Lovie’s Linebacker Prototype

March 27th, 2014

Lovie had high praise for his new LB

Thinking of trying out for the Bucs at linebacker? Lovie Smith has spelled out the attributes you need.

In response to Joe questioning him about newly acquired Dane Fletcher yesterday, Lovie laid out his linebacker blueprint and hinted that Fletcher could challenge Mason Foster.

“If you look at all our linebackers, there is a prototype: athletic, can run. You know, they don’t have to be 250 pounds. We’re not looking for those iso linebackers. We want guys that can play in space, that have agility that can do a lot of things,” Lovie said. 

“Dane has rushed, of course. He’ll probably be lining up at the middle linebacker position for us. He’s been a good special teams player. But if we’re getting that type of athlete at the position, at all of our linebacker positions, we should be getting excellent special teams also. Because our “Mike” and our “Will” [linebackers] won’t play a lot of special teams. But [linebackers] No. 3 through 6, you know each Sunday will play a big role in special teams also.”

Asked about competition at middle linebacker Lovie explained that free agents like Fletcher, who was plucked from the Patriots, always want to know what their shot is at a starting job. “So Dane looked at it, and he felt comfortable coming here,” Lovie said.

No surprise, given that the Bucs signed him, but Lovie seemed thoroughly satisfied with his new linebacker signing. “I know when he came here we liked everything that he brought, smart guy that should bring a lot to the table,” Lovie said of Fletcher.

Now Joe doesn’t mean to overhype Fletcher at all. He’s a special teams ace that has limited linebacker experience. But his presence combined with Lovie’s comments are noteworthy. Foster, who is in the final year of his contract, has never had any competition for his job since he was handpicked to replace Barrett Ruud.  

20 Responses to “Lovie’s Linebacker Prototype”

  1. Bucsfanman Says:

    Competition and depth, you gotta have it.

  2. SAMCRO Says:

    What a good problem to have. Either way we know what Foster can contribute and his future potential. If Fletcher is on the same level or even better this will give us our depth that we were lacking.

  3. theDON Says:

    very interesting comment about Dane feeling Comfortable coming here, on the premise of competition.

  4. BirdDoggers Says:

    Part of the quote stated Fletcher would “probably be lining up at the middle linebacker position for us”. Was this in reference to competing for the middle linebacker spot or was Lovie essentially saying he’s the starter? Hmm. Foster might not have the range Lovie is looking for.

  5. Yar Says:

    That’s why I say CJ Mosley if they can’t get Clowney. Clowney at all cost!

  6. Waterboy Says:

    “if we’re getting that type of athlete at the position, at all of our linebacker positions, we should be getting excellent special teams also. Because our “Mike” and our “Will” [linebackers] won’t play a lot of special teams.”

    That quote says to me that he was brought as depth and to play special teams.

  7. SSG MIKE Says:

    True Competition at key positions is what we have been missing since the beginning of the Raheem days started. Chucky had favorites, as I think pretty much all coaches do, but there was still healthy competition.

  8. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    With the moves Tampa has made in free agency this year, they could eaily trade the kitchen sink to ove up and get Clowny.

  9. bigpoppabuc Says:

    Spot on bucsfanman.

  10. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    These are the types of signings that make Dominik & Schiano look like amateurs. So glad we have a group of true professionals running the show now.

    As for trading up for Clowney…NO to any Ricky Williams/Mike Ditka style trades for the Bucs. No freaking way. As a fan I don’t even have to worry about that, either, because Lovie & Licht aren’t boneheaded enough to make such a desperation move. Thankfully.

  11. Bobby M. Says:

    ” Foster, who is in the final year of his contract, has never had any competition for his job since he was handpicked to replace Barrett Ruud.”

    Do you notice a trend with Licht’s approach to building a team vs Dominiks? Name one spot that really ever had any competition.

  12. BFFL Says:

    This is a bad year to find a middle LB. I hope Lovie can teach the guy how to cover because he has been terrible at that.

  13. Buc the Haters Says:

    Imo, clowney would be a waste of a pick. I think Gholston can be as good as clowney. We need WR, OL, & maybe a QB. Other than that, some depth at a few spots and we’re good to go (to the superbowl lol).

  14. jvato24 Says:

    Font let this article fool you, he also had high praise for Mason Foster

  15. teacherman Says:

    Mason is too slow in coverage.

    He needs to become our SAM backer.

  16. Quick66 Says:

    Foster can’t cover the deep middle so his days in the middle are essentially over

  17. owlykat Says:

    Teacherman is right. Foster needs to be moved to SAM LB where he played in college and excelled. There is no way they can teach Foster to cover the passing lane well enough for Tampa Two, which requires a lot more depth down the field and Foster could not cover the lesser area he had to cover on passes last year. His backup was perfect for Cover Two–Najee Goode, but Stupid Shiano cut him. However, we are in luck, the tall MLB from Michigan State (which I misread his size but he is 6’3″), Max Bullough, is a tackling machine with great instincts, and can make plays sideline to sideline, and shows good instincts in zone coverage for pass coverage too. He crushed the RB for Ohio State when they beat them this year! We need to take Max, start him at MLB and still have Fletcher as his trained backup (but which will free him up to also play Special Teams where we are counting on him to lead our Special Teams this year. Normally, Tampa Two gives up too much running yardage even back in our best years (and Indianapolis did too under Frasier). With Max in the middle you won’t have that problem just like Lovie didn’t either with tall Urlacher there. Get Max! Move Foster to SAM!

  18. MR.T Says:

    I doubt they brought Dane in to just be a special teams leader, if NE was comfortable with him coming in to play MLB if an injury hit the No. 1 player then I’m sure he will be competing for the starting job here and if he can pass cover better than Foster he could very well win it.

  19. 55 Bucfan Says:

    Dane Fletcher= Barrett Ruud.
    Exactly the type of Linebacker needed for the Tampa 2

  20. PRBucFan Says:

    “Smith said he’s convinced Mason Foster can cover deep middle in Cover 2, cover in man, and blitz. He will blitz him a lot.”