as a plush toy.

  19. McBuc Says:

    MarkD…You and your dad are better than Brooks and Steve White at seeing what Ruud is doing, or is your dad with them and you are trying to change his mind? Either way, I listen to them. I have never heard an expert say Ruud takes “bad angles”, just a few on this site. You do not have as many tackles as Ruud by taking “bad angles”, bad angles turn into missed tackles. I do not think he is the greatest, and I agree with either Bambam or Hawaiian (sorry guys not sure who said it), when they say “is this the best we can get”…The answer is no, but to blame the run d on Ruud is just silly. Your dad is right, Ruud makes a lot of tackles, is he soft…maybe…does he take bad angles…NO! To say so is just wrong. Will he be here next year, maybe but it does not matter that much, as long as we have someone who can tackle and the linw improves. If the line improves the MLB will look good no matter what, if not it does not matter who is there they will be tackling five to ten yards down the field. You should be happy Ruud does not take “bad angles”, otherwise the Bucs would have lost several more games.

    How is that Capt, am I in the running for long posts?

  20. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Yeah, I don’t think of Ruud as someone who takes bad angles. I think that is one of his strengths. He does tend to always be near the ball, which is a great quality in a LB. My only real beef with him is I wish he could knock people on their arses more. But I’m pretty sure that’s just not going to happen. If we keep him, fine, but I don’t think there is any doubt an upgrade would not be a bad thing. I doubt Brooks, Steve White, or anyone else would argue that point.

  21. Capt.Tim Says:

    I ain’t getting in another Ruud debate. I’m just not!

  22. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Come on Captain, one more for old time sake, lol!

  23. Capt.Tim Says:

    Lol, noooo! Everytime I defend Ruud, I feel like I need a shower! I am not a fan of his. While I hate seeing the clueless stone him to death, the guy doesn’t give ya a lot to shine up and show to the Jury, if ya know what I’m saying. The best you can say is, that he does what he’s supposed to, and doesn’t screw up. That counts, but considering the pack of sharks that are always on him, IRS pretty much a handful of ramen noodles- not great shark defense.

    Again, it’s a moot point. The Bucs realize he can make much more money elsewhere, in a different scheme, than a MLB is worth in our defense. They will let him go get his big payday.

    It won’t hurt our defense very much, and we will find an adequate replacement- I believe McKensie will take that job

    And at the end of next year, you guys will start clamoring that he’s soft . . .

  24. McBuc Says:

    HB…agreed 100%

  25. Capt.Tim Says:

    Alright, one more time, just cause this might help. . ., nah, more noodles

    Ok – pretend you are a MLB. In the Tampa 2. The ball is snapped- you immediately drop back 6 yards, and shadow the TE on a crossing route, a typical 8 yard deep, parole to the line of scrimmage deal. You got it covered!

    But look, it’s a run play!! Damn, that fat ass Ryan Sims got blown off the line of scrimmage again!!! I swear I think he’s asleep half the time! Where the Hell is Quincy! He’s supposed to have the Tailback? Oh great, he’s over there dancing with that Lil 5’10 fullback!! Hey Quincy, you ever heard of BEATING a blocker, not hugging him!!

    The 3 Wr all ran out patterns, dragging the secondary to the side lines. There is nothing between me and this ridiculously fast Lil hiccup, and the endzone! If I miss, it’s 7 points! Damn Sims and Black both! This guy is an NFL Runningback! He is so damn fast and strong! I’d like to knock his head off, to shut up all that “soft” crap! Buuuut, I’m alone here, if he jukes, he’s gone ! Better wrap him up and save the TD!

    Got him! Man, the fans must appreciate how many TDs I’ve prevented this season! I bet I win an award for sure tackling ! Buc fans gotta be glad I’m here cleaning up after these other knot heads!

    TaDa- a play in the life of Barrett Ruud. Believe it or not,your gonna see some young guy go for a big hit, and whiff as the back scores a tD, and you guys are gonna miss Barrett!