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Foster to Miss First Game

Posted Nov 22, 2013

Friday Notes: The Bucs have ruled starting MLB Mason Foster out for Sunday's game as he continues to suffer from concussion symptoms, sidelining Foster for the first time in his NFL career…And other notes

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Mason Foster, who never missed a game in four seasons at the University of Washington and has started almost three seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the rugged middle linebacker spot without ever missing an outing, is undeniably a tough football player.  But a concussion is not the sort of injury any player should "tough out," so Foster's string of 42 consecutive games played for the Buccaneers will come to an end on Sunday.

Tampa Bay will take on the Lions in Detroit Sunday without the services of two of their starting defenders.  Free safety Dashon Goldson is serving a one-game suspension for a hit on Atlanta's Roddy White last Sunday and, as Head Coach Greg Schiano revealed on Friday, Foster has been ruled out due his ongoing concussion symptoms.  Foster suffered the injury on Sunday against the Falcons and did not practice at all this week.

“He still has symptoms," said Schiano. "We did it last week with Da’Qaun [Bowers] – i f there’s any doubt, they’re not going to play. It’s not an ankle or a wrist or something; it’s his brain and that’s what’s the best thing to do. By taking all the information [from the] doctors, what the player is reporting, it’s a serious thing, these head injuries. I don’t know the length, I don’t know if he’ll be ready next week or for weeks to come, I don’t know that.  We’ll just have to play it by ear.”

Experienced seventh-year veteran Adam Hayward, who at one time or another has filled in for Tampa Bay at all three linebacker positions, will likely start in Foster's place between outside linebackers Lavonte David and Jonathan Casillas.  David and Foster, in particular, have worked together to give the Bucs' big production out of the linebacking corps this year, combining for 141 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, seven sacks, three interceptions, one forced fumble and two defensive touchdowns.

“It’s going to be a big loss, it’s different, but Adam Hayward worked the whole week in practice, so we worked together a lot," said David. "Throughout the whole year, you’ve got to prepare for things like this. Everybody gets cumulative reps, so everybody knows what each other is doing. It’s going to be different not having Mason out there, but we have the utmost confidence and faith that Adam Hayward can step in and fill his role.”

Since Detroit plays a lot of extra-receiver packages on offense, the Buccaneers may find themselves in a nickel defense for much of Sunday afternoon, and Hayward will probably step into Foster's nickel role, as well.  However, the team may use all of its depth at the position in some way or another on Sunday, with fourth-year veteran Dekoda Watson and rookie Ka'lial Glaud potentially seeing action in certain packages.

-- LB Mason Foster has played all 42 Buccaneer games over the last three years and never missed a game in college
“Several combinations…we’ll see," said Schiano.  "Depending on what personnel group they’re in, there will be a whole bunch of different mixes and matches. We’re confident in all the guys that we’re asking to do it.

“Adam’s a very important part of the team. He’s a captain, number one, that shows you the respect his teammates have for him. He jumps in at all three linebacker positions and does a good job. His experience and leadership – he’s been playing for a while now – the big thing is we have to make sure we take care of his body because he’s not accustomed to playing so much. He played quite a bit last week and it looks like he’s going to have to play quite a bit this week. We’ve just got to make sure we keep him whole.”

The good news: The third starter on Tampa Bay's defense who appeared to be a question mark at the beginning of the week, right cornerback Johnthan Banks, appears to be on track to play against the Lions.  Banks has a shoulder injury that Schiano has described as particularly painful, but the rookie starter was able to practice fully on Thursday and Friday.

In fact, other than Foster and guard Carl Nicks, who hasn't played since Week Four after undergoing foot surgery, all of the players on Tampa Bay's injury report are considered probable to play.

Detroit's report is similar, despite being 13 men long following the addition of guard Larry Warford on Friday.  Ten of those 13 are listed as probable for Sunday's game including, most notably, Calvin Johnson, the NFL's top receiver.  His fellow pass-catcher, Nate Burleson, appears to be on track to play his first game after a seven-game absence due to a fractured forearm, as he too is considered probable.

The full injury reports for both teams, with game status added on Friday, are below.

Buccaneers:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

Game Status

CB Johnthan Banks

Shoulder

Full Participation

Probable

DE Da'Quan Bowers

Concussion

Full Participation

Probable

LB Mason Foster

Concussion

Did Not Participate

Out

G Davin Joseph

Knee

Full Participation

Probable

G Jamon Meredith

Ankle

Full Participation

Probable

G Carl Nicks

Foot

Did Not Participate

Out

WR Chris Owusu

Foot

Full Participation

Probable

DT Akeem Spence

Wrist

Full Participation

Probable


Lions:

Player

Injury

Practice Status

Game Status

DE Ezekiel Ansah

Ankle

Limited Participation

Probable

RB Joique Bell

Achilles

Full Participation

Questionable

CB Bill Bentley

Knee

Full Participation

Probable

WR Nate Burleson

Forearm

Full Participation

Probable

S Louis Delmas

Knee

Did Not Participate

Probable

DT Andre Fluellen

Thigh

Full Participation

Probable

CB Jonte Green

Illness

Full Participation

Probable

TE Corey Hilliard

Knee

Full Participation

Probable

DE Israel Idonije

Knee

Limited Participation

Questionable

WR Calvin Johnson

Knee

Limited Participation

Probable

TE Brandon Pettigrew

Knee

Limited Participation

Probable

S Glover Quin

Achilles

Limited Participation

Questionable

G Larry Warford

Shoulder

Full Participation

Probable


* RB Bobby Rainey is well into his preparations for what could be his first NFL start on Sunday in Detroit, but he is still reaping the benefits of the game he played five days ago.

Already the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his 163-yard, three-touchdown performance in the Buccaneers' 41-28 win over Atlanta, Rainey was also named the NFL Ground Player of the Week on Friday.  The former award is handed down by the league office, the latter is determined by fan voting on NFL.com.

Rainey got more votes than Indianapolis Colts running back Donald Brown and Oakland Raiders running back Rashad Jennings to become the first Buccaneer to win a Ground or Air Player of the Week award in 2013.  Running back Doug Martin won the Ground award three times for the Buccaneers last season and running back LeGarrette Blount won it once in 2010.

Rainey's 163 yards on the ground stand as the ninth-highest single-game total in franchise history.  He scored twice on carries of 43 and three yards and also caught two passes for four yards and an additional score, making him the first player in Buc annals to score twice on the ground and once through the air in the same game.  Rainey also became just the fourth player in the NFL in the past decade to rush for at least 160 yards, score two rushing touchdowns and add a receiving touchdown in a single game, joining LaDainian Tomlinson, Chris Johnson and Darren McFadden.

Rainey's teammate, quarterback Mike Glennon, was also in the running this week for the NFL's Rookie of the Week award, another honor determined by fan voting on NFL.com.  However, Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin took home the trophy.

* Wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who played with Drew Brees and Philip Rivers in San Diego and was part of a 4,000-yard passing attack led by Josh Freeman in his first year in Tampa, had never caught a pass from a rookie quarterback in a regular-season game before 2013.  He's doing it on a regular basis now, and he's actually enjoying the experience.

He’s only going to continue to get better and improve with experience like any quarterback would. But where he’s at right now is very impressive.
-- WR Vincent Jackson
That's mainly because Glennon is playing more like a veteran than a rookie, particularly in the poised and prepared manner that he is handling the offense.

“I’ve just been so impressed with him from the start, from the first game that he was asked to come in and take the reins of this offense," said Jackson, looking back to Week Four when Glennon replaced Freeman and made his first NFL start.  "He was prepared, he did everything he needed to do in the offseason, training camp and when his number was called, he was ready.  He's very mature for a young man, a young quarterback.  We ask him to handle a lot on his offense with the protections and the sights and making all the adjustments and he’s done it without missing a beat, so he’s only going to continue to get better and improve with experience like any quarterback would.  But where he’s at right now is very impressive.”

Glennon immediately found a comfort zone throwing to Jackson, which isn't surprising given that Jackson is a huge target and can make plays even when well-covered.  Glennon targeted Jackson an average of 15 times a game in his first four starts, which included a pair of 100-yard two-touchdown games for the receiver.  To the young quarterback's credit, however, he didn't keep forcing it to Jackson when opposing teams began rolling more coverage in the big receiver's direction.  Glennon kept the offense going against Seattle and Miami without throwing often in Jackson's direction, and then went back to his favorite target last week against Atlanta for another big game (10 catches, 165 yards, touchdown).

Jackson has been impresed with that sort of decision-making, and with the care Glennon has taken with the football, throwing just one interception in the last five games.

“With any position you play in this league, the more you’re out there, you’re seeing live snaps, you’re seeing defenses, getting a different look each and every week," said Jackson.  "It’s only going to help him in his experience, in kind of his catalog of understanding where he needs to go with the ball. He’s taking care of the football, that’s one of the biggest things [for] a young quarterback, not having a lot of impulse throws. If he has to eat it he’ll eat it, if he has to run with it he’ll run with it. A lot of people don’t give him credit for what he can do with his feet, but he’s made some plays outside of the pocket, throwing the ball and running the ball.”
Game Rewind: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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