Veteran Needed In The Front Seven

March 30th, 2012

If the Bucs expect Mason Foster to develop to his fullest, the second-year linebacker simply needs help.

Joe remembers as a kid a relative, who fought in the infantry in the South Pacific during World War II, explained to Joe what a Bonzai Charge was.

Thankfully, Joe will never experience such a thing but while watching the Bucs defense play last year, when opponents ran the ball past the line of scrimmage, the sight reminded Joe of what his relative told him about a Bonzai Charge.

The Bucs linebackers simply couldn’t stop the rush. It was as if they waved white flags once they saw a ball carrier.

Now Joe’s not going to pick on Mason Foster, who played middle linebacker last year and was likely out of position. The rookie was in a no-win situation because he got zero help on either side of him and after Gerald McCoy went down with an injury, got little help in front of him as well.

This has led to former Bucs defensive end Steve White to beg Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik to acquire a linebacker through free agency.

Speaking with Tom Krasniqi on WHBO-AM 1040 Wednesday, White explained how dire it is for Dominik to bring in a veteran linebacker.

Talk about keeping Mason Foster in the middle which I think is just posturing. … At the same time we have to sign somebody, I don’t care if it is an inside linebacker or an outside linebacker. There’s not a whole lot of outside linebackers left out there.

Geno Hayes is exploring other options, visiting with the Broncos. Quincy Black was terrible last year. Whether you put Mason Foster on the outside or the inside, I don’t care. You are going to have to get that guy some help in here. What I don’t think you want to do is go completely young with the linebackers and the young line up front. We need some veterans in there somewhere.

White is right on the mark. If there was a team with worse play from its linebacker corps out there last year, Joe wants to know. And without beefing up the linebackers, why exactly should anyone believe the Bucs will be much better stopping the run this season?

Simply put, Foster needs help. Otherwise, he’s going to be shell-shocked like an infantry grunt.

27 Responses to “Veteran Needed In The Front Seven”

  1. Meh Says:

    Hawthorne is the only guy out there now worth pursuing. Maybe Fletcher, but he’s older than dirt. I could see him for a year as a stop gap and veteran example though.

  2. Kujolw84 Says:

    David Hawthorne is the way to go if not him Fletcher for a 1 year deal. If we got D.Hawthorne sign him to a 5 year deal would be great.

  3. texasbucfan Says:

    Totally agree with Joe’s about the lack of veterans/depth. This was obvious before the season started just like it was obvious we needed to replace Cadillac. Dominik is fortunate to still have a job. I think the Glazers should have cleaned house after the worst 10 games in Bucs history(hard to do). Dominik was at least as much to blame as Morris. Now I was impressed to see him get out quickly in free agency, and I’m excited about Shiano so I’m cautiously optimistic he can do better a better job in the future.

  4. NJBucsFan Says:


    The Eagles had putrid LB play last year. They also had horrible Saftey play. Andy Cheesesteak Reid has now publicly admitted he made a mistake not upgrading the LB’s….maybe someone should forward this info to Dom.

  5. Patrick Says:

    Sign Fletcher. It’s pretty f’n obvious what they should do. I know they got Jackson and Nicks, but hey, not upgrading this ONE area is gonna kill us!

  6. Macabee Says:

    This is such an obvious need that the Bucs must know that something has to be done at MLB. With all of the defensive brain power that Dominik has to rely on now, I can’t believe they are going to repeat last year’s experiment with Foster in the middle.

    I don’t know if Hawthorne’s price is too high or he still has injury issues, but he hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in FA. Word is he is trying to renegotiate with Seattle. With the Tulloch and Lofton contracts done the market appears to be at around 5mil/yr for a starting MLB. That number shouldn’t be a deterrent to the Bucs signing someone.

    I wouldn’t be disappointed if we turned our attention to London Fletcher, one of the best MLBs in the NFL last year. At 36, like Barber, he’s probably got one more year left in the tank. The Bucs could offer him a 1 or 2yr contract with 1yr guaranteed as a player/coach. The Redskins can’t re-sign him at his current 4.5mil salary due to cap penalty issues.

    If we do bring him on, we could then draft his heir-apparent MLB (Luke Kuechly or Dontae Hightower) in the 1st round or (Bobby Wagner or LaVonte David) in the 2nd round, depending on whether we trade down or not. Then tie the heir-apparent to Fletcher’s hip for the next year or 2 until he knows the position hands down.

    We could then move Foster to the outside. With Fletcher we would be getting a 3-down (not 2-down like Lofton) proven pro bowl MLB who can still play at a high level and a 1 or 2yr training program for his successor. With Barber coming back, we would have 2 leaders in the locker room that could mentor the younger players.

  7. derk Says:

    totally agree… sign london fletcher for a one or two year deal.
    one of the biggest problems with the defense last year was lack of leadership.
    easy to deal when things are going good….
    when one whell falls off the wagon, vets keep you on the path.

  8. TrueBlue Says:

    Why should anyone believe the Bucs will be better at stopping the run this year? How about because they will have a coaching staff that actually prepares them for the games with a defined plan that gives them clarity on responsibilities and assignments. Way too much blame is being put on the players. Sure they played a role, but even the best players are going to fail without proper preparation.

    It was disgusting to see them come into games and wait until half time to prep for the game. It’s no wonder this whole team fell apart. Things are going to be different this year right out of the gate. Maybe they get beat, maybe not. But they will come ready to play football.

  9. Marques Says:

    No question we need more experience at LB having said that our run defence really slipped when Cody went out with the ACL.

    We really need a physical presence back there to help the run. A real banger.

    If we can’t find that vet LB and I suspect we won’t until perhaps after the draft, then a real hard hitting safety to step in the box would be plan B in my opinion.

    With the 5th pick the bucs select Dontari Poe.

    More Grade A beef in the middle. Mix up our sets on occassion and put him in there as an inside LB in a 3-4.

    Hell throw him down with a 5 man front at times( 5-2-4 -with that saftey dropping down in the box to help the LB’s) NOBODY will run on us.

  10. deminion Says:

    Bobby Wagner = Beast

  11. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I think it’s a strong assumption that these LBs will settle for 1-2 year contracts.

    Also…I think Dominick is waiting on getting a LB until during or after the draft. Maybe he figues a team will replace one in the draft.

  12. passthebuc Says:

    Did we not pick up an outside linebacker, a former 3rd round pick of the
    Titans, who was out injured all of last year?

  13. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Does anyone get the sence that if Dominck screws the pooch again this year, that Butch Davis will be the GM in waiting?

  14. eric Says:

    Glad to see everyone now loves the fools gold.

    Welcome to the dark side.

  15. Northend Says:

    Im ok with giving Watson his shot,using Rennie Currens agressive style and drafting 2 lbs like David /Kendricks in the 2nd and or spence /Carter in 3rd or via a trade up.Im sure staff feels the same.We have talent and the guys coming out have way more upside then some fa.Grass aint always greener.Remember if the dude was as important to existing team they would have resigned them as a priority like Jackson,Tulloch etc

  16. Brain Says:

    I like the idea of signing London Fletcher, but we’d still draft Luke Kuechly who plays like a veteran.

  17. SensibleBuc Says:

    @ Scotty

    He’s won the offseason thus far and he’s the Glazers’ boy. I don’t see why that would change on the off chance that he doesn’t make a splash at LB.

    Plus, Butch go fired from Cleveland because he was TERRIBLE in personnel.

  18. SensibleBuc Says:

    *got fired

  19. SensibleBuc Says:

    @ Marques

    So you want to spend ANOTHER top 5 pick on a DT? That’s a little extreme isn’t it?

  20. Bobby Says:

    First of all, IF the D-line can stay healthy the LB’s will automatically look better because the RB’s won’t be getting to the second level like it’s a free ticket. Second, I do believe the game plan will be far superior to last year’s and that will certainly help but in the end the LB’s that we have will have to shed blocks and tackle much better than they did last year.

    I’m all for signing Fletcher to a 1-2 yr deal which is all he can expect at his age. I think we need a veteran presence there and this years draft class is deep in LB’s. If we can draft his replacement and let him learn the ropes for a season or two I think it will pay dividends.

  21. SensibleBuc Says:

    I’m still not really worried about the LB position.

    Hawthorne and Fletcher are available now. There will be a plethora of LBs available in the draft. Some linebackers will be available in secondary free agency as well. We’ve got tons of time to make a move.

  22. Capt. Tim Says:

    Joe- again, exactly spot on. Don’t care how he does it, but Dom better get some LBers and CBS in here. He’s had three years, and those units are worse than when he started. Lewis? Biggers? Gaitor?
    Come on man!
    It’s his job, and his alone, to get players in here that can win!
    Cb and Lb – FAIL

    Already have post here, ready to make excuses!

    I want to see Schiano have a fair chance. He has sections of that defense that cannot compete at the NFL level

    Fix it , Dom!
    Ya done good with t2 of the other FAs
    Now fix that pathetic defense!

  23. Bobby Says:

    @Capt Tim….I’m sure Dom is smacking his head with that “I could have had a V-8” move and thanking you for bringing the need for help on defense to his attention. Before you posted I’m sure it never crossed his mind…..

  24. eric Says:

    Remember rock is a defensive fundamentalist from back in the kiffen days


  25. Marques Says:

    @ SensibleBuc Says

    For this year it might seem a lot. But I don’t see Roy Miller in our future. One more year maybe.

    So we have Price and McCoy. Both have not been able to stay healthy.

    Trade down a few spots possibly get that 4th round pick we don’t have and get Dontari Poe.

    Our greatest need is stopping the run.

  26. Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Steve White would make a great coach for Tampa. He is football smart, and takes no chit from anyone.
    WHY Tampa has not brought him in in some capacity is beyond me.

  27. k1ngAdroc Says:

    sounds like the perfect fit is still out there…..LONDON