Blogger: Barrett Ruud Is Done In Tampa Bay

January 14th, 2011

Joe knows Barrett Ruud is a lightning rod for Bucs fans.

There are some voices — Ian Beckles and Justin Pawlowski of WDAE-AM 620 — who are convinced Ruud is softer than the bosom of Rachel Watson.

Beckles constantly rails that Ruud is scared of contract — a grievous and unforgivable mortal sin for a middle linebacker in the NFL.

Pawlowski is known to grumble over Ruud’s perceived inability to shed blockers.

Then there are those, such as former Bucs defensive end Steve White, who believe Ruud is doing nearly everything he is asked in Bucs coach Raheem Morris’ defense. That Ruud is not meant to be a second-level stopgap because that is the responsibility of the defensive tackles, among others.

White, and other Ruud defenders, point to his many tackles. Beckles and Pawlowski point to how those tackles are made on the third level.

There seems no middle ground with Bucs fans with Ruud. Either he is doing his job splendidly, or he is an insult to middle linebackers of the past who strapped on shoulder pads in the NFL.

One thing is certain for NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas. He of the employ of the Soviet mouse outfit in Bristol appeared on The Fabulous Sports Babe Show, heard locally on WHBO-AM 1040, and flatly stated that Ruud has played in his final game for the Bucs.

Joe is paraphrasing here as he was behind the wheel and unable to take notes without wrecking his prized Ford Ranger, but blogger Yasinskas stated that the Bucs do not place a high monetary value on a middle linebacker in their defense scheme, so Ruud getting a hefty salary from the Bucs is out of the question. Therefore, the Bucs will not meet Ruud’s contract demands.

As a result, Ruud, blogger Yasinskas explained, will be able to go to a team that does value middle linebackers and where he will be able to dominate opposing offenses and be paid an honest salary commensurate with veteran middle linebackers.

Joe has tried to keep an open mind about Ruud. He believes Ruud’s detractors do have valid questions. However, Joe does not know the intimate responsibilities of a middle linebacker in a Tampa-2 defense. Simply put, when White breaks down how to play the Tampa-2, Joe takes notice.

Joe will say, and has, that when an old man of a cornerback and a rookie seventh round draft pick of a safety make as many or more splash plays against the run inside the box as your middle linebacker, well, Joe believes it’s fair to question Ruud.

Now yes, Ruud does rack up a lot of tackles. Those of the proverbial seven yards downfield as Pawlowski often points out. Ruud’s defenders state a tackle is a tackle but normally, if a safety leads a team in tackles, as Ruud has in the past — he was second in Bucs tackles this season — a third-level player, one would ask what the problem is, that a safety should not be leading a team in tackles.

If Ruud’s tackles are, as many believe, all seven yards downfield, is that not not the third level?

Perhaps Ruud is more safety than middle linebacker and just the fact he wears the cloak of middle linebacker is the problem because people — right or wrong — have a perception of a middle linebacker that Ruud simply will never match? Maybe Ruud is a safety in a middle linebacker’s clothing?

If that is the case, would it be fair to say the Bucs defense plays a 42 front and not a 43 front?

35 Responses to “Blogger: Barrett Ruud Is Done In Tampa Bay”

  1. buc40 Says:

    “Maybe Ruud is a safety in a middle linebacker‚Äôs clothing?”

    That just about sums it up…He may not even be a good safety

  2. Buc You Says:

    The run defense issues stem from Raheems 3-2-6s and 3-3-5s all while STILL trying to blitz.

  3. Travis Says:

    Get this turd outa here and draft a MLB in either round 1 or 2.

    Akeem Ayers UCLA in the 1st if we dont go DE (reminds me alot of Rolondo McClain)
    or
    Nate Irving NCstate/ Martez Wilson Illinois in 2nd

  4. John Says:

    Lets just think logically here..

    Tampa 2 asks the MLB to drop into coverage.. maybe thats why some are coming in the 3rd level?

    He has made many in the 2nd level too.. I think he is a GREAT player.. But he is not what we need.. we need a thumper…

  5. SamsonSneed Says:

    Geno Hayes (220lbs) is a safety pretending to be a Linebacker.

    Ruud is just a sh!tty MLB pretending to be a great one.

  6. Bucnjim Says:

    Sorry, but you don’t drop into coverage on a running play. He gets blocked into the second and third level so he’s right there to make the play. John Lynch and several others would take offense to calling Ruud a Safety. Watch these playoff games with the Packers, Bears, Patriots, Jets, Steelers & Ravens. The one thing all these teams have in common is stellar LB play. These guys will knock the crap out of you!

  7. Chris Says:

    Joe, I think the answer lies somewhere in between on Ruud. He is not as good as some people think but not as bad as others think either. He is solid and makes a ton of tackles but where are the big plays. and that is not to say I have never seen him make a big play but I have not seen enough of them. One has to wonder if Raheem’s defensive scheme’s are clever and new age or the scheme’s are to cover up a weekness of the defense, the linebacking core.

  8. Dave Says:

    Yes, sometimes he drops back into coverage… so what.

    They were gashed for 120+ yards over and over and over again in the run. That has very little to do with him dropping into coverage every once in a while.

    He is best suited to be an OLB (to slow for safety). He is not a MLB, regardless of the type of scheme the team runs. He is a decent player who is smart, but not a MLB.

    JOE:

    Any word on whether the Bucs think Watson or Black or someone else can step up an be the MLB guy?

    My instinct says they draft a DE, then a MLB, then another DE in rounds 1-3. BUT, that MLB will not be out there alot the first year (I don’t think anyway).
    I believe the startes next year are Hayes and Watson on the outside and Black in the MLB with a rookie looking to get in there every chance he can.

  9. Joe Says:

    Dave:

    Any word on whether the Bucs think Watson or Black or someone else can step up an be the MLB guy?

    Little if any word on who the Bucs are sniffing around for a MLB simply because, publicly, they have not closed the door on re-signing Ruud.

  10. bucfanjeff Says:

    Somebody has to teach a new MLB the ropes and he’s just the guy to do it. Yes we need a thumper, but throwing a rookie in there is a mistake, especially since the DL woes are not quite fixed. We need Ruud for a couple more years.

  11. oar Says:

    That’s Mr. Tuurd too you, Travis!

  12. Buc You Says:

    Exactly Jeff… if they wanted to replace Ruud then they would have drafted a replacement and had him waiting in the wings. Draft a MLB this year and re-sign Ruud. In fact the last thing you really want is to start rookies at any position. Resign all your guys and draft replacements and over time work the replacements in. Right now there is no alternative.

    And AGAIN, if Raheem keeps calling prevent defenses then nobody is going to stop the run. Hello McFly!

  13. feel Says:

    Tyrone McKenzie is our MLB next season.

  14. aldo Says:

    my two cents: maybe hes not physical but sure he is smart, if i have to choose, i think he will be gone, he isnt the MLB that we want, but who am i to argue raheem if hw wants to keep him…..

    again, im not a football guru, but i would move black to MLB and try to move Dekoda Watson to SLB, and im ignoring the fact we will be picking one maybe 2 LBs for this team.

    thats all that i got

  15. MichiganBucsFan Says:

    I can see the Bucs resigning Ruud (whether they plan to keep him long term or not) just to spend a little money and get back to the cap

    and I have mixed feeling on Ruud, I know the Tampa 2 requires your MLB to be good in pass coverage, but it would be nice to get a good run stuffer. I’ve always thought Ruud was better suited for OLB tho

  16. gotbbucs Says:

    how often did anybody see ruud drop into the deep 3rd this year? they are not running the old tampa 2 anymore people. this is a hybrid that doesnt reguire the same thing anymore. i would rather see watson or hayward get a shot at it over ruud.

  17. Theodore Says:

    The MLB in the Tampa-2 (as opposed to the Cover-2) is responsible for deep middle coverage, so to Ruud’s defense, he can’t just charge forward into the line at the snap.

    With that said, Ruud does nothing noticeable that helps the run nor the pass. The only contract demand Ruud should be making is that he’s offered one.

  18. MTM Says:

    Ruud stats for tackles are high I’m sure. But great defenses run the offense off the field quickly. Which in turn drops tackle stats, interception etc…. If the Tampa 2 doesn’t require the MLB to make run stops. Then why is Ronde and the rest of team making more splash plays on RB’s. Thats BS.

  19. Capt.Tim Says:

    Typical example of blaming the player for the scheme. Hardy Nicholson was a thumper for Pittsburgh. We wanted him for his speed and agility. He was NOT a thumper here, but was the perfect fit for our defense because of his coverage skills. Quarles was what,225#, again not a thumper. As Steve White has pointed out, MLB is assigned a Zone, and is primarily required to have coverage skills. He is responsible for the shallow middle, or strong side flats, depending on the play. The guys who are letting us down are Black and Hayes. They are supposed to run down the backs with speed. Derrick Brooks ran them down from behind. Both of our outside LBs are soft. Hayes is to small, and Black has been disappointing. MLB is not very important in our scheme. What is important is intelligence and Coverage skills. So, while Ruud is never going to be a “thumper” due to scheme, he also is not worth the money to us, that he would be to a team with a more prominent MLB role. He will probably leave. And it probably won’t matter.

  20. gitarlvr Says:

    @Capt. Tim

    Now dont get me wrong I like Barrett Ruud and think he is an ideal Cover 2 MLB. Its too bad the Bucs are running a 3 man front nearly half the damn time, which puts Ruud out of his element(Hayes and Black also weren’t drafted for a 3 man front). Unfortunately Ruud seems to have little to no aptitude for playing in a 3 man front. Bucs need a more prototype 3-4 linebacker(s) if they are ever going to get serious about blitzing and run stuffing out of a 3 man front. The problem with this whole argument is that its an either\or situation. Its either the scheme change OR the player that is the problem, depending on how you look at it. Raheem clearly intends to stay with the hybrid scheme and so I wish he and Dominik good luck finding linebackers in the draft that have the skills to excel in both fronts. It’s going to be hard to do. How many guys are out there that can play coverage like a Barrett Ruud AND pass rush\stuff the run like a Lamarr Woodley? Not many.

  21. Capt.Tim Says:

    Gitarlvr- I agree. We are sort of in a limbo. Ruud is a good tampa 2 LB. Problem is, we really don’t run a Tampa 2, or even a 2.1 , anymore. Raheem is developing an entirely new Defense. Last year, our base defense was a 3-3-5. We frequently ran a 3-2-6! Since we won 10 games with it, I like it, although Raheem is far from done developing it. Have you noticed the new DEs we have brought in- Powell, McGee,and Worthington. Worthington was listed as a DT initially, but his title was changed to DE a month ago. What they have in common is they are all around 300#. that is a 3-4 DE, not a 4-3 guy, who is prototypically around 275# and fast. I think we are still defining what LBs we need for this new Defense. I think they will end up bigger- around 240-250, in the Dakota Watson mode. We’ll have to see where Raheem goes with this new Defense. Should be interesting

  22. gitarlvr Says:

    All interesting stuff Capt. Tim. No doubt that the line personnel has already been shifting towards 3 man front type guys. There is no doubt the average linebacker size on this D needs to move up to around 250 lbs to see real production out of the 3 man fronts. What do you think of this? In addition to 3-3-5, the Bucs have also ran a 3-4 defense situationally this year. Could Raheem be slowly morphing this defense into a primarily 3-4 defense? Maybe going with the hybrid while he acquires the necessary personnel rather than jumping straight into it like some others have mistakenly done recently(Buffalo).?

  23. gotbbucs Says:

    if they were going to switch to a 3-4 defense theres no way they would have used the top 2 picks on 3-tech dt’s. raheem was just trying to throw different looks at teams because we dont have the personel to sit in our base defense, a 4-3.

  24. Derf Says:

    bucfanjeff wrote: “… but throwing a rookie in there is a mistake, especially since the DL woes are not quite fixed. ”

    I thought that as well THIS year with all the rookies and guess what? It turned out better than I thought.

    Let’s face it, this is the NFL; if you got it flaunt it, if not start Ruud….

  25. Capt.Tim Says:

    Gitarlvr- I seem to recall both McCoy and price lined up at DE numerous times this year. Okam is a prototype 3-4 nose tackle. Could be. But again, I think Raheem Is going in an all new direction. Needs to, a lot of people have figured out how to attack the base Tampa 2.

  26. gitarlvr Says:

    gotbbucs- 3 technique tackles do get converted to 3-4 DE’s in the NFL. Gerald McCoy would be by no means the first and obviously is already being used as such half the time so your statement doesn’t really hold water. I was just floating it out there as a conspiracy theory though. I admit it’s not the most likely scenario but, IMHO, the Bucs MIGHT be better off converting all the way or going back to a more dedicated Tampa2 style defense. Im just a little worried that personnel, primarily linebackers, will be hard to find to fit ALL the roles expected of them in “the hybrid”. There is a chance that this hybrid scheme will cause the Bucs D to always be jack of all trades\master of none.

  27. gotbbucs Says:

    ok gitarlvr, if thats the case then my whole view of mark dominik has changed. if he used the first two picks in last years loaded draft on 3-tech dt’s with the intention of turning them into 3-4 5-techs then he should be fired right now.

  28. gitarlvr Says:

    gotbbucs- You are aware that most 3-4 DE’s in the NFL were tackles in college right? As I said before I admit my theory is unlikely but its certainly not implausible. I mean Dominik signed a 6’5″ 350lb prototype 3-4 nose tackle and has been playing him at the 3 technique in a 4-3. Does that change your opinion of Dominik? The Bucs absolutely have the d-line personnel to be a 3-4 defense right now. It would actually be easier to switch to the 3-4 and find a couple of pass rushing outside linebackers in the draft than it would be to actually find a competent pass rushing 4-3 defensive end. That is one of the primary reasons the 3-4 is rapidly taking over as the premiere defense in the NFL. Once again, I am not advocating or assuming that the Bucs would make the switch. I am just throwing it out there that its a doable possibility and *MIGHT* actually be the right move. Am I the only one that sees what the defenses of teams like the Steelers, Packers, and Jets are capable of and gets jealous? I mean certainly the Ruud bashers MUST realize that the massive “thumpers” they want at LB are the kind of guys that are better fits for a 3-4 than a 4-3 base defense. Im just sayin…

  29. Guest#27 Says:

    Really good conversation thread here.

    I agree with many of you guys.

    I do think using Okam at nose while rotating the rest in primarily a 34 is what we should start doing.

    We obviously need to get bigger at LB and perhaps Safety to do this. So draft 2-3 beastly LBs and or pick one up in free agency.

    Go get Singletary to run this defense though if you are gonna do this.

  30. gotbbucs Says:

    I repeat, they DID NOT draft McCoy at #3 to turn him into a freaking 5-Tech, and they sure as hell didn’t draft two 5-Techs in a row in the first two rounds. We don’t even have the coaching staff to teach it anyway.

  31. moore0316 Says:

    I’m no GM, but two plays this year keep popping into my head when I see talk of Ruud resigning. A screen play in San Fran and screen play in Balt. In San Fran, a freaking WR blocked Ruud and pushed him 10 yards down the field and he didn’t even seem to try/want to shed the block. In Balt, he read the screen ran out then ran AWAY from two linemen. He actually looked like he turned and ran off the field! By the by, if anyone thinks Hardy wasn’t physical, they weren’t watching the Bucs in the 90’s. He was the thumper on the field and in the locker room. You savvy?

  32. moore0316 Says:

    p.s.
    is just me, or did Hardy’s career start to go down hill when he got braces? I really missed that scary chipped tooth grin he had.

  33. Architek79 Says:

    Look no further than Week 16, Chris Ivory HB lead, Ruud under his pads.

  34. The D Says:

    Theres a guy in the draft named Martez Wilson. Hes a big, playmaking Mike that would be a good 2nd round pick. We could re-sign Ruud and move him to Sam, but still have him be the qb of the defense. We get the thumper everyone seems to want, but keep the same organizer. Plus I think Ruud would be a better Sam than Black is.

  35. Bucnjim Says:

    All you have to do is turn on the Packers game tonight to see Mathews and Hawk. These two are good examples of how LB’s are supposed to play.