Mason Foster And Middle Linebacker

February 21st, 2013

Joe wrote many times last year that he thought Mason Foster, the biggest Ric Flair fan in the Bucs locker room, played at or close to Pro Bowl level early in theseason. Joe even told Foster Joe thought he would be eating pineapple in January.

But that didn’t happen. Foster’s play slid toward the end of the season, and Joe doesn’t think it was a coincidence Foster’s play declined when Quincy Black went down with nerve damage. Most Bucs fans know the Bucs may have their eyes on an outside linebacker with the likelihood that Black cannot return. Earlier this year, Bucs coach Greg Schiano noted that the Bucs, on behalf of Black and his doctors, were consulting with doctors from Europe, which demonstrated the seriousness of Black’s injury.

Foster, a former outside linebacker at Washington, might be revisiting his old position.

Monitoring outside linebackers, however, may be too narrow of a focus, Woody Cummings believes. The Bucs beat writer from the Tampa Tribune thinks Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik just may draft a middle linebacker and move Foster to the outside, Cummings Twittered this morning.

@RCummingsTBO: Something to consider is possibility Bucs will draft or sign a free agent MLB and move Mason Foster to SLB as replacement for Quincy Black

When Foster was a rookie he played, and looked like, he was simply overwhelmed at the NFL level. At the time, Joe was screaming for the Bucs to move him back to the outside. But Dominik’s hunch was right. Foster could — and did — play well at middle linebacker (got some coaching for a change last year), though he could brush up a bit on pass coverage.

As well as the Bucs played against the run last year, Joe would hesitate to do too much tinkering moving players around. The fact Foster played so much outside linebacker in college may just give Dominik flexibility in order to fill Black’s void.

14 Responses to “Mason Foster And Middle Linebacker”

  1. Terraj Says:

    Sorry Joe I gotta agree with Cummings on this one. Foster has done a pretty good at MLB because hes such a hard worker and prepares himself well, but to fulfill his true potential I think his play fits better at OLB. Put Foster and David on the outside and draft a true MLB. It’d give us speed, youth, and most importantly in Schiano’s system, hard working linebackers. Were good for the next 5 years.

  2. tcaviar Says:


  3. Justin P's Dwindling Radio "career" Says:

    If Ogletree is there in Rd. #2. …do you take him. Sick Talent!

  4. Thibs5599 Says:

    What about the Green kid from Rutgers. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Schiano draft some of his old players.

  5. Justin P's Dwindling Radio "career" Says:

    Would love Khaseem Greene too….just like Lavonte David. Olgetree is a little more talented though

  6. Sneedy16 Says:

    The Bucs has a better chance in drafting Kessem Green than Ogletree. Ogletree is a late 1st early second. The bucs will have to give up a pick to get him while Green will most likely be there when the Bucs pick in the second.

  7. Andrew 1 Says:

    WOOHOO! I have been screaming about this since Foster was drafted 2 years ago that he is not a MLB and that he needs to move to the OLB position. nothing agianst Foster because he filled in admirable in the middle, but from watching his college game film when I got excited that we drafted him was that he could not get sideline to sideline, something that all great middle linebackers are expected to do. Therefore it would be wise to limit his resopsobilities to 1/3 of the field, ala the strongsid

  8. Andrew 1 Says:

    ala the strongside linebacker position. When he played strongside linebacker in college, we was an absolute monster because he has the strength to hold down the line on that side of the field. Im telling you if this kid moves to the SOLB position he is going to shine.

  9. BadNewsBucs Says:

    Mason in the Middle and Khaseem Greene in the draft. Cummings is wrong we’ve got Heyward, Watson, & Goode who can all fill in at SLB which doesn’t play the majority of defensive snaps in Schiano’s D anyway. Ogletree just ruined his chance at being a BucMan & Khaseem Greene is just s good as Te’o but alot more athletic.

  10. Dave Says:

    ILB or OLB… to me it all depends on what Free Agent they can target. I would not bring in a really old MLB and transplant Forster for 1-2 years only to move him again later.

    I think they need to keep him in the middle or make the decision right now to move him and then keep him there, but it all depends first on who they think they can get.

  11. Brandon Says:

    Keep your eyes on Khasseem Greene of Rutgers. Ogletree probably isn’t more talented, Greene was a safety until two years ago and all he has done since then is win Big East defensive players of the year honors two years straight. The guy is a stud athlete, a hard worker, and a kamikaze to the ball. Also, unlike Greene, he’s never been suspended or arrested. Greene > Ogletree.

  12. Fatmosh Says:

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    We don’t need another LB. We play, on average, about 2 LBs per play.

    If you upgrade the MLB/SLB position, you’re basically saying that you are more concerned about your MLB/SLB than you are about your third corner.

    I don’t know about you, but I have more confidence in Adam Hayward and/or Dakota Watson than I do in our FIRST corner.

    Wasting a first (or second) round pick on a LB would be idiotic.

    We need at least two corners, a tight end, a safety, a slot receiver, and a right tackle before we should be thinking about upgrading our LBs.

  13. BrianDorry55 Says:

    What “Fatmosh” said…

    Moving Foster to strong side would be a waste of a talented player…Quincy Black was playing under 20 snaps a game before he was injured. Foster played great last season and was much better in coverage than most want to give him credit for. Everyone assumes Foster should be as good in coverage as Quarles and Ruud were…wake up people…we don’t play a Tampa 2 any more! It’s not Foster’s first priority to get back in the deep middle…clearly his first priority is to stop the run…so he has to hesitate longer before he can start getting back in coverage. They’re not gonna move him.

  14. teacherman777 Says:

    Imagine this.

    Nickel package.

    LaVonte David and Khaseeme Greene on the field.

    Mark Barron near the box.

    These three guys are all FAST and great tacklers.

    With the option read becoming so popular,

    the LB position needs to evolve!!

    Fast LB’s that can cover are going to be the future.

    Greene was a SS. Barron is basically as LB. And David is really small, but fast.

    I love the idea of these 3 guys on the field in Nickel.

    The most important formation in football now.

    If Khaseeme Greene is there? We need to take him.

    He’s just too good to pass up.