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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs to give rookie Foster more responsibility

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Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 11:46 PM
TAMPA -

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to expand rookie middle linebacker Mason Foster's duties.

Foster has watched from the sideline during most third-down plays, but that figures to change on Sunday, even if Quincy Black does recover from an ankle injury well enough to play against Atlanta.

"He'll play all situations this week,'' coach Raheem Morris said. "He'll get a chance to be in nickel and he'll be in base.''

Foster, a third-round draft choice from Washington, is a physical player who took over the starting middle linebacker position from departed free agent Barrett Ruud.

Black, however, played the role of the middle linebacker in nickel or passing downs and handled the play-calling duties so far this season, in an effort to reduce Foster's responsibilities while he tried to develop a comfort level in the NFL. If Black cannot play this week, all those duties will fall to Foster.

Foster has always been capable of handling more responsibility, Morris said.

"He's not that deficient,'' Morris said. "I was just trying to take something off his plate. Mason is sharp, smart, and he's dying to get the (communication device) in his helmet anyway.

"He wants all the information. He probably could have done that right from the beginning. I was just trying to make it easy on him. He's not that type of guy. He's a tough dude. And he's doing well.''

Injury report

Bucs LB Quincy Black (ankle), DE Tim Crowder (calf), T James Lee (knee) and WR Sammie Stroughter (foot) did not participate in practice, while TE Kellen Winslow (knee) was limited.

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