“The Least Agressive Position In That Defense”

May 19th, 2011

The Bucs’ spiritual godfather joined the dean of Tampa Bay sports radio yesterday for their weekly chat on WDAE-AM 620.

Derrick Brooks and Steve Duemig kicked around all sorts of topics and, no surprise, callers wanted to pepper Brooks with comments, questions and concerns about popular punching bag Barrett Ruud.

At one point, Brooks told an anti-Ruud caller, “Look I know the defensive calls. Middle linebacker is the least aggressive position in that defense.” Brooks also explained that Ruud is dropping back initially in cover 2 and many blitz packages, essentially saying Ruud does his job.

Oh, there are so many nuances to the raging Ruud debate.

If that’s the least the aggressive position on the defense, then maybe Ruud is properly cast.

73 Responses to ““The Least Agressive Position In That Defense””

  1. Hector Says:

    what kind of backward ass defense calls for the MLB to be the least agressive? some other person commented that a few other teams also run the so called cover 2 that the bucs run, yet i don’t see their middle line backer trailing like a wedding gown!

  2. BigMacAttack Says:

    No one knows better than Brooks, but what would it hurt for Ruud to put on 15 lbs or rock hard ripped muscle, change his diet, and “In case of emergency” be able to deliver a crushing blow to Michael Turner when he comes Ruud’s way. It may not be Ruud’s job, okay, but things don’t always go according to plan. People miss assignments and sometimes you are cast into a role that wasn’t expected. Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. WTF? Bust somebody in the chops for Christ sakes, before they do it to you. Common Sense is not so Common.


    Brian Urlacher.

  4. Chris FWC :) Says:

    He’s the exact MLB the Bucs need. He fits the system to a T.

    He is not and will never be a Ray Ray.

    You know how many LB’s there are that can be stout against the run but turn into a liability on passing downs?

    Ruud will be a Buc and the starting MLB.

  5. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    What brooks means is: in most down and distances ruud has primary responsibility in pass coverage before playing the run which is different than other defenses.

    I am not saying that on first down or shorter yardage situations that he is always in backpedal, but with safety, nickel and corner blitzes often ruud is picking up pass coverage resp. It is just a diverse position that requires are broad skillset.

  6. Capt.Tim Says:

    As I’ve said for months and months! Thank you, Mr. Brooks!
    Hector” what kinda team runs a defense . .” why, the SuperBowl winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers, of course! And we’ve ran that exact defense for 12 years!

    The question I ask is” how can these people claim to watch this team, and not notice that Our MLB ALWAYS- ALWAYS!!!! Drops into coverage?? How can anyone who has EVER watched a Buccaneer game , Blame our MLB for run defense- amazes me! And why does everyone give the real culprits- Black, Hayes,and Jones a free pass, is equally amazing!

  7. Gary Says:

    I’m calling BS on that Capt. Yes the MLB does drop back into coverage but when he doesn’t Ruud either overpursues and leaves his lane open or just get blocked backwards leaving his lane…. wait for it… open!

    This D is evolving under Rah, we dont need need our MLB to be a glorified safety as much as in the past. The MLB position has to evolve with the D.

  8. Gary Says:

    Besides, with the 3-3-5 formation, the MLB doesn’t need to cover the deep middle with 5 DB’s out there.

    So I would say the MLB “always” dropping into coverage is incorrect.

  9. KD Says:

    Just because it’s the “least aggressive” position in our system doesn’t change the fact that he plays soft. Doe the position require you to stop moving your feet when breaking down to make a tackle? Does it require you to be totally engulfed by offensive linemen? Once Ruud is engaged, he’s done. He simply doesn’t have the power to shed a block. I understand the roll that he has and the system we are in, so nobody needs to get preachy. The bottom line is Ruud is a soft player that gets by because of the system he plays in. Any other system, he’s done. He is a subpar linebacker in the only system that’s suited for him. We can hopefully find an upgrade to him, but I doubt that will happen before this year, so we can enjoy another 16 games of watching our middle linebacker get his ankles broken by backup quarterbacks, ran over by average (at best) running backs, and totally disappearing on run plays!

  10. m.wesley Says:

    I hear him Capt. still dont buy it, but i hear him acording to him your right.

  11. Hector Says:


    i have been calling for Geno Hayes head! i can’t stand watching him play on the field. of all the LB, i say black was probably the most consistent LB we had until he got hurt. i am not saying he was great, but was consistent. for all i care Geno and Ruud can leave i and will not miss seeing them on the field. but what do i know, i am just a fan.

  12. CharlieB Says:

    I love how all of our fans know better than Steve White, Derrick Brooks, Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris. They all say he does his job exceptionally. Instead of going after Ruud, our questions should focus on the players who are responsible for run coverage in the Tampa defense and not the defenses other teams run.

  13. Travis Says:

    Only problem with that is that Seattle and Chicago run the exact same defense, yet their middle backers are not pansies (Tatupu & Urlacher)

  14. OAR Says:

    So, now Derrick Brooks is full of BS? What? Really?
    The man knows defense and ESPECIALLY OURS! You guys, that really think Ruud is the problem on the defense, crack me up!
    BTW Bend don’t break are the everlasting words spoken by the defensive mastermind Kiffin!

  15. Nick2 Says:

    Great call Joe!! Our least aggressive player in the least aggressie position what a great fit! I love Derrick but when he and Shelton played MLB I don’t remember anyone saying they were soft or unaggressive. Hmmmmm….. whats up with that?? Ok when they are running up your gut for ten yard gains repeatedly (i.e last year repeatedly especially the Redskin game) what role does Barret Ruud have at that point??? My guess is to step up and pop the guy bursting through the line repeatedly but nooooooooo Barrett is backpedling LOL.

  16. m.wesley Says:

    You heard what Brooks said but if hes not here next year we know someones blowing smoke,I looked at the defense forcing the plays to Brooks and now this defense seems to be forcing the plays to Ruud thats all im saying

  17. OAR Says:

    Even, some non-pansies suck! Seattle’s defense finished #25 points allowed and #27 yds allowed. Thank goodness, they had Tatupu!

  18. Joe Says:

    I love Derrick but when he and Shelton played MLB

    For the record gentlemen, Derrick Brooks never played middle linebacker for the Bucs.

  19. Joe Says:

    I love how all of our fans know better than Steve White, Derrick Brooks, Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris. They all say he does his job exceptionally. Instead of going after Ruud, our questions should focus on the players who are responsible for run coverage in the Tampa defense and not the defenses other teams run.

    Thank you CharlieB.

    Even when Pat Kirwan — a man who coached linebackers under Monte Kiffin and said he learned the Cover-2 defense from Kiffin himself — praises Ruud, people scoff at Kirwan.

    Look, Joe’s not trying to slurp Ruud who has issues Joe will agree. But why is Quincy Black day in and day out given a pass?

  20. Travis Says:

    ^^ I agree Seattle’s D sucked, but my point is that the Tampa 2 MLB is not always “unaggressive” as evidence by the fact that Tatupu and Urlacher bring the wood, yet have the same responsibilities as Ruud.

  21. BigMacAttack Says:

    I’m not calling for Ruud’s head, but is it really too much to ask of guy that makes $3MM per year to get a little stronger to HELP (keyword “help”) stop the run? I understand he does his job pretty well, but I have also seen EVERY SINGLE ONE of his Buc Games, and I guarantee you that he can improve on his craft. Familiarity breeds contempt. He does make an awful lot of tackles, and many on run plays. But if he can save one yard on every run tackle he makes, that could be the difference between a first down or a 3 and out, which could further lead to an NFC Championship and a Super Bowl. I’m only asking “Is this as good as it gets” or could he do just a little bit more to improve his craft and become a Pro Bowl MLB? I personally believe the key is STRENGTH and CONDITIONING. 10% is all I’m asking for. Everybody can do 10% more. Rest when your Dead.

  22. BigMacAttack Says:

    If Ruud had Quincy Blacks’ strength and speed, he would be one of the best MLB’s in the game.

  23. Travis Says:

    Joe Black is given a “pass” because he simply played better than our other backers… directly from Rotoworld:

    “Quincy Black was one of only three 4-3 outside linebackers to carry positive ratings in run stopping, pass rush, pass coverage and penalties in 2010, according to Pro Football Focus.
    Black emerged as the Bucs’ best run-stuffing linebacker while also limiting big plays for tight ends in the passing game. As a four-year veteran, he’s expected to generate plenty of interest of he hits the open market. The Bucs better hope his free agency ends up restricted under the next CBA.”

    He wasn’t flashy or exciting, but he did his job, and he did it well.

  24. OAR Says:

    I guess, after having top 10 defenses for 10 plus years is our curse to bear? Meaning, we set the bar for our standard so damn high, anything less is horrible or soft?
    Sorry guys, but I’m listening to Brooks!

  25. Bucnjim Says:

    Have you ever heard Brooks say anything bad about anyone? Nope! He’s a nice guy and would never throw a current or former player under the bus like that. How about we buy Warrren Sapp a few cocktails and ask him the same question. Whatever answer he gives (whether good or bad) will be closer to the truth then anyone trying to be politically correct. Coaches, GM’s and players still close to the organization are always very careful in what they are saying. I would like to ask one question though. If Ruud is back in coverage so much; where are crushing hits on reciever’s, TE’s and RB’s. He is at least 25 lbs. heavier than Lynch ever was and almost 40 lbs bigger than Grimm & Barber. All three of these guys will rip your head off and yes even Barber is tougher than Ruud. His total passes defensed for 2010 were 4. One pass defensed every 4 games of football played. Game changing plays for 2010? 1

  26. Joe Says:


    Black emerged as the Bucs’ best run-stuffing linebacker


    He wasn’t flashy or exciting, but he did his job, and he did it well.

    Isn’t that last comment pretty much what people are saying of Ruud?

  27. Capt.Tim Says:

    Derrick Brooks is never- ever full of B.S. I never get made mad when people disagree- but never insult one of the two greatest Bucs ever! Mr. Selmon being the other.

    Listen, none if us are defensive coordinators. It’s ok not to know every detail of the team’s defense. None of us get paid to know that! It’s just hard for me to see Ruud get trashed here every day, for something that isn’t his fault. Ruud is actually great in coverage! That’s why the Bucs coveted him so much in the draft. He is amazingly quick for a 240lb guy, and teams actuallyhace to change their TE patterns against us because of him.

    He had to hate being drafted here! He knew he would be stuck forever, playing 10 yards off the ball, and never getting to build his rep as a big hitter- the rep he had in college. He can do that. And he can’t wait to go somewhere and prove it! He will get a monster contract somewhere. We won’t match it, because- MIB isn’t that important to our defense to warrant a huge chunk of the money. His leaving won’t kill us, though we’ll miss his intelligence setting the defense. But he will become a dominant LB for someone( rumor says- NY!) and we’ll whine he’s gone

    And yes- everyone whined that Shelton Quarles was “soft”, and yes, everyone whined that Hardy Nickerson got “soft” when he came here. So much so that Monte Kiffin made a public statement to support Hardy, saying he didn’t care if Hardy EVER made a tackle here, that wasn’t his job!!

    People have been trashing our MLB mistakenly since we stated playing the Tampa 2. What makes me mad is Ian Beckles, Who KNOWS all this, is trashing Ruud just to get attention.his ass knows What Ruuds responsibilities, so he can trash the guy by saying” look, he always makes tackles 5 Yds behind the line!!” because he KNOWS that’s where Ruud has to be. It’s pathetic he would do that to a fellow Buc, just to try and hold on to his crappy Lil radio show. It made me lose all respect for the guy, and it’s just pathetic!

  28. Capt.Tim Says:

    And by the way- Quincy Black AND Geno Hayes both played so soft last year, that they both need replaced! Walt Football described the Tampa OLBs as “A train wreck”. Joe is right about Quincy Black. And Hayes was no better. Too bad, they both looked promising the year before

  29. OAR Says:

    Just cause Mr Brooks never says anything bad about anyone, doesn’t mean, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about!!! Or, that he would make up something or lie about something to make someone look or sound better, to not throw them under the bus? Please!
    BTW That’s called being a class act of a MAN!

  30. The D Says:

    If MLB is just a big safety, why dont we just use a safety in Ruuds position? Grimm hits harder and is better in coverage so why not have him be our MLB? lol

  31. Bucnjim Says:

    I always respect your opinion and you usually make some very valid arguments to support those opinions. I’ve been a fan since ’86 and a season ticket holder from 1990 to 2010. Maybe someone else can help me out here, but I can’t remember anyone at any time ever refer to Hardy Nickerson as soft. He single handedly made our defense respectable while teaching Both Brooks and Sapp what it takes to be a winner. Nickerson was in my opinion; the best free agent acquisition the Bucs have ever made in the history of the franchise. Quarles play outside linebacker for quite a few years before being move to the MLB spot. I’m sure there was some critic’s, but again I don’t remember anyone calling him soft. All I expect from Ruud or any team Captain/Leader is be a game changer. Make plays when they need to be made!

  32. Joe Says:

    Joe remembers a lot of people freaking out not that Nickerson was soft, but that McKay let him walk as a free agent.

  33. Bucnjim Says:

    If dropping back into coverage is his primary duty then that’s fine. I’ll give you that without an argument. I don’t care if he’s 50 yards from the line of scrimmage. How about you just make a PLAY! Level someone coming across the middle! Intercept that deep middle pass you’re supposed to be defending! Knock that TE on his A$$! Defend the pass out of the backfield to the Check down! Smack that RB in the mouth when he does get to the second level! Crush the QB who decides to tuck and run! Like I said before; game changing plays in 2010=1

  34. m.wesley Says:

    Ruud gets the blame because he is the linebacker that everything runs through,it use to run through Brooks,and before Brooks it was Nickerson,the defense always force the play through the best linebacker Ruud was the best and most reliable linebacker we had and he did not dominate like the best linebacker on the team,I dont hate him look back and you will see that I said Kenzie Ruud and Foster should start .

  35. Capt.Tim Says:

    It’s been posted here dozens of times. One of my more detail oriented fellow Buc fans can hopefully pull up the Quote by Kiffin, made in defense of Nickerson. And BucnJim- I agree with everything you said about Hardy. I loved the Guy. Then, like now, I was always stuck explaining to people how he played coverage – not run support! I wasn’t the one trashing him. Just. Like. Now.. I was stuck trying to explain the Tampa 2 to everyone who was bashing the guy!

  36. Chris FWC :) Says:

    @ Travis. I don’t care what Rotoworld says. QBlack was terrible. I watched with my own eyes.

    @ Oar, I agree. Keeping the standard high is key. We live/die on how our D plays.

  37. FC Buccaneers Says:

    Obviously Raheem and Dominik have doubts about Ruud’s abilities given the fact he was never given a new contract and IS a free agent. If they loved his play the way they love Donald Penn, he would have been signed 2 years ago instead of given a tender. Doesn’t that say it all? I like Ruud and believe he has great character and intelligence, QB of the defense, plays his position the best to his ability, but that being said, he struggles stopping the more physical elements of the game. He gets pushed out of plays because he can’t shed a tackle and when in position gets run over instead of stuffing the ball carrier. Every LB should make those plays, regardless of where they play on the line. That’s why he gets called soft and I believe that’s why he has not been offered a new contract. They figure he has reached his potential and will not improve, so can they do better or should they stick with him and take the good with the bad. It’s a tough call, you don’t want to give him a long term contract but you would like to have him in camp to compete for a spot. It seems moot at this point because even Ruud himself doesn’t believe he will be with the team next year. I think he will be signed quickly by a new team once the lockout is resolved and thus will end his tenure with the Bucs.

  38. CharlieB Says:


    I disagree with the statement about contracts. Penn fit inside Dominik’s big three objectives, namely keeping Freeman upright. Ruud fits none of the big three since he isn’t asked to or exceptionally skilled at pass rushing. As such, it was not as serious a concern to make sure he’s locked up long term as Penn.

  39. Ravelston Says:

    I’m not sure if I remember the numbers correctly but didn’t Ruud have only 8 missed tackles in118 attempts – that’s the best percentage of any of our front seven players. He clearly makes plays (and makes a lot of them). Dropping back on the snap means that when running plays reach him he’s always going to be looking at something akin to a runaway train. That few missed tackles means he has to be doing something right.

  40. McBuc Says:

    Sealte and Chicago ruun their own version of the Tampa or Cover Two. If you have great players at a position you scheme for them. If you have a guy the fits your defense like Ruud does, you don’t need to change the scheme. I agree with the guy above, all of the experts…many that played or coached for this exact team are wrong, but you guys are right because of Chicago…Baffles me.

  41. Capt.Tim Says:

    What the heck is Rotoworld??!? Is that like a planet in a negative universe or something? If they gave a passing grade to Quincy, they must be floating around in another dimension!! Ask him if they wanna sign him, lol? They can have him!

  42. Jamie Says:

    This should settle the debate. It’s what I’ve been saying all along. If you don’t believe me, believe Derrick Brooks. If you don’t believe Derrick Brooks, you’re not a Bucs fan.

  43. CharlieB Says:

    Capt. Tim,

    The initial analysis was done at ProFootballFocus.com, a site that watches every player on every play and gives them a grade on each. Their take on Quincy Black was that he was consistent but unspectacular. He didn’t make many splash plays but made even fewer mistakes. Joe covered the story awhile ago, too. I’m not sure I agree, but I also haven’t repeatedly watched film of every game to grade every player on every play. They see consistency where us fans only saw a replaceable player. Maybe that says more about Dekoda Watson and Adam Haywerd than Black.

  44. BigMacAttack Says:

    I ask again, is this as good as it gets? And why hasn’t he been given a new contract yet? Someone at 1 Buc is obviously not completely enamored by his play. Keep Ruud, sure, but why not look for the next Patrick Willis in the process. Willis will run circles around Ruud, beat him by 25 yds in a 40 yd dash, and then bury him 6′ feet in the ground going head up. And yes play better coverage against the best TE’s. Whatever. Every expert says the same thing about Ruud, but too many FACTS, including no contract tell a different story. When you are looking for the truth, always follow the money. It does not lie.

  45. CharlieB Says:

    And the money says they didn’t need to give him a new contract because of restricted free agency rules and he didn’t force them to, so the Bucs didn’t pay him more than they had to.

    Just because a guy isn’t an all pro doesn’t mean you get rid of a solid starter, especially one with non-statistical value. Look for the next Patrick Willis, sure, but we had bigger problems in the first round and exceptional all pro MLBs with great run and coverage skills don’t reliably come from practice squads.

  46. Espo Says:

    I think I’m going to ignore any of Ruud’s current or former teammates who defend him. Derrick Brooks has too much class to say anything negative. Maybe ML is the least physical position on that defense, but to me, thats dodging the issue. Ruud still needs to learn to tackle.

  47. Hector Says:

    I am Calling out Derrick Brook on this. Yes he was a great player, but he has always been a yes man (a company man). Let me ask all you something! i am going to list 5 linebackers that play the same defense yet do not play anywhere near as soft as Ruud. i don ‘t care what their defense is rank. we are solely speaking of how they play the middle linebacker position.

    1. Brian Urlacher
    2. Thomas Davis
    3. E.J Henderson
    4. Lufa Tatupa (ask cadillac willimas how hard he hits)
    5. Garry Brackett

    These are cover 2 LB’s (middle LB’s) can you say they play the run as soft as Ruud?

    So with that being said, middle LB for a cover scheme doesn’t mean least aggressive! Derrick Brook I call BS on your opinion!

  48. McBuc Says:

    Hecter…Do not go to the sports bar and say this….Just kidding. How is the line playing in front of these guys? I am not saying Ruud is any where near Urlacker, but when you have a talent like that you adjust the scheme to make sure he is involved as much as possible. I agree we cannot take the word of Morris and Dom, becasue Ruud is still their player. Steve White, Brooks, and plenty of other people outside the org say that he is playing his role. I do not know you from Adam, but I will listen to White and Brooks having played in the same system. Each team runs their version different from the Bucs version. Stopping the run starts up front, and then falls to Ruud. you should thank god he can tackle, otherwise we may have lost a few more games.

  49. below me Says:

    he rarely makes “splash” plays, he runs from contact and gets blocked out of plays by wr’s. i don’t like him but my name isn’t Morris or Dominik so my opinion doesn’t matter. if he is on the team i’ll support him if he is off, good riddance. xoxo i heart josh freeman

  50. McBuc Says:

    ESPO…What about Steve White? He never played with Ruud, but went into great detail about his position in the defense? What about Pat Kirwin, a former coach of this defense? He says the same thing. Now, Steve White does not say he is the best thing since sliced bread, but he does say he is playing the role asked of him and doing it well.

  51. McBuc Says:

    All that being said…Can you guys see them tweaking the defense to fit Foster’s play a bit better. He is a “thumper”, and some say he does not cover the pass that well. Those who watched him do not all agree. I do not remember ever watching a game with him in it. would not be against changing it up and seeing what this kid has.

  52. Espo Says:

    I wasn’t referring to Steve White. I was referring to Ruud’s current or former teammates. I’m going to have to find a whole other reason to ignore Steve White. Just kidding. The guy obviously has a lot more football knowledge than I could ever hope for. My whole thing is, everyone keeps talking about the intangibles that Ruud brings. I just want him to tackle. Its really that simple. I’m sure Foster or McKenzie or another newcomer could learn to do these things that Ruud does and also make plays without chasing someone from behind. Shelton Quarles was very good against the pass but he was also amazing against the run. He was always new the football. I know it isn’t fair to compare the two with the teammates Quarles had to help him out. Maybe our new D line will improve Ruud. I hope it does but I’m not too hopeful. Our revolving doors of defensive tackles last year did a decent enough job at holding their gaps and Ruud still couldn’t make a difference.

  53. Espo Says:

    On another note, on the way to work yesterday I saw a Mercedes with a personalized Bucs tag that read “IRA3,” and I thought to myself, “What a d-bag.”

  54. PWNASAURUS Says:

    So if Brooks really though otherwise that Ruud did suck, would he say that on live radio and possibly insult or offend Ruud. NO. So unless someone says they heard from Derrick off the record or off camera I ain’t buying it. When Brooks was on with Ron and Ian a few months ago and they asked him the same thing he said NO Comment. Ruud is gone. Even he knows it. Deal with it Ruddy lovers.

  55. Espo Says:

    I’d like to hear an opposing offensive coordinator’s opinion on him.

  56. m.wesley Says:

    the off coordinators, yeah there licking their chops

  57. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I’ve read most of the posts, and I agree with BigMac the most. First of all, I take #55 at his word. MLB is the least aggressive position in this defense. Fine. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a position that does not need to be aggressive. Big difference. Hell, if that’s the case, why don’t I just go out and play MLB. I can run as fast as Ruud and I’m about the same size. He’s a frickin’ LB in the NFL! They are supposed to tear people’s heads off. That’s what they do! Ruud has had many opportunities to make big hits both in coverage and in the run game, and he almost never does. It is also pure bologna that he is always dropping into coverage. I could show you 10-15 plays a game where he goes straight toward the line without even thinking about dropping in coverage. And yes, I watch every single game (at least twice).

    Again, I don’t think Ruud sucks. I think he is decent. Our poor run defense is so far from being mainly his fault it is ridiculous. I would love for us to keep him, at least for next year. But like so many said, if he was that good, he would have a contract and we wouldn’t be d!&king him around every year.

    And by the way, I googled the crap out of trying to find Monte Kiffin defending Hardy Nickerson for being soft, and the only one I could find was Capt. Tim saying it in about 5 different posts. I lived in Tampa during the Nickerson era, and I NEVER heard one person say anything of the sort. Certainly nothing like Ruud gets. Nickerson would knock the sh%t out of people. Ruud, not so much.

  58. Capt.Tim Says:

    HawaiianBuc- I don’t make things up. I’m always right, and don’t have too. That quote was posted by another Buc Fan. I checked it out, and have reposted it a few times. But I don’t remember where I researched to the first time.

    As far as memory! Just a few days ago, I reminded all the Talib lovers about how many Loooong TDs we were getting torched for, just 2 seasons ago. With Aqib”thug superstar” as our starting CB. No one seemed to have any memory of that at all. We averaged giving up 2 TDs a game over 40 Yds, and no one said he remembered!!!!

    Sadly, even a goldfish has a longer memory than that! Yes, this town kicked both Nickerson and Quarles for being soft. Again, totalling not understanding their jobs here. Trust me, or look it up in archives. Both ways, it’s the truth.

  59. Vince Says:

    In Double Nickel I trust! If 55 says Ruud is playing his position and responsibilities correctly, who the hell are we to question that?! Honestly folks, other than Monte Kiffen who would know that defense better?

  60. Capt.Tim Says:

    Vince- that should be the final word! In double nickels we trust. Amen, move on.

  61. Bucnjim Says:

    Here is a quote from one of the few articles I could find on Nickerson:

    Hardy “The Dragon” Nickerson was a beast on the football field. He was the man who started changing the Bucs’ culture of losing when he came to the Bucs out of Pittsburgh. He was the first truly succesful free agent acquisition the Buccaneers made, perhaps ever. Hardy mde 5 Pro Bowls with the Buccaneers and was elected to the 1990s All-Decade Team. Hardy Nickerson is the best player the Bucs have ever had at the position, and quite possibly the best player the Bucs will ever have at the position. He was a punishing run-stuffer, a hard hitter yet he was still good enough to drop deep in coverage in the Tampa 2. Despite that, every Bucs MLB is measured by Nickerson’s memory, which creates two problems: first, the Bucs play a different style of defense now than they did then. Second, it’s very hard to live up to a player like Nickerson.

    Five Pro Bowls and is part of the All Decade Team. It might not be fair to compare Ruud to Nickerson, but you can’t blame some of us for looking to upgrade the position. Like I’ve said; I have no problem with average players such as Ruud. I have a problem with team captains & team leaders being soft & average. That makes the entire defense soft and average.

  62. OAR Says:

    “I have a problem with team captains & team leaders being soft & average. That makes the entire defense soft and average.”

    Not true? Ruud was part of 3 top 10 defenses. 2005, 2007, and 2008. So, I’m not sure how an average and soft defense make it to top ten ratings? Please explain further!

  63. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “I don’t make things up. I’m always right, and don’t have too. ”


    That’s a bit egotistical, don’t you think? Hell, why do we even have a discussion if you are always right. if I didn’t read the author, I would have thought that comment came from either Thomas or my wife.

    2 years ago, we gave up 9 TD’s of 40+ yards, so 2 per game is quite an exaggeration, although I agree that is still way too much. I would, however, point out that we gave up zero once Raheem took over the defense and went back to the system Talib (and everyone else) was drafted for. I’m not a Talib lover, but I’m not going to pin that on him. Bates was a disaster for just about everyone on our defense. I am not always right, but I am right on that.

    As for Nickerson, it’s ridiculous to say he received the same amount of criticism as Ruud. I don’t care what you say (even if you are always right), I lived here and never heard it. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but it wasn’t as prevalent as it is with Ruud. The damn flight attendant on my flight from Houston to Tampa was complaining how soft Ruud was. Again, I’m not saying he is soft, but it wouldn’t hurt for him to bulk up and lay the wood every so often. And don’t tell me for a minute Nickerson didn’t lay the wood. I get it that he is often backpedaling, which will reduce his power. However, there are also many many times where he doesn’t and he still doesn’t make bit hits. If that were not true, don’t you think he would be signed by now?

  64. Bucnjim Says:


    Ruud was barely even a Buc in 2005 and 2007 & 2008 the Defensive team Captains were Brooks, Barber & Hovan. To my knowledge Ruud was promoted to team “C” in 2009 & 2010.
    2009 overall Defense 27th Run Defense 32nd
    2010 overall Defense 17th Run Defense 28th

  65. Bucnjim Says:

    I’m talking about players to lead this team who are future Superstars. Ruud is not a past, present or future Superstar! This team needs physical leaders on the field.

  66. McBuc Says:

    OK, I think Hawaiian and Bucnjim have swayed me a bit. I agree that we could upgrade the position, and maybe Foster will be that upgrade. It does appear they are brining him in to challenge Ruud. I just do not think we can blame the entire run defense on Ruud…Hey, they improved by 10 slots from 2009, so that alone is a pretty good move in the right direction.

  67. OAR Says:

    I see, said the blind man. But, I don’t necessarily think Brooks was a “physical beast” at the LB position or Barber at CB for that fact, either. With that said, I just don’t agree that a team captain has to be an agressive “physical beast”, to not make the team defense soft or average.

  68. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Hardy Nickerson was also selected to 5 Pro Bowls while in Tampa, and was an All-Pro 4 times. And if I remember correctly, he played in that non-aggressive position of MLB. Remind me again, how many times has Ruud had those accomplishments? That’s just a silly comparison – his nickname was the freaking “Dragon” for crying out loud!

    Ruud, like all average LB’s, will be considerably better with really good players around him. When you have good players around you, you can focus your attention on what you do best, and have less responsibility on what you do poorly, which in Ruud’s case is being a run-stuffing, hard-hitting player. However, when your teammates are not as good, you have to pick up the slack, which is what Ruud has had to do the last few years. But if I hear one more comparison between Ruud and Nickerson, my head is going to explode!!

  69. Bucnjim Says:

    Oar you are exactly right! The leader of the defense doesn’t HAVE to be Physical, but they should be counted on to make splash plays AND make plays when the team really needs them. Like a fourth quarter last stand or a interception to seal the game. That is what Brooks and Barber Brought to the table.

  70. OAR Says:

    Very true, but you are talking about Brooks. Not many LBs are like him, and that’s why I’ll take his word on anything football!

  71. Bucnjim Says:

    Fair enough! I think we’ve worn out this post anyway!

  72. Bucnjim Says:

    We’re all just crazy Bucs fans anyway!

  73. OAR Says:

    Hell to the YES!