After a tough introduction to the NFL during his rookie season, Mason Foster is getting another chance to prove he is the answer at middle linebacker for the Buccaneers.
Foster, a third-round pick in 2011, started all but one game in his rookie season, finishing second on the team in tackles with 83. He was bothered by ankle injuries for much of the season, though, and appeared overwhelmed at times by the mental and physical workload of playing inside. The new Bucs coaching staff has said he often looked tentative and suggested the Raheem Morris regime may have asked Foster to do too much too soon.
The Bucs did not bring in any veteran competition at middle linebacker this offseason — the starting job is Foster’s to lose. They want to see him play faster and with more confidence. Indications are the coaching staff felt Foster showed improvement over the course of OTAs and minicamp.
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