2015 DRAFT GUIDE
LB Foster says Buccaneers defense improving

By FRED GOODALL - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-03 09:49

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have invested heavily in the draft and free agency to revamp a defense that Mason Foster feels is on the verge of taking a big step forward.

The Bucs nearly set a NFL record for passing yards allowed last season, so upgrading the secondary with the acquisition of Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson and rookie Johnthan Banks was a major priority this offseason.

Improving a sagging pass rush remains an objective, too. Coach Greg Schiano is trying to do that by getting more production out of recent high draft picks Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers.

Foster is an unheralded component of the restoration project, part of a group of starting linebackers that also includes Lavonte David and Dekoda Watson.

``Everybody is strong (throughout the defense). We don't mind being overlooked. It's one defense,'' said Foster, a third-year pro who started 31 of 32 games at middle linebacker over the past two seasons.

``I'm happy that we've got great safeties, great secondary, great defensive line - it all ties in together. They make our job easier, we make their job easier,'' Foster added. ``I don't care who gets the notoriety, it's about winning. We are here to win. We want to continue to get better.''

The former third-round draft pick out of Washington led all NFL rookies with 126 tackles in 2011 and is considered a good fit the attacking-style of defense second-year coach Greg Schiano brought to the Bucs a year ago.

Foster was second on the team with 104 tackles in 2012, when David had a standout rookie season and spearheaded a run defense that yielded a league-low 75.3 rushing yards per game.

The trade that brought Revis to Tampa Bay from the New York Jets this spring, the signing of Goldson in free agency and drafting of Banks in the second round have been the talk of training camp.

Foster, however, is quietly preparing for what he hopes will be a breakthrough season for himself - and the Bucs, who have not made the playoffs since 2007.

Schiano is encouraged by what he's seen in practice and expects Foster to get better in his second season in the scheme run by defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan.

``I thought Mason grew in this defense, and as he learned it and understood it better, he got better and better,'' Schiano said. ``I thought he was a playmaker, I thought he did some good things, and I think this offseason he's made huge strides. I think he understands it umpteen times better. I think he reacts more quickly because of that.''

David, a second-round draft pick in 2012, led the Bucs with 139 tackles as a rookie. With 20 tackles for loss, he ranked third in the league behind Houston's J.J. Watt and Denver's Von Miller.

``The sky is the limit for Lavonte,'' Foster said. ``We try to push each other. I try to push him, he pushes me.''

Despite being overshadowed by David, Foster felt he broadened his game last season.

In addition to having a knack for getting to the ball carrier and making plays, the 6-foot-1, 241-pounder has two career interceptions and a pair of sacks.

The 24-year-old feels he's become more of a student of the game and now he's ``just trying to put it all together.''

``He's got great instincts. ... But if you went out there and just played on instincts, you'd make a lot of mistakes because our defense, and I don't know any defense that isn't, is team-based,'' Schiano said.

``One guy relies a ton on the guy next to him. It's gap control. So if you have a guy who's just playing on instincts, yeah, he may get to the ball, but he'll also give up a home run. ... You don't want to take those instincts out of a guy, so within the scheme, you want to use those instincts. And I think Mason is getting better and better, and we need him to.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group