When a football team finishes 2-14, change is inevitable. Even 14-2 teams go through some process of change each season. The Bucs roster is likely to be turned over once again this offseason and a casualty of the turnover could be middle linebacker Mason Foster who has started since his rookie season.
Foster, the team’s third round draft pick in 2011 is hoping the Bucs give him an opportunity to return.
“I hope so,” Foster said. “I haven’t had any discussions yet. It wasn’t like a set-in-stone goodbye or anything, it was just how I was feeling. It was emotional leaving the field. I tried to ignore it and not get emotional thinking it could be my last time walking through that tunnel, but it hit me. I just wanted to share that with people, and no matter what happens here it’s been a great four years on and off the field from the Gasparilla parades to playing on Sundays. I love Tampa. I definitely want to be here. It would be great to stay here, but I know how it works. It’s a business.”
On Monday during his postseason press conference head coach Lovie Smith talked about the changes that happen this time every season. Smith addressed the team this morning but didn’t reveal all the details of the meeting but acknowledged changes are inevitable.
“I really as a general rule try not to talk an awful lot to you [media] about what I talk to the team about, but I’ll just leave it at that though,” Smith said. “I talked about the positive things, about laying the foundation and how they came to work every day: trying to get better, coachable, they took coaching. And, again, through adversity we just saw them – there was never any pointing, any of the blame game. None of that happened. Except for us winning on the football field, which of course is a big thing, I just kind of thanked them. This is always a sad day, too, for your football team, when you say the last time we’re together as a group. Nothing stays the same. Some of the players in there that helped lay this foundation, they’re not going to be there to reap all the benefits at the end. That’s a sad time. So we talked about things like that for the most part, and just let them know that offseason [workout programs] will be here a lot quicker than they think.”
One veteran who isn’t going anywhere in the near future is Gerald McCoy. The three-time Pro Bowler spoke fondly of Foster on Monday morning as players were cleaning out their lockers.
“Mason has been a great teammate and he’s one of the more fun guys to be around in this locker room,” McCoy said. “Each year I’ve seen him grow and be more mature. He’s battled injuries this year, but I believe he’s a really good player and he could do a lot of good for us here. I don’t know what he tweeted, but if he thanked the fans it’s because he really loved his time in Tampa. He’s a free agent. If you don’t know your future, I think the right thing to do is to thank everybody for the time you had and that you can continue to have more time. For the time that he was here he was a great teammate and it’s been great to see him grow up every year.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
I don’t think this is a case of the Bucs don’t want Mason Foster. It’s at what price. Mason is a free agent and will likely be offered more in FA (Redskins) than the Bucs think he’s worth.
Go to minute 2:25 of Frazier’s 12/24 presser and you will hear Frazier say that they don’t see Foster as a SLB. They think he can play MLB and play it well!
So I think the decision to stay or go will be decided by Mason and it will be driven by the dollars!
I like Mason and I hope he stays, but it’s a business!
Good insight Mac. I like Foster as well. He had a great year in 2013. Struggled early with the Tampa 2. If he can improve coverage skills, could be our guy. But also see a lot of Jamie Duncan in him. And the switch to Shelton Quarrels had a huge impact on the defense effectiveness as SQ could drop into coverage and cover the middle. We’ll see.
Mason Foster was a 3rd round pick.
Yes. My mistake.
It will be all about the money and I wish him the best.
I’ve never been impressed with M. Fosters coverage skills 12+ yards beyond the line of scrimmage and since that’s so important in the defense I don’t like him as our long term solution at MLB. At this point I’d rather have Lansanah at MLB and I think the Bucs want to keep Lansanah on the field however possible which means him not playing SLB. I will say that I think Foster lived up to his draft position as he was drafted in the back half of the 3rd round. He made some plays and I wish him the best in his next job…unless he’s playing us of course.
Not sure we have many other options….not exactly a MLB strong draft, no great FA…I think the guy we need is just not around….so, if we have to have a MLB (presumably we’re going to keep playing with one) then might as well have Foster back for a few million next year (just no long term guaranteed money)…at least he should know the scheme.
I recently read an article (forgive me, I can’t remember where) that controsted the points scored against the Bucs when Foster was in vrs. Those scored when he was not. The difference was fairly significant in Fosters favor. I realize there are many factors to consider, money being one, but I for one hope we keep him. Finally I agree with EastEndBoy, there are not a lot of options out there in 2015. However it is a business so I wish him the best however it turns out.
Foster is kind of an average, run of the mill MLB who is probably “good enough.” I suspect Lovie is seeking a special player at the position. A guy who can not only cover the middle in the Tampa 2 but also be that Hardy Nickerson type enforcer. Hard to find that skill set.
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