Mason Foster Becoming Marked Man

December 13th, 2013

Mason Foster is now in his third season at middle linebacker and Joe’s of the mind this has been his best season to date.

Foster was selected in the 2011 draft and, quite simply, Joe thought he was overwhelmed as he was an outside linebacker in college. That season, which saw then-coach Raheem Morris jettisoned, the Bucs arguably had the worst linebacking unit in the NFL.

Last year, probably because of coaching from former front-7 coach Bryan Cox, Foster looked to be making an early push for a Pro Bowl berth but faded down the stretch — as the Bucs fades themselves on the cusp of a playoff berth.

This season Foster has not faded. He has become a force with the Bucs, though not to the level of stud Lavonte David (who the hell is?). Foster has become such a good player that Bucs defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan thinks opposing offenses game plan against Foster, who Sheridan refers to as “Mase.”

“There’s no doubt, Mason plays the MIKE linebacker and there isn’t a down in football, especially in the running game, where they’re not going to have a guy assigned to block the MIKE,” Sheridan said. “Lavonte plays behind Gerald and so there’s no doubt he is protected a little bit more in the run game and more likely to just be able to run and scrape and make tackles, where ‘Mase’ lines up to what we call the bubble – the uncovered guard – so he’s going to get blocked every single down. Not taking anything away from Lavonte, because he’s had an outstanding year and plays well week in and week out, but there’s a lot of plays he makes where he’s not being blocked, he’s running down the ball carrier. Where Mase doesn’t get that opportunity as much because they’re assigning either a full back, or a guard, or a gap-scheme blocker to come up and block him so, yeah, there’s no doubt, Mase is in a more of a block take on position than Lavonte is.”

That is pretty high praise to hear that Foster often makes plays, but has to go around and through people to make many of those plays.

Like many Bucs, though he has a warm, outgoing personality, Foster, a huge Ric Flair fan, doesn’t like to talk about himself. Rather, he prefers to talk about the linebackers and the defense as a whole. Getting Foster to talk about himself is a chore.

This week is important to Foster, who grew up on San Francisco and has family members that are diehard 49ers fans. In a word, one could say Foster is, well, excited.

“It is exciting,” Foster said. “But every game is exciting. Any chance you get to play a great team like [the 49ers] and a great quarterback, and a lot of great players, it is exciting.

“My grandma and my grandpa are big Niners fans. So I know they are excited.

“I will take any win. Everybody is going to be watching to see how the Bucs to see how they are going to do against an elite team. I’m excited. It’s going to be a big-time game.”

Now in Joe’s eyes, this game is a very, very bad match-up for the Bucs. Throw in the fact the 49ers are still fighting for a playoff berth, it adds that much pressure on the Bucs to stop them.

But here’s a nugget for Bucs fans of the glass-is-half-full crowd: The Bucs took the 49ers’ bitter NFC West rivals, the Seahawks, to overtime in their own crib. Last week the 49ers nipped the Seahawks in a slugfest at Candlestick Park.

12 Responses to “Mason Foster Becoming Marked Man”

  1. Macabee Says:

    I like “Mase” as he’s called by coaches and teammates. He has really come on this year and has a real love for the game. He’s not content to get an INT, Mase is trying to take it to the house. He’s having fun out there as he does his Ric Flair dance after a good play. Fun fact: He grew up in the same community of Seaside, CA as did Herm Edwards.

  2. bigpoppabuc Says:

    Foster is no doubt, a buccaneer man. Keeps getting better and plays with passion. We’ve got two, young studs at LB. With G Mac in front of them…not too shabby for a foundation through the draft.

  3. WalkdaPlank Says:

    Mason Foster is a likeable guy. Coming from Washington (the state), playing outstanding MLB despite playing OLB in college, and plus he’s got those short dreads, not the long ones that make some players look goofy, like E.J Biggers lol. Plus I hear is good at returning INT’s.

  4. mike norris Says:

    good to hear. Sounds like this D is one stud DE and a better scheme away from being top 5.

  5. Cmurda Says:

    The one aspect of this team that has me excited is the maturity of our defense. I can see the team starting to feel good about itself on defense. If this defense can dominate like its capable of doing, the whole culture could change. L David, M Foster are locking down the LB and once we can get this D Line storming, we will have it all. Next year, we should be a far better team.

  6. Bobby Says:

    How is this a bad matchup? It comes down to a battle of the defenses and they match up pretty equal in my opinion.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Mason Foster keeps getting better and better…..Nobody will be able to match LVD….If we have a shot…we should draft Khalil Mack…..that will solidify our defense….with the continued development of Bank, Spence and Gholston…..Tampa Bay will have a top 5 defense next year…
    Mack just might be there when we pick….

  8. John Says:

    He is no quite average at any phase of his game

  9. Bobby Says:


  10. Bobby Says:

    If he ‘no’ quite average what he ‘yes’ at?

  11. BigMacAttack Says:

    Mason Storm

  12. Brandon Says:

    Bad match-up? I’ve been rooting for draft position and coach cleansing since week 4, and this game scares me. 49ers fresh off tough emotional win vs. Seahawks, come all the way cross country to play a 1:00 game on the road, against one of the toughest D’s against the run, which the 49ers HAVE to be able to do with their 31st ranked passing O. The only aspect of the game the 49ers match-up well with us is when the Bucs are on offense against the 49ers tough D. Maybe the 49ers pull off 17 points and win, but I think this is a terrible match-up for them.