Redskins Coach Jay Gruden praised Mason Foster's performance in Monday’s loss to the Cowboys and hinted that the veteran inside linebacker could remain in the starting lineup.
Foster finished the game tied for the team lead in combined tackles (7) and was involved in two of the defense’s three takeaways. (Will Compton, the other inside linebacker, also recorded seven tackles.)
The start was Foster’s first as a member of the Redskins and first since Week 16 of last season in Tampa Bay, where he served as the Buccaneers' first string middle linebacker from 2011-14. The 26-year-old signed with the Redskins on Sept. 29.
"We'll see, but I think Mason played extremely well,” Gruden said Tuesday, asked if Foster had played well enough against the Cowboys to earn additional starts. “He was physical at the point of attack and did some really good things.”
Gruden added: “Him and Will both played very, very well against a very physical Dallas Cowboys offensive line. I think both those guys really stood up and played really well.”
Foster played 46 of 56 snaps on defense and seven snaps on special teams. He started in the place of Perry Riley, who is sidelined three-to-six weeks with a foot injury.
Under the lights in a big game, Foster wasted little time proving that he could make an impact when the Redskins needed it. In addition to racking up a team-leading tackle total, he also recovered a fumble in the third quarter and forced another in the fourth, ripping the ball from the arms of Cowboys receiver Devin Street.
Foster is now the only Redskins’ inside backer with a forced fumble.
"Like I said, I think he played well,” Gruden added. “I think he was stout at the point of attack, like I said. He was getting off blocks and he was playing hard, man.”
With Riley expected to miss several more weeks, it would be hard to imagine the Redskins going away from the Foster-Compton tandem at inside linebacker, a spot where the team has been seeking more production and consistency.