Mason Foster “Worse” Than Barrett Ruud

April 7th, 2012

Yes, Joe knows he’s been harsh on the Bucs linebackers since the grotesque 10-game losing streak, which proved fatal for then-Bucs defensive coordinator/head coach Raheem Morris.

For good reason, the Bucs linebackers were terrible and the worst linebacker unit in the NFL.

But Joe has given middle linebacker Mason Foster a mulligan. The poor guy received no help on either side of him and when defensive tackle Gerald McCoy went down with a season-ending injury, it just got worse for the guy.

Throw in the fact he played out of position, was a rookie, was forced to call assignments and had no offseason to speak of, it was a recipe for disaster from the word “go.”

And it was a disaster.

Foster’s name came up in a Twitter discussion by Andy Benoit of the New York Times. Benoit believes — as do Tim Ryan and Pat Kirwan of SiriusXM NFL Radio — that the loss of Ruud was the reason why the Bucs collapsed last year and that Foster being lost in space did not help matters (despite Benoit referring to Ruud as “terrible.”)

@Andy_Benoit: As some have pointed out, Bucs D dropped off after losing Ruud. 1 reason for that: Mason Foster, remarkably, was a worse MLB than Ruud. … Signging a veteran ILB would make sense for Bucs, but that also doesn’t quite fit their M.O. SOMETHING needs to be done at that spot, though

Yes, “something” needs to be done in the worst way. It doesn’t appear the Bucs are going to re-sign Geno Hayes. That leaves a hole in the starting unit right there.

The fact Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik has been unable (thus far) to land an inside linebacker suggests to Joe this will be a target in the draft.

Or, Dominik is waiting for the “second draft,” when teams make cuts after the draft.

22 Responses to “Mason Foster “Worse” Than Barrett Ruud”

  1. Kujolw84 Says:

    I would like to see what Foster can do with new Coaches and an offseason. He took on a big role and thought he could have been better, but held his own for someone that didn’t have much help. If Black would Step up you could have a nice style of blitz schemes with Foster, Black, Watson. Keep the rotation of them blitzing and they will never know were and who it’s coming from. The Bucs do need to draft some LB’s or pick up one i free agency since we know they aren’t going to resign G.Hayes.

  2. JKTampa Says:

    I would love to see the Bucs draft Keuchly with their first pick. With the depth at CB and RB, it seems to make sense to pass on the higher rated players and draft the leader of our defense for the next 10 years with the first pick.

  3. Thomas2.2 Says:

    Foster is not a middle. GMC had zero to do with Foster’s struggles.

    Foster’s and the defense’s best game was against the saints at home – gmc was out hurt. The run defense suffered much more bc of the loss of Cody Grimm.

    Because he was a much higher draft pick and deemed a chosen one by the propaganda machine before he played a NFL down, the apologist want to act as if Grimm’s absence was much less significant than McCoys. Not true.

    What was the Bucs record without Grimm last year? If you try to make that weak argument for McCoy, you must also make it for Grimm.

    I know, I know, Cody isn’t a Dom, JBF pet. He should be much more than Softy. For a seventh round pick his production and play has exceeded Softy’s.

  4. 941-Bucs Says:

    I can’t agree with that statement yet. Ruud was a super smart player, trained under Shelton Quarles and Derrick Brooks, and played for years already.

    Foster was a rookie, with no off season to even prepare for the position. A position which is the hardest to learn on the fly. He was responsible not only for him self but others around him and calling plays. A lot to ask from a person in that situation. Let’s not even mention MLB is not his Strongest quality, much better outside and allowed to roam.

  5. Andrew Says:

    I just watched some game film on Bobby Wagner from Utah and this kid is a beast. he is the real deal. he would instantly become our best linebacker. I hope we draft him because you guys would not be disappointed. he should be priority number 1.

  6. Big007hed Says:

    Unless the Bucs trade back to the teens in the 1st round there is not a LB worth a top 10 pick!
    London Fletcher would be a great veteran signing, might hold them over a year or 2 and then this incredibly young Defense will have some much needed experience.

  7. 941-Bucs Says:

    I am wary of a guy like Fletcher because it’s like. Exactly when will he have his decline and will it be in the middle of a season on our team?

    The perks on the other hand. Include much needed “On Field” experience for both the Linebackers AND the young D Line. He could help with the coaches also and provide knowledge of the game similar to what Rhonde was talking about.

    But who knows? guess we are gonna have to wait and see what we draft to find out.

  8. Garv Says:

    Foster is a rookie coming in to play a position he DID NOT PLAY IN COLLEGE with NO, ZERO, OFFSEASON,……. NONE and he’s expected to be BETTER than Ruud playing in his fifth year?

    Are you kidding me? Let’s see what actual coaching can do before we dump on the kid.

    MORE SCREAMING!!!!! Whew.

  9. Bucnjim Says:

    Ruud hasn’t done crap in three years! Everyone was screaming that he’d go to the Titans and prove the critics wrong. Well not only didn’t he prove the critics wrong; he was beaten all over the field and replaced by a rookie MLB. The icing on the cake was he ended up getting injured (pulled groin imagine that) and the Titans said thanks, but no thanks.

  10. Bucnjim Says:

    Oh and nice picture! There are stonger women playing football right now than Barrett Ruud!

  11. bucbelevr Says:

    Here you go…. Seriously. Trade down from #5 with Dolphins to #8 so they can get Tannehill, that everyone knows they want. In return, require Karlos Dansby, MLB veteran, age 30, 6’4, 250 lbs, 8 yrs in league. Maybe Fins throw in a 4th rounder too. NOT that frail 6’0, 230 lbs rookie Kuechly. MLB solved.

    Miller (RB) 2nd rd, CB 3rd rd. DONE 🙂

  12. Brandon Says:

    Enough with the excuses for Softer, he was worse than Ruud and just as soft if not more so. The only player in the league that gets as much slack is Softer. You don’t hear that short offseason crap about Cam Newton, bad coaching garbage about Clayborne, you don’t hear the excuses regarding Andy Dalton. Softer was terrible last season and the best hope for the Bucs is to trade down and get one of the best ILB prospects to come out in year, Luke Kuechly. He’s a stud and will lead this defense back into prominence and keep it there for the next 10-15 years.

    Richardson won’t help our horrible D no matter how you RBmancrushers want to spin it. Richardson will be out of the league within 10 years and Kuechly will still be going strong like Urlacher and Ray Lewis. Kuechly is the way to go.

  13. mister V Says:

    roflmao, whew like urlacher and lewis, you guys are simply hillarious sometimes…… er that was a joke right?

  14. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Karlos Dansby will NEVER be a Buc, bucbelevr. Thirty is too old at that position. Besides, Dominick, Schiano and company have made it clear they are going young on defense.

    Thomas 2.2
    Foster also played MLB at times before going pro. You claim he isn’t big enough, but we all know players put on bulk after their first two years. I cannot say you are 100% wrong about him, but I can say he should at least have one more year to prove himself…especially since it’s a whole new playbook.

    I read somewhere the Schiano and company feel Foster can be coached into becoming a quality MLB.

    That’s why, JOE, I don’t think they’re sold on going for a MLB in the draft. I think if a quality MLB is there for them in 2 or 3 they’ll take him…but if the OLB pickings are better at that time, they’ll stick with Foster.

    In other words, best option available at LB when they pick in both rounds 1 and 2.

  15. Brain Says:

    Love how everyone is quick to jump on Mason Foster after a rookie season playing with an awful supporting cast for a walking dead coaching staff. Foster has all the tools to be a good thumper MLB for us, but he needs help at OLB because he’s not a sideline to sideline backer. We need to draft Luke Kuechly but play him at WLB (his best fit), allowing Foster to play MLB (his best fit). Dekoda Watson will hopefully win the SLB job cause Quincy Black is atrocious.

  16. Capt. Tim Says:

    Facts are facts- Foster was horrible

    But I don’t think he was given a chance to do better. Forced to play a new position. Forced to call defense. Forced to play a ton of pass coverage- which he has always sucked at.

    Yeah- I don’t blame the kid

    That’s on Dom, by the way! He refused to resign Ruud, or his backups!
    Forced Foster into a losing proposition

    I said when we drafted him – he is a great run stopper at Sam!! That’s where he’s Always played!
    Kid will camp out there, blow up RBs, and that’s it- exactly what we need at Sam. Plus all the things Quincy won’t do.

    Or, instead of playing to his many strengths, we force him to expose his few weaknesses- coverage, especially taller TEs.
    Then he fails, and we wasted a talent we really needed

  17. Bobby Says:

    Sure..losing Ruud was our problem. I mean when he went down for the Titans they fell apart too right?? Sometimes this analysis is beyond stupid. Foster was a rookie. Give him an off season and the right coaching and he’ll be a solid upgrade to Ruud. He played injured most of the season. Get the D-line in shape and I’m sure the LB’s will look a lot better.

  18. Paul Says:

    Foster has way more potential than Ruud. Foster was only worse than Ruud, because Ruud has been a MLB his whole career with good coaching. Foster was thrown into a new position with no coaching anywhere. It’s hard to get off of blocks when you don’t know where you are going.

    Foster, when he knows what he is doing, is a much better tackler than Ruud as well.

  19. thibs5599 Says:


    Good point, Grimm is a very solid player especially against the run. Losing him has hurt us two years in a row, as has McCoy. Both those guys staying healthy will go a long way to helping out against the run.

    I think Foster will be fine in his second season, but one definitely has to wonder why we have not addressed the position at all. This is why I think there is such a big problem if we draft a RB in the first round. We pretty much need two linebackers capable of starting, lets say we go RB in round 1, then we go LB in 2 and 3, that leaves us the fifth round for a corner. rather take that CB in the first and get a RB later on.

  20. MTM Says:

    Foster will be fine this year. The Sea Chickens can have Ruud. Ruud will look great as a green windsock on the back of the opposing teams running backs jersey.

  21. passenger27 Says:

    Luke kuechly is Barrett Ruud 2.0…. will be an average player in the league this year is a weak class for linebackers not a 1st rounder among them Bucs are screwing themselves if they are relying on the draft to fill the holes we have in the linebacker corps

  22. Bobby Says:

    Kuechly will be a beast in the NFL.