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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Mason Foster one step closer to remaining at middle linebacker



If the Bucs kicked off their season today, Mason Foster would be their middle linebacker.

That’s not exactly a long-term commitment to keeping the second-year player as Tampa Bay’s defensive field general, but it stands as the most likely outcome as the Bucs’ three-day voluntary minicamp comes to a close this afternoon.

Foster, who coaches originally were considering using at weak-side linebacker, spent the week exclusively at middle linebacker and, according to coach Greg Schiano, was impressive.

Still, Schiano left things open-ended.

“I think he had a good three days,” Schiano said. “I’m not sure where all those linebackers will land. Mason played (weak side) in college and then he played the (middle) last year. I may go back and even watch more of his college tape, just to get a better feel. We’re not back to this stuff (minicamp) until June.”

For his part, Foster conceded he was placed in a difficult situation last season, coming in as a rookie – fresh off the NFL lockout with no offseason – and being asked to play a critical position while making defensive calls.

“It was definitely tough, but I thought I could handle it,” Foster said. “Having the time now to sit at home and study your playbook and come talk to the coaches at any time during the day, being able to sit and go over stuff, that definitely gives you an advantage. I see what I was missing last year.”

Considering the Bucs' personnel and lack of another viable candidate to play middle linebacker, look for Foster to remain there unless something changes drastically in the near future. Given the dearth of top middle linebackers in the draft and free agency, that seems unlikely at this point.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 19, 2012 2:33pm]


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