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Monday, September 26, 2011
Mason Foster making big plays for Bucs

By Pat Yasinskas

Maybe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were right when they let middle linebacker Barrett Ruud walk in free agency and handed the job to rookie Mason Foster.

Ruud was a steady player, but the one constant knock on him was that he didn’t make splash plays. He appeared in 16 games last season and recorded two sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception and four stuffs.

Foster, a third-round draft pick, is quickly showing he might have a knack for making big plays. Through three games, Foster already has two sacks, two stuffs and a forced fumble.

Foster wasn’t even a full-time player for most of the first two games. The Bucs opened the season with outside linebacker Quincy Black wearing the radio helmet and calling the defensive signals as Foster came off the field when the Bucs went to their nickel package.

But Black suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 and missed Sunday’s victory against Atlanta. Foster wore the radio helmet, called the defensive signals and stayed on the field in passing situations.

On Monday, coach Raheem Morris made it sound like he plans to let Foster stay in that same role. That could lead to more big plays as the season goes on and that could help fans forget all about Ruud.