Tampa Bay got a big boost from the injured ranks last week in Pittsburgh with the return of defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive end Michael Johnson who between them combined for three sacks and a forced fumble. This week Tampa Bay is hoping middle linebacker Mason Foster can also return after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury.
On Tuesday Foster spoke about this status for Tampa Bay’s second road trip in a row, this week at New Orleans on Sunday.
“I don’t know yet, we’ll see how it goes,” Foster said. “This is a big week to see how everything goes, but we’ll know better tomorrow and see how I do each and every day.”
Foster then was asked about being able to finally get some mobility back.
“Yeah definitely. I got to move around a little bit, and see how it’s (shoulder) feeling. I can move it a little more. We’ll see how it goes, taking it a day at a time.”
The Bucs defense has struggled to learn and execute defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s scheme so far through four games, and are currently ranked 25th in the NFL, giving up an average of 387.8 yards a game. The former 2011 third-rounder from Washington said being injured and not being able to participate is driving him crazy.
“It’s killing me, I live to play football,” Foster said. “It’s tough watching from the sidelines, but I’m just doing what I can to help the team win even if it’s holding a clipboard or telling people what I see. But I can’t wait to play again.”
Foster is trying to make the most of the down time and even said he has learned some things from being on the sideline.
“Having to spend most of your time just watching film and practice, and remembering key points to go over has helped me a lot,” Foster said. “I’m just talking to coach Hardy (Nickerson), coach Frazier, and continuing to prepare like I’m going to play. I’m just going to take it one day at a time and keep working.
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 protected]
I’m happy to hear that Mason is improving and will be back soon. But when he gets back will he help remedy the problem we’re having covering the TE in Cover 2? I’m not so sure!
Mason is a good LB, but is he the MLB that Lovie covets for his defense? I would invite you to listen DC Frazier’s first presser when he talked about the pieces that they had in place for a good Cover 2 defense. He mentions the 3tech, WLB, and MLB as being essential, then went on to name McCoy and David as being the right guys, but never mentions Foster when he talks about the MLB. Go to minute 12:05 of the presser and tell me what you think. I didn’t get the feeling that they had the MLB in house or he would have mentioned him.
Maybe Foster can fill that role, but so far the Bucs have failed to cover the middle.
Mac, I couldn’t agree with you more…Also, this is a perfect example of what irks me about this coaching staff thus far. They obviously know that Foster lacks the coverage skills to excel in a cover 2 scheme but yet they will continue set him up to fail. Our current roster does not have the personnel to to effectively employ the cover 2, (especially the secondary) you know it, I know it, and I believe the coaches know it. I wish they would tailor the scheme to play to our players strengths rather than trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
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The Mike LB play was even worse with Dane Fletcher getting his drop. Need to fix that this offseason if Foster doesn’t have the speed. But I’ll reserve judgement until these guys master the scheme.
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