Married To Mason Foster

May 11th, 2013

With all the personnel housecleaning done by the New Schiano Order, it’s interesting that Mason Foster has been granted the highest blessing by Greg Schiano.

Foster has absolutely no one competing with him for his middle linebacker job.

Entering his third season having just turned 24, the Bucs’ middle linebacker has shown flashes of greatness. But he’s essentially a solid, young guy lacking elite talent.

Schiano not only is a defense-first coach but was a linebacker during his college playing days, and he scrutinizes the position. So Foster must have gotten grades of the highest order last season. The Bucs have plenty of cash under the salary cap and are investing peanuts in their linebackers unit. Therefore, Joe believes no movement to push Foster represents a massive endorsement.

Schiano didn’t have to marry himself to Foster, a third-round pick in 2011, but he has.

Joe’s rather confident Foster can up his game another step. A second year in the Schiano defense and continued sound coaching — geez, Bucs coaches even helped take Quincy Black of Bucs fans’ hate lists — should make a difference.

37 Responses to “Married To Mason Foster”

  1. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I think he will get better and better at his position, as he gets more experience.

  2. Oldguy Says:

    Won’t the improved DL (2 back from injuries) and the greatly improved DB group, make the LB core look much better? My guess is yes. If these 3 groups all can coordinate, should be a smooth-operating overall D. Looking forward.

  3. Keith Says:

    Schiano LUVS competition … except at linebacker.

  4. TrueBlue Says:

    IIRC Lynch, Barber, Sapp, McCoy and a whole lot of others around the league had their breakout year in year 3.

  5. RCS Says:

    Fosters has elite talent and has shown such for someone who played outside his whole football career. Making the middle to the middle is no easy task esp when it’s in the NFL.

  6. 76buc76 Says:

    True enough, Black was having a good year befor the injury. I think the rookie Mean’s could line up at the Sam. Then become a Blitz happy LB. Of the 7000 LB blitz’s called last year only a couple got to the QB. Our existing LBer’s are not good at blitzing. Plus blitzing LBers is not the Buc way. Barron, Goldson,Bank’s will do the blitzing. But the D-line will dictate how much blitzing we will have to do. I don’t hold out much hope the D-line will get pressure.

  7. biff barker Says:

    Agree Foster has been a welcome addition with some ceiling left. Schiano knows he is both young and coachable too.
    I’d like to see his cover skills improve with more experience. Maybe some day he’ll be able to call the plays from Mike LB instead of David from WLB.

  8. BrianDorry55 Says:

    Oh I forgot Shelton Quarles was an “elite talent”…how many 4-3 middle linebackers are considered “elite talents”?

  9. andres Says:

    Again with a Quincy Black jab, Joe you have no shame.

  10. the_buc_realist Says:

    to summarize Joe article. Coach needs to get the most out of The Pop-stars poor draft picks

  11. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Newsflash: 90% of NFL players lack elite talent. The odds are that most teams will have anywhere from 2 to 5 players who are elite at their position. That’s just the way it is.

    The Bucs have their fair share of elite players in Jackson, Nicks, Joseph, McCoy, Martin, Revis and Goldson. With another year like his rookie year David will also be considered elite. Anyway, that leaves 46 guys on the 53-man roster who are not “elite”. Every team in the league is in a similar position.

    Saying that Foster lacks “elite talent” is really meaningless. He was a third round pick who was considered to have second round talent by most analysts. He was considered one of the best 4-3 SLB or MLB players in the 2011 draft. There were quite a few LB’s taken in front of him but many of those players were either pass rushers, 3-4 LB’s or 4-3 WLB’s.

    Anyway, I agree with Joe that Schiano and his staff will bring an already-solid Foster’s game up another notch to a level that while not elite will at least be among the top 10 or so 4-3 MLB’s in the league.

  12. Que589 Says:


    There were no linebackers in free agency or the draft that possessed a “rare and unique” skill set.

  13. stevek Says:

    LB + TE additions when the roster cut downs are made.

    Why not sign Urlacher at LB, and Maeoki at TE?

  14. Curmudgeon Says:

    Be realistic. They’re not going to sign Urlacher, for the same reason they’re not going to sign Abraham or Freeney. The MO for this team has not changed. They are not going to start paying a bunch of old guys with declining skills to come in and play fill-in for one year. The idea is so incredibly lame. They’re developing something to last for the long term. Mark it down. Remember it.

  15. 4everBucsFan Says:

    Married is a strong word. I would say cautiously committed is more like it. He has to continue to develop, or there will be future competition.

  16. Mike J Says:

    PFF thinks Mason had a pretty good 2012:

    Of course there are also those linebackers who didn’t give up much in coverage. Take Mason Foster, for example. The Tampa Bay Buccaneer hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, but you can’t fault how many first downs and touchdowns he gave up. His total number was just seven, or 2.13% of his snaps in coverage.

    Craig Robertson, Mason Foster, James Anderson, Akeem Dent, and to some degree, Brandon Spikes also played in two-down roles. It’s a good idea to not read too much into their tackle frequencies. Snaps are still the name of the game, so we want to focus our attention on every-down linebackers. Foster could sneak into this group. Of these five, he’s the name to keep your eye on.

    Foster didn’t wear down nearly as bad last season as he did in 2011.

  17. john Says:

    Being a Bama fan from birth I said it at the time and i will say it again.
    I would have drafted Luke Keackly instead of Baron. This was the deepest saftey draft in 20 years. After watching every game baron played at Bama (roll tide!!!) he is good not great. Imagine Luke and Lavonte bro.

  18. Pete 422 Says:

    @76 bucs76: I heard that Means will be a DE, not a LB. have you heard of them considering him for playing SAM? I’d be interesting to see him compete for that spot. Even if the Bucs say he isn’t laying LB, they are open minded enough to consider it.

    I’ve always like Dakota Watson. He makes plays when he is out there, so I’d like to see him at SAM full time to see how he does. he is good at pass rushing.

  19. john Says:

    ps foster is almost average on coverage.

  20. Mike J Says:

    ”Your comment is awaiting moderation. ” Why is this, Joe? Links??

  21. Joe Says:

    Mike J:

    ”Your comment is awaiting moderation. ” Why is this, Joe? Links??

    Adding links sets off Joe’s spam detector.

  22. MadMax Says:

    I do wish we could sign Urlacher…he would be a veteran asset…and cheap. Use him as depth. And he may be able to teach our guys a thing or two, even if its just for 1 year.

  23. PRBucFan Says:

    Two words

    Lavonte David

    I think this guy is going to be a superstar for years to come.
    I think he’ll really break out this year.

    P.S. thanks for that article on the LB’s very interesting.

    2 out of 3 LB’s in the top 30, nice 🙂

  24. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Joe said it himself. Foster was playing at a pro bowler level early in the season. He has no where to go but up with the massive upgrades in the secondary. Not to mention a really good defensive line in front of him.

    If this line stays healthy it will absolutely wreak havoc. The talent is certainly there. As long as all the newcomers (and guys coming back from IR) don’t take too long to gel then this D will be dominate.

    With all of the new guys in Goldson, Revis, Banks, Clayborn (IR), and whoever our SLB ends up as; I don’t think we will see this defense hit full stride until mid season. Hopefully the offense has progressed enough to carry the team until the D gels.

    Oh yes, and Lavonte is a BEAST.

  25. Buddha Says:

    Elie….Must everybody be elite. It seems as if most fans believe either a guy is elite or he’s trash. The word elite is thrown around as if it were normal. We didn’t have an elite Middle linebacker in the super bowl years. We had solid players. That’s what Mason Foster is, a solid player. Right now, we have as many elite players as just about any other team; the question is do we have an elite TEAM?

  26. Andrew 1 Says:

    I like Foster and he does a good job at doing what Shciano asks him to do, hence the reason why he’s safe at his position. My only gripe with him is that he does not have the speed to get sideline to sideline like all great MLB have, so in this case you are right Joe hes is not elite. However, I think at this point he is a solid LB and I think over the next couple of years he can become darn near close to elite.

  27. Andrew 1 Says:

    he is more than worthy of being our starting MLB.

  28. BKNYfootballhead Says:

    @the buc realist
    “to summarize Joe article. Coach needs to get the most out of The Pop-stars poor draft picks”

    To summarize your idiocy, Joe doesn’t even mention multiple draft picks by Dominik, so how is your comment summarizing the article? There is just one reason you’re a major tool.

    Second, Dominik didn’t even draft Quincy Black. Learn how many years Dom has been a GM before you continue to comment as if Bruce Allen was never his predecessor. Just yesterday you mention “5 years of Pop Star’s picks”; so that easily doubles your tool-ness.

    Third, you think calling Dominik a Pop Star is so clever, you use it in absolutely every single comment you post. That triples your….

    Just try having your Corn Flakes with milk for once.

  29. WestCoastBucsFan Says:


    You shouldn’t feed him.

    His adolescent comments are obvious cries for attention. There is nothing to them. His comment literally requires zero thought. In an article about Schiano’s trust in Foster he just has to bring up Dom. He hates him so much but he can’t keep Dom out of his mouth.

    Its pathetic really.

  30. BigMacAttack Says:

    I’m hoping for 1 guy to be Elite this season, and it’s Josh Freeman. Most of the others can hold ther own, but if Josh reaches elite status, the Bucs will destroy teams.

    Come on #5!!!

  31. Mike J Says:

    john, I agree. Luke was a tackling machine at B.C.; like David, if you watched him, his instincts jumped off the screen at you.But I think Mark will improve a lot this year, w/ a season under his belt, & better coaching.

  32. Mike J Says:

    Buddha, good point. I wonder how many of those 70s Steelers players would have made the Hall on anotherclub?? But they composed a great team, & benefited from the play of the guys around them.& the league’s history is replete w/ elite guys who never won a championship, or sometimes a play-off game, because the TEAM was bad.

  33. Dooleymite:E-Tornado Says:

    Mason Foster just needs to continue devloping as a MLB, he’s got the talent, I just think it’s a matter of his skills set getting acclaimated to the position change. Foster’s signature game was @NYG, where he made a handful of splash plays and introduced the world to his nature boy impression.

  34. biff barker Says:

    Bring in Urlacher’s corpse for one year in favor of developing a solid young MLB?
    We are building a defense for the long haul!
    Joe needs more than a spam filter. Some of you twits know nothing at all, zilch, nada about football.

  35. 76buc76 Says:

    I’d rather have David than Keikly. Luke is weak at the point of contact. But he is great in coverage. David scored pretty well in coverage but I’d give the edge to Luke. Vs the run however David is more aggresive. He bust’s thru the line and get’s in the back field. Luke wait’s for the ball carrier a couple yard’s down field. Then he get’s overpowered and blasted back a couple yard’s. We thought Ruud was a tackling machine,only to find out that everyone ran at him. For the couple yard’s he gave up everytime.

  36. Curmudgeon Says:

    apostrophes are used for possessive, not plural…

  37. Brandon Says:

    Najee Goode was drafted with the intention of pushing Foster. Hopefully, after a season watching and waiting, he will provide the competition that Foster needs.

    Personally, I feel Foster is seriously lacking as a pass defender. Goode runs a tad better than Foster, was brought in by Schiano, and has roughly the same size as Foster, so it is quite possible that Goode could push for that spot in time.