When Mason Foster was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions, many felt as if 29-year old Danny Lansanah was auditioning to replace Foster down the road. With the Bucs’ fourth-year linebacker playing in the final year of his contract, some feel the Bucs may not bring him back for 2015 and beyond. But there are some things to consider.
For starters, Foster is making $754,686 this season per RotoWorld.com and his demands will not come remotely close to breaking the bank. Also, his numbers may not be “flashy” enough to warrant that big of a contract either. But his worth goes beyond the numbers. It’s about the effect he has on the team.
When Foster has been in the lineup, the Buccaneers defense has given up an average of 327 yards per game which would rank seventh in the league in total defense based on NFL averages. When he is not in the lineup, they give up an average of 449 yards per game. That would rank them last in total defense.
Part of the reason for that success under Foster is because of his understanding of the defense. As the MIKE linebacker, he is responsible for making sure the players are lined up correctly and has to act as the quarterback of the defense among other things.
When I talked to Foster one-on-one before the season started for TheBayCave.com, he mentioned a key element that is required as the defensive signal caller:
“When you’re calling plays, you have to know the checks, know everything — know the signals.”
It’s evident the defense plays better under Foster for the reasons previously mentioned. So before we debate his future, let’s take everything into account. And with the coaching staff offering up rave reviews, he is a sure bet to stick around a bit longer.
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