Mason Foster is turning into the a star for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 25: Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons catches a touchdown over Mason Foster #59 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a game at Raymond James Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Mason Foster started out his NFL career somewhat poorly. Against the Detroit Lions he played a very limited number of snaps and looked a little tentative, especially in pass defense. In week two against the Minnesota Vikings he improved, being more aggressive as a downhill run defender and looking a little less lost in pass coverage. And last week he improved further, notching his second sack of the season, being a crucial part of an aggressive, fast defense that stifled a decent running attack and even looking somewhat competent in pass defense. 

Mason Foster is far from perfect, of course, and he's still learning to play the position. He's a little too eager to bit on play-action fakes, for instance, and he especially needs to improve as a pass defender. That touchdown to Tony Gonzalez came against his zone coverage. 

 

The responsibilities being heaped upon him are a testament to his development as a player. He was forced to play all three downs on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons as Quincy Black was out with injury. He was also given the helmet communicator and was calling all the plays against the Falcons. He performed at a high enough level to be trusted with those responsibilities permanently, as Quincy Black won't be getting the communicator or his three-down status back when he returns from injury. 

But Foster is looking like a better and more comfortable player every game. He is no longer tentative, and is showing off both his physical talent as well as his aggressive mentality and his skill-set. He has excelled as a blitzer inside so far, something Barrett Ruud was terrible at. 

Mason Foster is still developing, but early returns suggest the Bucs have hit on another draft pick. 

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