Why The Angst Over Mason Foster?

July 29th, 2014
Bucs MLB Mason Foster is secure in his starting job.

Mason Foster is secure in his starting job

Sometimes Joe doesn’t get Bucs fans. There is a sect of Tampa Bay faithful out there who, for some reason, want middle linebacker Mason Foster gone.

Joe just cannot wrap his brain around this mentality. Why? Is Foster Jack Lambert, Dick Butkus, Ray Lewis? No. But he’s no Barrett Ruud, either.

(Joe felt somewhat sorry for Ruud. He did what his coaches wanted him to do, and fans despised him for this. Ruud often graded out well if not close to perfect when his coaches broke down film. Bucs fans wanted Ruud to spit in his coaches’ faces and freelance. Ruud’s greatest offense was when it came to hitting, he was soft as a kitten, which made Bucs fans want to throw beers at their TVs.)

Maybe it was Foster’s poor rookie season where he was basically hung out to dry that some Bucs fans can’t get over? (Though he did lead all rookies in tackles) He was learning a new position at the NFL level, never a good thing for a rookie, and had absolutely zero help around him from Geno Hayes and the then-grossly under-performing Quincy Black.

The level of irritation Joe receives on Twitter about Foster depresses Joe. Foster, who Joe thinks at times was a step away from eating pineapple, isn’t going anywhere soon. Think not? Let’s do the math, shall we?

When Lovie wants to replace a player, he makes no secrets about it. Where Lovie wanted change at a position, he either went out and signed high-priced players in free agency, or selected players high in the draft. Lovie did not throw sacks of cash at any middle linebacker and did not draft one. That should say it all.

For Bucs fans still thinking Foster is on the ropes, consider Lovie added defensive playcalling to Foster’s responsibilities. Would Lovie grant that to a player he wanted to run off the team or didn’t trust? Of course not!

The sect of Bucs fans who want Foster gone for reasons that flummox Joe, better buckle up. He’s here to stay, at least for the short term.

48 Responses to “Why The Angst Over Mason Foster?”

  1. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    My angst over Mason Foster is the thought that we could have Luke Kuechly next to Lavonte David right now. Instead we have a so-so safety in Mark Barron

    So it’s nothing against Mason, but the thought of that LB corp fills my banana hammock

  2. Mort Says:

    Who is to say if Carolina hadn’t got Kuechly that they wouldn’t have traded up for David? You don’t know that and any conjecture stating that is at best a guess in the wind.

    Though it would’ve been nice, I’ll still take foster. He is a good player.

  3. INDYbucsfan Says:

    It gives you a boner?

  4. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    I thought Lovie did bring in a free agent middle linebacker in case if Mason cannot not handle play calling and pass coverage. I know Joe thought that Mason was close to eating pineapple, but Joe also thought that the roster was good last year. Both have been exposed, that is why the roster will see 40 new faces this year.

    And now Lovie will sit back and see who can play, and if you cannot, you will be replaced!!!

  5. Tampabaybucsfan Says:

    I hope it’s not because he is a “MF”

  6. nate Says:

    Hes just not elite thats all.. joe how is connor barth andthe kicking game been?

  7. Jeffbuc Says:

    No middle linebacker to ever play the game can always stop graham or Gonzalez running Seam routes down the middle of the field. He is going to give up some plays to tight ends these guys are 6″6 and run 4.6. But he does a good job of stopping the run and filling holes and has good instincts in the passing game. A lot of the catches he is right there with them there height just can’t be matched. He will be fine like joe said they gave him the play calling duties. Luecky is overrated makes a lot of tackles but look where they are 6-10 yards down field. He isn’t in the top ten in no run stopping or plays behind the line of scrimmage. You guys just see stats and think he is good. David is one and 2 in all run stopping and tfl stats. Barrett Rudd made a lot of tackes but same as Luke 10 yards down field gets ran over in the hole up the middle

  8. Harry Says:

    I like Foster, I don’t get what the problem is. Wishing for a player “we could have had” is a bit silly. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. You know how many teams wish they would have drafted LD? 31

  9. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    You hurt Dane Fletcher’s feeling. That’s right, it’s singular.

  10. jimmy Says:

    “My angst over Mason Foster is the thought that we could have Luke Kuechly next to Lavonte David right now. Instead we have a so-so safety in Mark Barron.”

    Maybe the most ignorant thing I’ve read on Joe’s site.

    Who else didn’t the Bucs draft that you wanted and now hope the Bucs player in the same position to fail?

    Go take your Luke Kuechly blowup doll back to Charlotte and cheer for the Panthers you a-hole!

  11. Bob Digital Says:

    Foster hate comes only from those who are grossly misinformed or just plain ignorant. Dude has gotten better each season, and I expect him to continue the trend this season.

  12. BamBamBuc Says:

    No, Harry. Many teams run a 3-4 and David is truly suited for the 4-3 scheme. Too small for a 3-4 LB. Many teams regret not getting David, but many also had no spot for him in their scheme.

  13. Kurius Boy Says:

    Stop it, and let Mason Foster be. He’s way better player then Ruud was for us, and it’s not too many middle linebackers, if not any who can guard the best TE’s 1 on 1 all day. He’s a young player whose still getting better eventhough he’s already pretty good. I see another good season for him with better coaching, and system.

  14. knucknbuc Says:

    Because some fans are dumb and don’t watch the game Joe. Just watch stats or play fantasy football to see who is good and who they deem isn’t. Or some just expect all pros at every position which is never going to happen. Mason is a good player and has been good the past 3 or so years. I compare him to a guy like London Fletcher or Stephen tulloch they won’t get their due respect until the team starts winning.

  15. BirdDoggers Says:

    Foster has been a good LB. I think he’ll take it to the next level in Lovie’s defense.

  16. OB Says:


    Some people are never happy and always want something else they think is better. It wasn’t too long ago folks were saying we should have traded up for Suh because GMC was a bust or when number 55 came on board he was too small to be any good or Sapp was always in trouble. They are never satisfied.

    LBs get better with a few years in the NFL if they are any good, just think of LVD getting his second year under his belt with Mr Foster also being comfortable with LVD at his side. We have all seen what crappy DBs do to a team, they lose big time nowadays. So I am glad that Mark and the Hawk are back there along with Banks and , I can’t spell his name so I will call him AV, AV. I want 11 people working as a team not 11 primadonnas doing their own thing. With the coaches the defense has and what eveyone is saying about what they are learning, I can’t wait to see the first game of any kind.

  17. Espo Says:

    The Ric Flair of linebackers!

  18. Back, From Davie Jones locker Says:

    Gotta agree with you on Barrett Ruud. I thought he was a perfect fit for the Tampa 2.

    Which brings up my only issue with Foster. If we are playing the Tampa 2, then your middle Linebacker is more pass coverage, than run stopping.
    Foster would be better suited at Strong side Linebacker- and our new guy Dane playing short center field.
    That is based solely on my observations over the past few years.

    But if Lovie believes that Foster can play zone coverage well enough, then I will trust his opinion

  19. biff barker Says:

    The perception is Foster is more of a brawling gap stuffer than a finesse cover guy. The newfound fear is that the T2 places extraordinary demands on the Mike LB both, run stuffing and the covering the deep seam.

    Not so much the player, more the fit for the scheme.

  20. Larry Says:

    I still want Johnny Football. Let’s change the subject off MF and back to JF.

  21. Buccfan37 Says:

    Two thumbs up for Mason Foster from this vantage point.

  22. NJBucsFan Says:

    I look forward to seeing what Mason Foster can do. He’s a good linebacker and could end up being borderline probowler for a few years.

  23. Brandon Says:

    My problem with Foster is that he is not nearly athletic enough to be an elite T-2 LB. T-2 front 7’s are built on speed, athleticism, and smarts. Foster is smart, he’s an okay athlete, but a big liability in coverage. He’s not a great fit for the T-2. I don’t hate Foster, I just think we can do much better. He reminds me of the Jamie Duncan experiment. Decent size, decent smarts, not very athletic. Duncan was definitely faster than Foster, he just struggled in his pass drops, just like Foster.

  24. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    Am I on double secret probation?

    My posts are not showing up, or they show up an hour after I post them.

  25. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Lovie decided to go with Foster…..sink or swim (calling plays)…..I suspect Lovie believes he can swim!!!
    We can’t have 100S% elite atheletes at every position…but the key, to me, is to have every position filled and as many backups with good solid players that are improving…..that is Mason Foster….

  26. Eastsidebuc Says:

    Linebacker is the absolute least of my worries. Fan dogging Mase just don’t know the game.

  27. Lou. Says:

    I have been down on Foster — not as a hater, just because it was obvious he was overshadowed by other players. Joe’s article a few months ago about how the scheme of last year’s defense required Foster to take on blockers so LD could run free was a WTF???? moment — I have heard of the DL absorbing blockers to keep the LBs clean, but who ever heard of such a role for the Mike?

    Perhaps that was just another odd tic of the old regime’s defense.

    Also, the Mike in a Cover-2 is a standout position and has to be very good at the least. My private hope was that Shazier from Ohio State might land here, especially if we traded down.

    That said, I defer to L&L. If they think Foster has what it takes, I am sure they know — and see — more than the rest of us. And who can question Lovie’s scheme or eye for linebacker talent?

  28. LutzBuczFan Says:

    I always liked Ruud. He was a good tackler and good in coverage. The NFC defensive player of the month honors he received was no fluke. And he is a Dead Head!! I also like Foster, but he seems to fade as the season goes on. He sometime fails in coverage, but it’s usually by inches (he puts himself in the right position). I’m not worried about Foster.

  29. Espo Says:

    Ruud was a terrible tackler what team were you watching?

  30. Ernest T. Bass Says:

    Foster the People!! D is in good shape!

  31. BFFL Says:

    Foster has not played good enough to this point in his career. It’s as simple as that. Hopefully Lovie and the gang can coach him up.

  32. Cobraboy Says:

    I always thought Foster was very slow in coverage, and had below average quicks. He played like a fat run stuffer. Maybe he’s changed.

  33. Teacherman777 Says:

    Shazier wouldbe been nice.

  34. BoJim Says:

    Foster gets better every year and he’s lost some weight. Should speed him up a step or two.

  35. JT Says:

    I have a feeling Foster will be just fine covering deep in Lovie’s system. Him running the huddle will give LD less pressure and enable him to really dial in and terrorize opposing offenses. Same reason I liked Ruud. He was perfect for Tampa two under both Monte Kiffin and Raheem. you could play him in a deep zone and his instincts allowed him to excel. A mike linebacker doesn’t have to be a huge,rough Ray Lewis type of player. They have to have above average speed and smarts. That’s what Shelton Q had. That’s what Ruud had. And that’s what Foster HAS!

  36. Jon Says:

    Dominik drafted Foster, so he can’t be good. Sadly, it’s that simple. You can dislike his W-L record but on defense, the Rockstar drafted a ton of talent. You want a terrible GM then look at Jacksonville’s current roster still, and honestly Atlanta.

  37. Jon Says:

    Oh and he did get Dotson, Meredith, Glennon, James, Demps, Martin and Glennon on offense. He’s gone but not the worst talent guy.

  38. biff barker Says:

    Cobra, you really cant change slow.

    Lovie has said that the Mike will be blitzing more (Urlacher did) and would be getting help from the FS Barron.

    OK, did the field just shrink?

  39. biff barker Says:

    The birth of the Dane Fletcher Mob?

    Too soon?

  40. Greg Says:

    Everyone loves Foster. Yet another negative misleading story by Joe. Foster is a hard worker and good linebacker. The nock on him is that he is just not fast. This was in the draft magazine when he came out of college and in the film watching get burnt on EVERY drag route. He has to be fast to cover the middle of the field and the new faster breed of tight ends. Foster could be a strong side linebacker for life as a Buc but Lovie wants speed there in the future.

  41. pick6 Says:

    foster has been a difference maker every year despite playing under a piss poor coaching staff under morris and running a questionable scheme (which to be fair gave him a chance to excel attacking the line of schrimmage) under schiano. i can’t wait to see what he does with proven coaches running a proven scheme with a very clear plan for the guy

  42. Horice Says:

    If one would just think back to the Gruden days “we could’ve had Patrick Willis, instead of Gaines Adams”. The would’ve should’ve crew in Tampa should just die off. Mason will be fine and do a fine job if not admirable in the coming years. If Lovie knows anything, it’s Linebackers, no need to be concerned. And he signed a very serviceable back-up, Stevie Wonder could see that!

  43. Tiny Tim Says:

    The bucs drafted Lavonte David because we traded down for Barron from 5 to 7. We used the extra pick to move up in the second round to draft David. So no guarantee we would have been able to draft David if we took Kleuckly at 5.

    In any case, Rudd was horrible. He made all his tackles 10 yards down the field. He could never shed a block because a lineman would just push him yards back. Why do you think the bucs never awarded him a new contract he so desperately wanted. Because the film showed he could not take on blockers. I don’t know film showed he graded out almost perfectly. Thats why he has not done squat since he left as a free agent. Horrible!!!!!

  44. BuccoBill Says:

    Mason Foster Rocks!!!!!!!! Those of you who think not can SUCK IT!!!!!

  45. getaclue Says:

    “The bucs drafted Lavonte David because we traded down for Barron from 5 to 7. We used the extra pick to move up in the second round to draft David. So no guarantee we would have been able to draft David if we took Kleuckly at 5. ”

    Kuechly was taken at 8, He was on the board still when we took barron

  46. Rick in Fort Myers Says:

    Does anyone hear the names Hardy Nickerson or Shelton Quarles mentioned in talk about the Hall of Fame? No, yet Bucs fans and more importantly coaches talk about both men as two of Tampa’s best Mikes ever.

    So where’s the disconnect?

    The Tampa Two scheme for those Bucs fans who live in the la la land of fantasy football but know nothing about real football is where the disconnect lies.

    Although this has been written and said over and over a million times, I’ll write it again for those of you who are a bit slow. The Tampa 2 funnels the action to the Will backer (that’s the weak side linebacker), not the Mike backer (that’s the middle linebacker). The Will is the key man in the Tampa 2, which is a big reason, aside from his obvious talents, Derrick Brooks is heading to Canton in a few weeks, while Nickerson and Quarles will be there to cheer him on.

    And, news flash for Bucs fans who are a little slow, Lovie Smith is a disciple of Tony Dungy and a devotee of the Tampa 2, so don’t expect things to change much. Lavonte David will get the action funneled to him while Mason Foster is in a supporting role just like the Brooks/Nickerson and the Brooks/Quarles duos. In a decade or so we’ll likely see David headed to Canton with Foster cheering him on.

    What’s really sad about this discussion is it illustrates the ignorance of many Bucs fans about football.

  47. tiny tim Says:

    Kuechly was taken at 8, He was on the board still when we took barron.

    Well cry for kuechkly if you like. As for me, I will concentrate on the players that are here. Barron is still developing. Where better to develop than in a Lovie smith defense?

  48. LutzBuczFan Says:

    @Espo, I didn’t claim Ruud was a great player. I thought he was a “good” tackler. He certainly knew how to wrap up a ball carrier. Didn’t he have years with +140 tackles? That’s not too “terrible”. I grew up a Cornhuskers fan, so naturally I liked him.