Lovie Loves Lean

June 2nd, 2014

Hardy Nickerson dominated at middle linebacker in the old Tampa-2 at 230 pounds. Mason Foster is almost there. Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Updated 5:56 p.m. Five years ago, the new Bucs regime promptly grabbed its defensive troops and told them to fatten up in a hurry.

Stuff your face and hit the weights! The Jim Bates system demands it!

Guys like Roy Miller, Kyle Moore and others will tell you their rapid weight gain seriously hurt their careers. No wonder Moore was snoozing. Perhaps it was all the extra turkey and beef?

They even had glass-armed Jermaine Phillips fattening up to replace Derrick Brooks.

Lovie Smith is just the opposite. He wants athletes — all over the field. Lovie doesn’t care much about scales. He wants speed and talent, and he celebrates height.

Joe already reported Mason Foster’s 10-pound weight loss and new speed focus, and that’s why Joe got permission from the Bucs to use the recent practice photo above. It’s an excellent illustration of how lean Foster has become.

Hardy Nickerson played at 6-2, 230 pounds as a nasty, bone-rattling intimidator in the glory days Bucs defense. And it looks like Foster will have the same measurements come opening day.

The Bucs’ front-7 is going to be nasty fast and should hunt the football — and quarterbacks — like Bucs fans haven’t seen in years.

(Another image here of Foster. Dude looks like a wide receiver.)

21 Responses to “Lovie Loves Lean”

  1. Captain Stagger Says:

    I laugh when people question Foster.

  2. Sneedy16 Says:

    The increase speed and athletic ability should help Foster in the pass coverage. It might hurt his point of attack during the run though, since he might lose a little strength. We will see how it works out.

  3. Brandon Says:

    Captain Stagger Says:
    June 2nd, 2014 at 11:16 am
    I laugh when people question Foster.


    You must be a pretty happy person then. Hopefully, the weight loss will allow Foster to be able to show more straight-line speed and agility in coverage, because he is weak in both of those areas.

  4. Architek Says:

    Foster was never asked to cover and protect against the past, Schiano crappy system asked from him to play close the the LOS and react instead cover or blitz.

  5. SAMCRO Says:

    They should be motivated, without all the distractions associated with last year’s debacle between Freemangate, Schianogate, MRSAgate, and Revisgate, etc…etc….. If these guys can really adapt to the cover 2 concept, I’m with JOE about our front seven.

  6. bigpoppabuc Says:

    This defense is going to bring life back to RJS….and we’re gonna party like it’s 1999.

  7. Buc1987 Says:

    bigpoppabuc ….well said.

  8. Couch Fan Says:

    He looks like a completely different LBer in that pic. Wow. And bigpoppabuc, I rather party like its 2003 😉

  9. bucsQcCity Says:

    I like Foster. He and LVD have good chemistry. Don’t fix something that ain’t broken.

    If Casillas can up its game a level or two, I think we get a top 5 LB squad in the NFL.

  10. Macabee Says:

    I heard of a guy named Jack Sprat who pretty much felt the same way. That guy is loved and remembered by children all over the world. So lovie may be on to something!

    There is nothing that is going to keep me from enjoying this season. Feel me?

  11. Theodore Says:

    The Jim Bates disaster isn’t complained about enough. Whatever his “quarters” scheme was, it meant nothing but WR TDs.

  12. WobbleBuc Says:

    Damn Foster looks lean, this is going to be an exciting defense this year.

  13. unbelievable Says:

    I would like to know if Lovie or the coaching staff has these guys on any sort of specialized nutrition regimen. Chip Kelly has done something like this with the Eagles, and they had very few injuries last year, which says something considering how many more offensive plays they ran compared to other teams.

  14. BucsfaninChina Says:

    Man, I really hope Foster gives them a season where L&L have no choice but to resign him. He has a great presence on the field – Ric Flair has a soft spot in my heart, he has been healthy and durable, is on his THIRD coaching staff and even with Raheem as head coach he wasnt horrendous, and he is a big time run stopper. We will see what the change in body mass will do to his game, but Foster is clearly one of the more underrated players on the Bucs.

  15. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    God the more I see those helmets the more I love them……

  16. BoJim Says:

    Always liked him. Always will.

  17. John23 Says:

    So happy I could cry

  18. Harry Says:

    Very excited about the D. Hope the O comes close to being decent

  19. William Says:

    New system. New coaches. New opportunities for players. We should see improvements on our older players. Hardy will take the linebackers to new understandings of the position and to execute at a high performance under our defensive scheme.

  20. Buc1987 Says:

    “There is nothing that is going to keep me from enjoying this season. Feel me?”

    Macabee…since no one replied. I feel it too. I’m excited for this season even more than I was prior to last season. I’m excited for ANYTHING Bucs right now. The o-line is a little suspect, so I hope they touch that up a little bit more. If not, then it might have to wait until next season.

    Either way. Our team is on the mend Bucs fans. Don’t expect great things right away, first season. I see that some of you do. What I expect is a much improved team on both sides of the ball and special teams. A good solid team. The defense should be pretty decent. The offense. Who knows? They have weapons, but who knows right now? Do you or anyone else? I doubt it. That’s why it’s too early to make any crazy W-L predictions. I want to, but I won’t. I have no clue. Tedford is the missing link here. Until we see ( all of us ) what the offense will look like we have no clue and that’s part of what has me excited for the season.

  21. owlykat Says:

    Don’t you remember when Freeman slimmed down to get faster, but that made him easier to sack than when he was 250 pounds and he could no longer do a QB sneak, add to that Schiano wanted him gone to promote his pet rookie QB, and Freeman got depressed and hit the bottle and his career is gone now. Foster will not get quick enough to cover deep down the middle and in the first game will be exploited up the middle by Charlotte’s big backs and will lose his job to his 245 pound backup. Lovie should have moved him to SLB and taken mad Max at 260 pounds who is a clone of Urlacher!