Mason Foster Evolving Into An Elite MLB

September 28th, 2012

Last year if Joe told you that the Bucs, after three weeks, would have the best rush defense in the NFL, you likely would have told Joe to put down his Bushmills and go to bed.

But it’s true (no, Joe hasn’t put away the Bushmills). A defense that couldn’t slow a cool breeze, an insulting element of the nauseating 10-game losing streak, is no more.

The Bucs actually are a tough cookie to crumble on the ground this year. One resason is, yes, Gerald McCoy is healthy. Another reason for the upswing is the play of Mason Foster.

The Bucs middle linebacker simply was overwhelmed last year as a rookie. With no offseason training and a shortened training camp, Foster looked lost moving from outside linebacker to the middle. Now, with the benefit of an offseason and — dare Joe say? — coaching, Foster is blossoming into a true NFL force.

Foster credits his improvement largely to two simple words: hard work.

“I feel like I am playing well but I think I can play better,” Foster said. “Even though I am getting better each and every day, I’m working hard, working with the older guys like Quincy [Black] and Adam Hayward, trying to get a better grasp of the whole game. I listen to the coaches and the offseason helped me a lot being able to come in and prepare both mentally and physically.

“I am just trying to keep getting better, keep working. When you practice as hard as we practice and work as hard as we work, study day in and day out, do everything you can possible do to improve, yeah, you get confident. Once you get confident you help the linemen and the linebackers by being prepared.”

It isn’t just Joe’s eyes that tell him Foster is playing well. So do statistics. The numbers crunchers at have Foster ranked No. 1 in the NFL for what the think-tank calls “run stop percentage.” Foster leads the Bucs in solo tackles with 23. He also has an interception.

Yes, imagine what an offseason can do, along with a year’s experience in the NFL. Foster is walking proof.

23 Responses to “Mason Foster Evolving Into An Elite MLB”

  1. bucyea Says:

    Foster will be a dominant, Pro Bowl MLB in 2 years, IF he can stay healthy. He is fast, explosive and brings the heat. With our middle D, as in McCoy, Foster and Barron, it will be tough sleddin’ for teams to run up the middle. If we can upgrade at FS, CB and DE, and OLB thru the next couple of drafts, we’re on the way to a dominant defense, IMO. With the return of Bowers, along with Clay and Bennet we may be good at DE. FS and CB are biggest needs on defense, IMO.

  2. drbinshore Says:

    The improved health and play of Roy Miller has a lot to do with the linebackers being able to get to the ball carrier without O-lineman taking them out of the play.

    Obviously, McCoy has played very well thus far……and is the main reason for the D-line’s success, but the nose tackle shouldn’t be overlooked in the improved rush defense this season. Keeping the linebackers free to make plays is VERY IMPORTANT in solid rush defense.

    Last year, the linebackers has blockers on them almost right away on early downs…clearing the lane to the secondary for big runs.

    If they can stay healthy…McCoy and Miller will be a force for years to come in this league.

  3. Mavsmoney Says:

    I mostly agree with you bucyea, however I think our cb play is better than they’ve shown. I put more blame on the offence and lack of depth contributing to the CBS getting tired. They’ve consistently played at a high level through the first 3 quarters. I hate to say it but we still need to upgrade our dline and could be looking at a situation where we need a new RG or RT. Definitely agree with FS. Despite others views, j-free is safe by just being average. Sounds like we need a FB as well.

  4. princespanky Says:

    I think too much focus is being put on Mason’s physical tools. The fact is that he is a smart, smart, smart football player. He isn’t super fast but he plays like he is from his ability to diagnose plays and his supernatural ability to seek contact.

    We have seen guys with the physical tools (cough…hack..Q. Black) but the thing we have always needed is a smart, instinctual guy who loves to bang and puts fear into a running back. Foster is going to continue to blow up running backs for years to come.

  5. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Thomas 2.2 is so lucky he got banned. Just about every negative thing he said has been proven wrong.

    Remember this?

    “Mason Foster will never make a good MLB. He is too small and stupid.”

    Turns out those of us who liked Foster were right. See what happens when you stay loyal to a good player? It’s a lesson other immitators should learn. (You know who you are)

  6. Jessup Says:

    Foster is also tied with JJ Watt for first in the league with 7 TFL.

  7. Jessup Says:

    McCoy has 4 TFL, Bennett has 3, and David has 3….so out front seven has a total of 17 TFL in three games. That is sick.

    Also, Foster is 2nd in the league in solo tackles with 24.

  8. DaMayan Says:

    I also have a feeling Lavonte David has something to do with this. David took over the headset and calls the plays. David really looks like a great pick.

  9. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    I agree. David is really good. His ability to call the defense AS A ROOKIE is incredible. I really like the last two drafts.

  10. SteveK Says:

    Do we draft Geno Smith in round 1?

  11. Architek Says:

    They’re probably drafting OLine or CB in the first round. I’m very happy for Mason Foster because he persevered.

  12. sneedy16 Says:


    Not Geno Smith. We will have to seen how the offense improve throughout the season before we figure out what to invest the first pick in. The OL still needs depth

  13. MattHorse Says:


    No we do not draft Geno Smith.

    Either WR, RT, CB, FS or BPA

    No need for a OLB because we’re in nickel often.

  14. aldo Says:

    i guess that seven front coach Brian Cox has been amazing huh?? not coincidence we innovate that skill coach and bring this progress, from the CBs im still concerned and its because talib, sure the guy i a great player, but remember the fact that we ppicked him for the tampa 2, Eric Wright plays well to be a number 2 CB, what if we can make an effor for xavier Rhodes from FSU or the alabama Kid, also, time for a TRUE FS!!!, lets face it, ronde is doing just fine but he can be with us for ever, and we can improve him next season!!!

  15. aldo Says:

    he CANT, sorry for the typo

  16. Jessup Says:

    David is averaging 1 TFL and 5.3 solo tackles per game himself. Not to shabby for a rook!

  17. raphael Says:

    Foster = manbeast…

    we will be sayin the same thing about Freeman ! patience…

  18. Architek Says:

    No sir you will not make this into a Freeman discussion. This is Mason’s time in the sun. Freeman will get his good or bad. Lets enjoy what good of a story or MLB has become and the beastly run defense.

  19. Have A Nice Day Says:

    I think calling him elite would be an injustice to the word. Foster has definitely been playing far better this season, but he is still struggling in coverage and still has lapses in run defense.

    He is definitely improved and one day he may be a top MLB, but that day is not today.

  20. Slpstk Says:

    There is also this at PFF 32 observation article.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Quarterbacks have a rating of just 50.2 when throwing at middle linebacker Mason Foster.

  21. 507 Bucs fan Says:

    He and Mccoy plus Lavonte plus Barron are the core for our future defense! Clayborn will be missed very very much!

  22. 928bucfan Says:

    good sh**! mason is just down rite beastin!

  23. Bob Says:

    Hey! was I the only one who watched giants game ????? Our d was pathiC run and pass!