Bucs' Danny Lansanah could have future at middle linebacker

TAMPA, Fla. -- In an otherwise dismal season, linebacker Danny Lansanah has been a bright spot for the Buccaneers. He could be an even brighter spot in the future.

Coach Lovie Smith said Monday that Lansanah, who has played all three linebacker spots, could have a future as a middle linebacker.

"He won't be our Will linebacker (All-Pro Lavonte David holds that spot), from there I think his talents are suited probably better at the Mike or the Sam linebacker position and he's had success at both of those,'' Smith said. "Again, we'll find out more these next three weeks, like we found out more about him each week he's played. I'll just say he's a player that's a part of the foundation we're building."

Lansanah has spent most of the season at strong-side linebacker. His play was good enough for the Bucs to decide to trade away former starter Jonathan Casillas. But Lansanah got work in the middle in Sunday's loss to Detroit as Mason Foster was out with an injury.

Foster hasn't been a great fit in the Tampa 2 scheme and it's possible he might not be back next season. That's where Lansanah could factor in. He has good quickness and cover skills and might be able to take over at middle linebacker. The Bucs need to make a decision about Lansanah's future position in the offseason.

"I'll just say this, it's hard -- contrary to public opinion -- you can't just move anywhere in our system and it's real easy to pick up; that's not the case,'' Smith said. "Linebacker-wise, the position has as much responsibility and it's hard when you move. All three linebacker positions are different. Again, Derrick Brooks played the same exact position his entire career, Hardy Nickerson did, it's hard doing that (changing positions) and for a guy to have to do that at all three positions is pretty much -- almost series-to-series a little bit -- it's just unheard of. Looking at it that way, Danny has done a good job, but by doing that there are a couple of plays that we would like to have back and that really kind of cost us a little bit."