Roy Cummings Talks Ruud, Barber & Lockout

January 25th, 2011

Joe often checks in with his beat writer brethren to talk Bucs football and kick around the latest buzz. Some of these guys are actually pretty cool. The esteemed Woody Cummings, of the The Tampa Tribune and, was gracious enough to let Joe hit him up for a Q & A exclusively for readers. Below is Part II to enjoy. If you missed Part I, then you’re outta luck then you can check it out here

Joe: Not trying to wade into the Barrett Ruud debate, but how much of  a need is it for Dominik to upgrade the linebacker corps? Or are Dominik and/or Rah content with Ruud, Hayes and Quincy Black?

Tampa Tribune beat writer Roy “Woody” Cummings: I don’t think the Bucs feel as good about that trio as they did a year ago at this time, and the difference there is the play of  Hayes and Black. The Bucs were feeling pretty good about those two at the end of the 2009 season, but neither performed at a consistently high level in 2010. They’re still young but I think the Bucs will definitely look for upgrades for at least one of them this year. As for Ruud, I’m a believer. No, he’s not real physical, but  he always has the defense in the right play and that’s his  first  priority.

As for his tackling, he’s a second-level defender.  That’s why most of his tackles are made 5-7 yards downfield. He starts almost every play there and his first duty following the snap is often to fall back a step in coverage. The Bucs don’t ask their MLB  to attack the line of scrimmage or the quarterback. In fact, they never have. That’s why I don’t understand why everybody wants Ruud  to be something the Bucs don’t want him to be. That’s proven to be  the case, though. Guess fans just have to have  somebody to pick on. 

As for re-signing him, I don’t think that will come down to money as much as many others do. Again, I cite the team’s stated goals of drafting, developing and re-signing its own players as reason No. 1. The biggest factor that will play into whether the Bucs re-sign Ruud will be the availability of another MLB whose as good as he is. If they think they can find someone as good or better than Ruud either  in free agency, the draft or on their roster (Black?) they may let him go. If not, they’ve got to re-sign him.

Joe: Obviously, after the CBA expires the Bucs won’t be able to work out at One Buc Palace. Listening to coaches on Sirius NFL Radio like  Pete Carroll, who are basically making plans for what players should do on their own time in the event of a work stoppage, are you hearing whispers of Freeman (or someone else) already organizing  workouts at a high school or some place for the players to get  together on their own away from One Buc Palace?

Cummings: We asked Josh about that the Monday after the season and his  response was, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll make sure we’re ready when the  season starts.’ That tells me that Freeman will do whatever he has to do to get in daily workouts with his receivers, running backs and centers.

Joe: When the lockout/work stoppage happens, guys like Arrelious Benn will not be allowed to rehab at One Buc Palace. What are guys like Benn, Cody Grimm and the rest of the Bucs wounded supposed to do?

Cummings: The Bucs will have a rehab program laid out for them and they’ll  just have to follow it. The program will probably include regular  visits for checkups to doctors and physicians that the team knows and trusts. It’s going to be a strange time for those guys, but I can promise you that those who really care will find a way to stay  
in touch with the team’s trainers and stay on top of their rehab.

Joe: It seems pretty clear now that Ronde Barber’s return will come down to money. Can you envision a scenario in which the Bucs let him test the free agent market?

Cummings: No, I really don’t, because I don’t think Barber has any interest in playing anywhere else. And don’t get all worked up about  Raheem saying Barber’s coming back as his starting right corner. Barber is coming back under that pretense and that presumption will  be the basis of any contract negotiation that takes place. Look, Mark Dominik all but said the same thing the Monday after the season ended. No one is prepared to permanently move Ronde to slot corner just yet. He may wind up playing all his snaps there at some point in time, but someone is going to have to outplay him at RCB first.

33 Responses to “Roy Cummings Talks Ruud, Barber & Lockout”

  1. Capt.Tim Says:

    Another great and accurate interview with Roy. Ruud does what the defense requires him to do. All the talk about a big run stopping MLB is delusional. We have never had a MLB like that in the TamPa 2 style defense- ever!!! The last run stopping, punishing MLB we had was Ervin Randall. And that was a different style Defense. Our MLB is mostly a COVERAGE guy. Black and Hayes are supposed to run down the plays from the backfield. They Both played like sissies this year. Hayes made some splash plays- but RBs in the backfield? Neither one of them wanted any part of it! Brooks and June musta been piling watching how these two played. That’s why all the mock drafts are showing us upgrading Sam and Wil Lb, not MLB! Those two played poorly this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new LB coach before the season starts, because this unit performed more poorly than any other, IMO.

  2. gitarlvr Says:

    Quincy Black is the guy who will be replaced with a big 250+ lb. linebacker to be the new “redskin” linebacker. I see the Bucs taking that linebacker in the first round over Adrian Clayborn. Akeem Ayers if he is available would be a match made in heaven.

  3. Guest#27 Says:

    “Akeem Ayers if he is available would be a match made in heaven.”

    100% agree.

    But I still would re-sign the big and athletic Quincy Black.

  4. MVPFreeman Says:

    Coming from a guy who thinks the Bucs are going to draft a TE with thier second draft pick.

  5. RustyRhino Says:

    I keep seeing this “No, he’s not real physical, but he always has the defense in the right play and that’s his first priority.”
    and wondering if he might be the reason we never can stop the run. He has the team playing the “right” defense but we keep getting gashed and he hopefully has to make the stop 9-18 yards down field… Maybe he has them in the wrong defense??

  6. Dave Says:

    RustyRhino – I agree completely

    Capt Tim – disagree. Quarles could stop a RB a the LOS.

    Black might be better at the MLB spot with Watson, Hayes, and a rookie fighting for OLB time

  7. espo Says:

    I keep wishing that Ruud would play like Shelton Quarles, Jamie Duncan, or Hardy Nickerson. I guess that’s too much to ask according to this article. Maybe I should just want him to tackle better than Sabby. True, Ruud is usually in the right place during pass coverage, but at times with the 1 on their jersey and getting ran over, they looked very much alike. I defended Ruud the last few years saying that he would play better with DT beasts in front of him. I wouldn’t call our DT play stellar, but I think they did enough for me to put more of the blame on Ruud.

  8. David Says:

    Did Rudd have the right defensive set up for the first quarter of the redskins game? Or any other game where we were constantly gashed up the middle?

  9. BigMacAttack Says:

    My eyes and perception can’t wholeheartedly agree with Roy sCum on Ruud. Yes there are many times when Ruud is not asked(as he puts it) to attack the line of scrimmage, but when a RB is headed straight for Ruud, often time a problem ensues. I think it was against Seattle when Ruud was completely blown-out-trucked as he attacked the gap and it wasn’t even close. I believe Ruud is okay maybe smart and knows the defense, but he is not a rocket scientist either, so I don’t want to give him that much Brain credit because I don’t believe it to be true. I don’t think Ruud is all that instinctive either, maybe he’s too mechanical. If I was being Thomas and the only one calling for change at MLB then maybe I’m stupid and don’t know. But Hey, WTF? A major portion of our fan base is calling Ruud out and we can’t all be wrong. I think Roy Cummings is a hack from way back, and doesn’t want to lose his spot in line to service his master(Dom)’s needs. It is time for an upgrade at MLB and see what Watson, Hayes, Black & Heyward can do with a real banger in the middle. My guess is that everybody improves. Rah’s system needs speed and Ruud is slow. He couldn’t keep up with a linemen running a pass play. He isn’t strong and has spaghetti arms. WTF again? Cody Grimm hits harder than Ruud. Don’t let the door hitcha….

    Barrett Ruud, you are the weakest link.

  10. bucfanjeff Says:

    Roy is very accurate in his responses.

  11. Jonny Says:

    I always thought Roy Cummings and Woody Cummings were 2 different people /facepalm

  12. grasshopp427er Says:

    the thing with ruud is he’s not doing what other MLB’s did in our system. namely shelton quarles and hardy nickerson. maybe they played with the same “job” but better “instincts”? this was never a problem with either of those guys.
    another thing with ruud is that after, what 5-6 years now. i just don’t think he has anything left in the tank as far as playing at his highest level. we got that about 3-4 years ago. but now he is JAG (just another guy). we could do better. 6 years in the league is average lifetime.
    but to my original point. if the system hasn’t changed since hardy and shelton, and they were both very good here. then why did they play better run D than this guy. you have to answer me that before i will believe that this guy is doing his job well.
    and maybe he is just not as good as those 2. and maybe his instinct are not as good. whatever the answer we no longer have DB playing beside our MLB so it’s time for someone to step up. i’ll give Hayes another year. never was sold on black. that leaves ruud. and ask me, the guy needs to be replaced.

  13. grasshopp427er Says:

    ps – espo. he pretty much plays like jamie duncan.

  14. grasshopp427er Says:

    and from my recollections every time hardy spit in a RB face it was within 2-3 yards of the LOS.

  15. Pete 422 Says:

    I’m sorry, but a MLB should be physical. I don’t remember Quarles or Nickerson getting running back.

  16. Capt.Tim Says:

    Grasshopper- hardy wasn’t the “spitter”. That was bill Romanoski with the raiders. Ruud plays the position EXACTLY like Quarles and Nickerson, except Ruud gets even more tackles. It’s not his job to clog the middle . It’s his job to drop back 5 yards and defend the pass in the shallow middle. If you are remembering Quarles or Nickerson as run stuffing MLBs, then you need to go watch films from those teams. They weren’t, you’re wrong. They played the pass just like’s our scheme, and was during the Kiffin years. You remember Nickerson and Quarles as great LBs( and they were!!), because we slammed the run back then. But it wasn’t those two! It was Brooks and June. They are the Run support backers. And the two we have nowwere bad this year. Thats why all the mocks show us drafting Outside backers. The experts who know this defense( like Roy, and tons of others!) know he wasn’t doing their job this year! Black(SOFT!!!!) and Hayes(too small).

  17. Guest#27 Says:

    “…He has the team playing the “right” defense but we keep getting gashed and he hopefully has to make the stop 9-18 yards down field… Maybe he has them in the wrong defense??”

    Has it ever occurred to you that RAHEEM MORRIS is calling the WRONG defense???????????????????

  18. grasshopp427er Says:

    capt tim – “NEW YORK (AP) _ Hardy Nickerson of the Tampa Bay Bucs, was fined $7,500 by the NFL today for spitting on Carolina’s William Floyd during their game last Sunday.

    Nickerson, who also spit on Floyd last season during an altercation when Floyd played for San Francisco, had already apologized on”

    thats twice a sa buc. then he went to jax and spit on a guy too where you could see lougie swinging around on his facemask. youtube it bro, im sure it’s out there.. oh yes, he was a spitter.

    and IMO we have never crushed the run with the tampa 2. it has always been a liabuility. and you are correct. i understand that our MLB plays the pass and drops at the snap. thats why i question the instincts of ruud. when a guy lines up about 7 yards away from you and immediately takes ball and comes directlyat you and you make taCKLE 9 YARD DOWN FIELD, you should stop playing the pass and step into whole and make tackle.

    ruud had his time and it’s up. i believ this is why the bucs haven’t paid him. they are getting what they can from him but he is not getting a raise because he doesn’t deserve it. he is average at best. and after 5 years if you are only average, it is time you be replaced.
    hardy/quarles had better instinct is what i think. this helped them realize “hey, holy crap that big running back coming right at me has the ball in his hands…think i’ll step in here and make this tackle” paint it how you want this guy is no nickerson/quarles.

  19. Tom Says:

    “The Bucs don’t ask their MLB to attack the line of scrimmage or the quarterback. In fact, they never have.”

    Let’s start off with the fact that it appears Roy thinks that the Bucs still run the Tampa 2 all day long on defense.

    Now I’m sure Roy is too busy doing whatever he does to not pay attention to the team he is paid to cover but the Bucs actually ran a number of plays out of a 3-4 and 3-3-5 defense last year. In fact of the 26 sacks our D produced, 15 (58%) came from the D line and 11 (42%) came from other positions. Ruud himself had 2 sacks last year which was as many as ‘pass rushing’ LBer Quincy Black had.

    Ruud must be significantly better than even Roy thinks he is if he is able to sack the QB without ever attacking the LOS.

    FWIW the Bucs run D with Ruud as starting MLB: 17th (2007) 19th (2008) 32nd (2009) and 28th (2010).

  20. grasshopp427er Says:

    tim – that was a 1998 article. google it. i know my bucs bro.

  21. grasshopp427er Says:

    and tim, im not asking the guy to be great at stopping the run. maybe just not suck at it.

  22. Guest#27 Says:

    “FWIW the Bucs run D with Ruud as starting MLB: 17th (2007) 19th (2008) 32nd (2009) and 28th (2010).”

    That proves that it is Raheem Morris right there.

  23. Capt.Tim Says:

    Grasshopper- I did not remember Hardy being a spitter, lol. Thanks for the info. I hear what you’re saying, and you are probably right to a point. But I think that MLB isn’t as important in our defense, as it is in other defenses. I think Ruud would get a lot more money in a different defense. I think he will probably leave, to play a more traditional MLB. He should really thrive in a standard 4-3. I don’t think it will hurt us much, as again, MLB for us is mostly a coverage LB.

  24. BigMacAttack Says:

    I just don’t understand for the life of me “Why can’t we have a complete package?”???

    I guess maybe that player just doesn’t exist, period. Barrett Ruud is just as good as it gets. You just can’t have it both ways. It’s either Tampa 2 or run stuffer. Well let me tell you, “That’s the biggest crock of $h!t on the planet” and I ain’t buying that argument now, next week, five years from now or ever. It’s just pure BS. If the guy can’t do both, please find someone who can. I know Patrick Freakin Willis can. He’ll run circles around Ruud making plays and busting players in the chops all day long. Will someone please tell me why the Eff Ruud has puny little arms, chest, shoulders, legs??? The guy must not spend any time in the weight room and IMO that shows disrespect for your craft and a lack of dedication. Has anyone ever watched Ray Lewis with his team before their games. That freakin murderous thug loves pain, I guarantee it. What does Barrett Ruud do to get fired up before the game? I’ll tell you what, he called Bissacia to get the team fired up. The MLB should be the LEADER of the team, even more so than the QB, Freeman. Barrett Ruud should change his name to Willy the Wimp. What happened to “I’ll tolerate you until I can replace you”???? Pulllleeeeeease tell me there is more. OMG, if he’s as good as it gets we are F@@@Ked for years to come.

    You’rrrrrrrrrrre Outtttttta Herrrrrrrrre!!!!

  25. espo Says:

    I’m ok with Hardy spitting at William Floyd every time they played.

    I would like our starting middle linebacker to not miss tackes!!! I don’t even understand the argument.

  26. gitarlvr Says:

    The guy who is being asked to do the most in the bucs linebacking core right now is Quincy Black. He’s being asked to stuff the run, cover tight ends and be a rush linebacker. He’s not making impact plays doing any of those things. Upgrading that position with a bigger 250-265 lb linebacker who will actually be cut out for that role will have a much bigger impact on the defense than switching out Barrett Ruud for another MLB. That same linebacker should also be able to play DE in the base 4-3. Getting the right hybrid outside rush linebacker\DE will be killing two birds with one stone. Quincy Black would still play or (Watson\Hayward) would still play SAM in the 4-3 but the 3 man fronts would be seriously upgraded with the right 3-4 style OLB. All I know is I don’t want to see Quincy Black rushing the passer with his hand in the dirt anymore. A 240 lb. linebacker just isn’t big enough to do that. Upgrading that “redskin” linebacker is, to me, far more important right now than upgrading MLB.

  27. espo Says:

    I have the solution. Let’s release him, free up some cap space that we have way too much of, replace him with a scarecrow, and draft ourselves a pass rush.

    Ok seriously, if we spend our high picks on DEs, I think Adam Heyward or even McKenzie will excel.

  28. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    ““FWIW the Bucs run D with Ruud as starting MLB: 17th (2007) 19th (2008) 32nd (2009) and 28th (2010).”

    That proves that it is Raheem Morris right there.”


    Did you just get off the short yellow bus? So according to your theory, run defense is determined by only 2 people, the MLB and the DC? I guess the defensive line means nothing. I know this is an open forum, but such idiotic comments should be deleted, because we are all considerably stupider after reading them.

  29. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I think it’s pretty peculiar that I never saw a post from Guest #27 until Buc You was banned.

  30. Freeman2Winslow Says:

    Hey Joe,

    Unrelated…for the picks pool, do you mind telling me who you’re picking for the superbowl? I’m tied with you now and I’d like to pick the opposite team of you so I have a shot to finish ahead on the season.

    Thanks Joe. Awesome site.

  31. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @Freeman2Winslow – Man, that’s top secret information. We’re in a battle locked in 21st place. Joe might want that tie, since you have to beat Joe to get a prize. …Haven’t decided yet. 🙂 But leaning toward Pittsburgh.

  32. Gary Says:

    Buc You got banned? Thats funny. What did he do?

  33. Denny Says:

    Totally didagree with with CUmmings. From what i saw, from the stands all year was Hayes leading the defense. WHile Ruud had “hands on Hips” all day long, Geno was the one trying to pump up the rest of the defense and the crowd. Does everyone really believe that Ruud is calling the defense??? You don’t think Raheem is sending in the call and Ruud just relys the message??? I saw Geno get his a** in on every play this season. While Ruud was what??? HANDS ON HIPS.