Barrett Ruud Defends Self, “I Wasn’t Bad”

May 20th, 2010

The mystery of Barrett Ruud continues. One of the nicest guys around, Ruud, sadly, has been a target of some, including a handful of vocal critics, who claim he’s not a run-stuffer and his tackle totals are misleading.

Ruud has heard the critics. He reads blogs (gasp!). He recently decided to defend himself with veteran St. Petersburg Times columnist Gary Shelton, claiming he had a better than average season.

“I read the bloggers,” Ruud said, grinning. “I read that I make all of my tackles 7 yards downfield. But a lot of times, a tackle 7 yards downfield is a great tackle, because you can keep a guy from going 60 yards. When I evaluate the great linebackers of the NFL, I see a lot of guys making tackles 7 yards down the field. They’re making a great play when a guy looks like he’s about to break it outside…

“Last year? I was … good. I wasn’t great, but I wasn’t bad.”

Ruud is right on target in that analysis. But was the fact this happened seemingly far too often a reflection of subpar play upfront from the defensive line, or as Joe’s good friend Justin Pawlowski of WDAE-AM 620 (often) claims, that Ruud can’t shed a block?

Or perhaps is it a combination?

Ruud is an enigma. He will go for stretches of games where he plays like a beast of a middle linebacker, even making some of the best pass coverage plays Joe has ever seen a middle linebacker make.

Then, when he’s chasing guys down from behind, Ruud looks more like a track relay team member in a baton-exchange than a run-stopper. Given the fact Ruud is one of the best standup guys Joe has ever had to deal with and by all accounts a great teammate, Joe’s willing to give him rope.

Let’s be honest, it’s hard for any linebacker to make plays when he has offensive linemen crawling all over him, just ask Brian Urlacher. There’s also a reason the Bucs selected two defensive tackles with their first two picks of last month’s draft, and released starter Chris Hovan.

If all Ruud needed was help upfront with the defensive line, the improvement in Ruud’s play may not come soon enough. Ruud’s contract is up this year and let’s remember, the Bucs are counting on a lot of young guys on the defensive line, second-year tackle Roy Miller being the “veteran” of the group.

Will Miller and the two rookies develop quick enough this season to save Ruud’s Bucs days?

10 Responses to “Barrett Ruud Defends Self, “I Wasn’t Bad””

  1. JimBuc Says:

    Fans are fickle. Couple years ago Ruud is an “overlooked pro bowler,” now he “sucks” even though the entire Bucs D sucked last year and they played most of the season in a different system. The “trade Ruud” argument usually falls apart when one asks who the replacement would be.

  2. tampa2 Says:

    I noticed that Ruud didn’t blame anyone on that poor defensive line. He would have been justified had he said “what do you expect when the whole offensive line is 7 yards downfield blocking for the runner?” And while the D-line will improve in time, don’t look for miracles out of the 2 rookies in the middle. They are rookies and will learn their positions the hard way. Welcome to the NFL, rookies! Ruud will still have his hands full this year.

  3. bucfanjeff Says:

    Ruud is a damn fine LB. I was getting irritated reading this until the 2nd half of your post. This is a team game, with that, I don’t care how good your LB and DB’s might be, if you can’t control the line of scrimmage with the DL, you’re going to expose flaws in everyone. Let’s hope McCoy and Price are quick learners.

  4. Rob Says:

    The Great Middle LB’s always find a way to make plays and distinguish themselves. Ruud is far from Great. A real MLB would make a huge difference in the run defense.

  5. sgw94 Says:

    Just as a reminder Ray Lewis himself, who sets the standard for great middle linebackers in recent times, went to the media to complain a few years back that he didn’t have the kind of interior linemen in front of him that would let him be great. The Ravens ended up drafting Ngata and Ray started playing on an All World level again. Like I said yesterday, Ruud isn’t Ray Lewis, but he is pretty damn good.

  6. Joe Says:


    A couple of years ago the Bears had injuries up front. All of a sudden, Brian Urlacher was getting blown off the ball like a tackling dummy.

  7. Mark Says:

    Steve/Joe – very appropriate examples…

    Some people really do need to take their blinders off…

  8. kool Says:

    will someone tell him to cut his hair? Linebackers should have buzz cuts not flowing locks, reminds me of Barbie Carpenter’s soft look.

  9. Eric Says:

    I fear counting on the rookies on the defensive line will not improve Mr. Ruuds position, at least not for 2010.

  10. jarrett Says:

    THe middle line backer in the tampa two’s first step is dropping in to coverage. Steve correct me if im wrong but isnt he supposed to get as much depth as possible. I know if he diagnoses the play as a run he is supposed to come up and make the play, but his first step is supposed to be back unless it is an obvious run situation. I think in our defense he is asked to drop in coverage so i do not think this criticism is fair. He does what he asked to do, and is nowhere near one of our biggest concerns.