Pat Kirwan Talks To Joe

February 7th, 2011

There are very few NFL talking heads Joe respects more than Pat Kirwan. A former coach and personnel executive with the Jets and a scout with the Bucs, Kirwan works for a variety of outlets, including a weekly column on, video breakdowns on and an afternoon drivetime show he co-hosts with Tim Ryan, “Movin’ the Chains,” heard exclusively on Sirius NFL Radio, which in Joe’s ears is by far the best NFL broadcast in the free world.

Joe caught up with Kirwan on radio row last week at the Super Bowl Media Center in Dallas, and Joe asked Kirwan specifically why he believes that should the Bucs let free agent middle linebacker Barrett Ruud walk, it would be a grave mistake for the young Bucs defense.

JoeBucsFan: Joe tries to keep an open mind about Barrett Ruud. Joe hears his supporters;  hears his detractors. Joe heard you say, heard it live about two weeks ago, a Bucs fan called your show and said one of the first things the Bucs should do is get rid of him. You said you would grade [Ruud’s play] out to an A-minus. What is it that a lot of fans don’t see that he does so well?

Pat Kirwan: Well, first he lines up everyone up on the defense. There are a lot of guys who play well but can’t line up. So he is the quarterback of the defense. No. 2 he is terrific in his zone drops. He’s smart and he understands the defense. He’s never going to be flashy. I can look at that defense and find four or five guys who would collapse mentally if he is not out there with them. He’s the quarterback.

Joe: A lot of people say that calling defensive plays is interchangeable [the Bucs went from Hardy Nickerson to Jamie Duncan to Shelton Quarles calling defensive plays in a short span of seasons with no discernible dropoff], that they can coach others to call plays.

Kirwan: Well, they’ve never coached anybody. We had a guy in New York named Kyle Clifton back in the late 80s and early 90s. Not a flashy player but we were always trying to replace him. When we finally replaced him, we called him back and brought him back. We realized that there were players that were leaning on him in the huddle and when people changed formations and motioned people, it was Kyle. When I talk to Barrett and watch how Barrett plays — and I’ve talked to him about it many times — that is what he brings to the table that is never measured in tackles, sacks and interceptions.

Joe: Do you also think it’s a perception problem, that he is basically more of a safety than a middle linebacker? Everybody has a perception of a middle linebacker: Lambert, Ray Nitschke, Ray Lewis, guys like that?

Kirwan: Tampa Bay has had a great defense and they have never had a guy like that. They have always played with an undersized, smart guy. Monte Kiffin trained me in that defense.

Joe: What is your background with [Kiffin]?

Kirwan: We were together with the Jets. I was working with the linebackers and Monte trained me and I know exactly what the Mike has to do in that defense. [Ruud] doesn’t have to be Ray Nitschke. He has got to be a guy that can drop into deep coverage when you ask him to, he has to change the stunt up front. Let’s say we are going to ram the front. Then the tight end changes to the other side and now we have to change it to a spike. You better have a quarterback sense to make the play. It’s like audibles. And that is what [Ruud] is able to do.

43 Responses to “Pat Kirwan Talks To Joe”

  1. McBuc Says:

    I agree with him, and have been supporting Ruud all season.

  2. Pewter Plank Says:

    I think Ruud’s biggest issue is the perception of him as a leader. My knock on him has always been that he’s not vocal enough, not a rah-rah kind of leader. Clearly Kirwan thinks he still displays a ton of leadership, but I only know what I can see. Take that Atlanta game for instance, the Bucs lose momentum on a kick-return touchdown and then the offense goes three-and-out. I’m looking for a leader whose playing the role of a Ray Lewis, going up and down the bench and firing up the squad, getting them ready to go make a big stop. Last night, you saw Kevin Greene say to Clay Matthews, “rally the troops, it’s time” right before the last defensive stand. I guess I’ve always wanted to see that kind of fire out of Ruud, but maybe he’s just never going to be that guy. Interesting insight by Kirwan though.

  3. k_bassuka Says:

    Blah, if he’s so smart how come he doesn’t recognize or shoot the gaps in time to make tackles before the players is 5+ yards down the field? Is he the QB of the defense? Sure but he’s not a great one. Back in the day we didn’t need a great MLB because we had a great OLB to pick up the slack, it’ll be stupid to pay him a lot of money if he’s not going to be great, specially when we will have to spend big money on a great OLB to pick up his slack.

  4. bucfanjeff Says:

    Bingo! He’s not easily replaceable.

  5. RustyRhino Says:

    Maybe just maybe?
    It might be time we get to that .2 part of the Tampa 2.2 Coach Morris has spoken of. and just maybe that is not the Tampa 2 anyway. I hope it is and we Draft a few LB’s and DE’s to play in the .2 part of the Tampa2 defense.

    We could all be surprised and get a LB who can do 3 simple things
    1- make the play calls
    2- get players in position before the snap
    3- make plays, in the Run and in the Pass game

    Well we can always hope right?

    I like Rudd he just is not that dominating at his position, yeah he gets lots of tackles across the field, can play the pass okay. He never has been asked to rush the passer much or maybe I missed it. To me his play is just “okay” nothing special.
    Now if he was the MLB and we where NOT getting ran over on nearly every play and giving up yards by the bucketful. I would be happy and more excited Rudd is the MLB.
    How many times have we gotten just that from this team with Rudd manning the middle?

  6. RustyRhino Says:

    Ruud* yeah I know.

  7. feel Says:

    Maybe if Raheem wanted to run the same defense as Monte, it would be Ok, but I think it is clear that he has a different vision, which is only based on the Tampa 2. That is why Ronde Barber referred to it as the Tampa 2.1 (not 2.2 RustyRhino.) The Tampa 2 cames in different forms. Look at Chicago- they run a Tampa 2 style, and Urlacher certainly fits that old-school thumper profile as their MLB. I dont think it is coincidence that Ruud was more widely thought of a a good player in 2007 and most of ’08, and then opinion of him changed drastically in ’09 and ’10.

  8. McBuc Says:

    Without any push up front, NFL backs will run over any linebacker. The guys up front will improve, which will make the LBs look better as well. it all starts on the line and works outward.

  9. gitarlvr Says:

    I agree on Kirwan Joe. He is the one national media guy who’s opinion I trust implicitly. He just seems to do more research and sound more informed than your typical “watch a few highlights and think your qualified to comment on a team” talking head. I really don’t see how the Bucs can let Barrett go at this point without having some time to properly train up a replacement “defense QB”. Its just a bad situation though because Ruud is not “flashy” and I just don’t see the Bucs outbidding some other team for Ruud if there turns out to be a big market for him. The Bucs will almost be forced to draft a MLB in round 1 or round 2 at the latest if they let Barrett walk and I would hate for them to be in that position when I think SAM linebacker is the position more hankering for an upgrade(Akeem Ayers?). I still don’t understand what some people see in Quincy Black. You want to talk about “not flashy”. The guy almost NEVER makes a splash play. I hope the Bucs are able to resign Ruud. People are going to see Kirwan was right when free agency finally does hit and some other team out there jumps on Barrett Ruud with a big offer(Giants?).

  10. Theodore Says:

    This is bull. DEs don’t get to suck defending the run because they are good pass rushers. Likewise, I’m not buying MLBs get to suck defending the run because they drop into coverage well. Tampa 2 or not, Ruud’s grade is no A-. He is average.

  11. Capt.Tim Says:

    Wow- EXACTLY what I was saying a week or to ago here! Although I still think Ruud will leave, and Barber will help set the D

  12. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Pat is exactly correct and this is one thing that I argued with some over all year. Ruud is not just average, he is well above average in his overall play and value to this team.

    Any opinion to the contrary is just wrong or based on some others – like dislike for the regime that drafted him. Ruud plays the position exactly how it is supposed to be played in this defense.

    I know some of you think that we have converted to a 3-4 or 3-5; that is just dead wrong. The Mike in Rah’s defense is virtually identical to the Mike in the Kiffin Tampa 2.

    Ruud is not Nickerson, never will be. Hardy was very physical but was not s good as Barrett in coverage which is why the Bucs didnt throw crazy money at him in FA when he left for Jax. No, the Glazers will not spend a lot for Barrett but they won’t spend a lot for anyone – we just have to hope that the market does not price him out of here – which it might.

  13. Capt.Tim Says:

    Normally I don’t brag. But recently it was implied that I just go along with whatever team glazer wants, like done 6’5″ happy friggin homer! Still pissed, so indulge me. I pointed out that we have never had a “Banger” at MLB in the Tampa 2, contrary to what people remember. Also that Ruud is more Safety in this D than MLB. Had a herd arguing with me. I know a Lil bit more about football than I’m given credit for around here. Sorry for the “I told ya so”, but still pissed!

  14. jEsTer Says:

    Maybe this is not possible,to have a beast with a brain at MLB?Ruud is good and I’m a fan,but when he got ran over by a rookie(Chris Ivory),and TE’s consistently running by him.He has become a average at all things.We keep making excuses for D-line and it is the system!If we can move him to safety great if not let him go.(the Colts will grab him)

  15. McBuc Says:

    A rookie named Blount ran over Ray Lewis…Should the Raven’s get rid of Ray? The entire defense had trouble with the run, not just Ruud. Footb all is a team sport, just ask the Red Skins.

  16. Architek Says:

    Man please I hasve saw enough and if it walks like and quacks like a duck, that sum-b#@th is a duck. I have seen MULTIPLE RBs and WRs man-handle this MLB. We will continue to be soft against the run with Ruud. McBuc you are just afraid of change. Change is a part of the NFL and the safe bet may be cool but did you see Green Bay LBs bussing Pittsburgh ass as soon as they caught the ball yesterday? You mean Ruud have and can do that? NO

  17. BigMacAttack Says:

    Well, I’m just going to take a wait and see approach. If this defense could survive without Derrick Brooks, it can damn sure survive without Ruud. Either way, I don’t give a sh_t. Just win, and win some more.

    And for the record, is there some odd reason why a Buc fan can’t like both Chucky and Raheem? I’m a little confused on that front as to why it has to be one way or the other around here. I never cared much for Bruce Allen and think his GMinance in DC will be short lived.

  18. BuccoBill Says:

    I can’t belive I’m saying this, but I total agree with Thomas on this one. I think with 2 PB caliber OLB’s flanking Ruud, opinions of his play will change. When I think back to the 2k2 Bucs I think of Derrick brooks as the “Banger” not Shelton Quarles. Just a thought.

  19. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I was wondering when we were going to have another Barrett Ruud debate. It’s been well over a week!

  20. Capt.Tim Says:

    BuccoBill- exactly! The guys dropping the ball in run support(horribly!!) are Quincy Black and Gino Hayes. Black was unbelievably soft this year. Hayes is proving to be to small. He has the speed you want a Wil, but not the strenght or ferocity. All the experienced draft sites are saying we need to upgrade both OLB, not the MLB.

  21. thomas 2.2 Says:

    we agree that black and geno are not good. To say that Ruud is more safety than LB depends on your definition of the mike LB in the Tampa 2. Yes, the mike has more deep coverage responsibility in the T2 than most defenses. I guess you could say the same thing about Urlacher then – a college safety.

    I am also not huge on Bruce Allen and Dom looks to be a better talent evaluator. As for Gru v Rah, lets not get into that again. I applaud anyone who likes them both, I believe that I fall into that category – I just didnt agree with the hire and retention after 2009 – but I do think Rah is a nice well-intentioned guy.

    Bottom Line: losing ruud would make this defense worse (if that is possible) no rookie would be able to fill his shoes for years. Why continue to make this defense worse? To improve the defense you must start with the most glaring weaknesses which are: ALL FRONT 7 PLAYERS WITH THE EXCEPTION OF RUUD.

  22. JDouble Says:

    So basically Ruud gets a pass for sucking because he’s a good on the field coach? I don’t think so Pat.

    We can find a guy that can line up the defense presnap AND be a physical presence in the middle. Settling for Ruud would not say much about the direction of this franchise. It can be scary to make that leap, but when you have a weak link you have to let him move on and try to upgrade.

    Also, if our other LBs are that dependent on Ruud to tell them what to do, maybe they need to be upgraded as well.

  23. Pete 422 Says:

    No, nobody can play MLB for the Bucs except Ruud or the defense will fall apart? Naaahhh.

  24. JDouble Says:

    No matter what pieces we surround him with, our defense will only be as hard and intimidating as our MLB….which means we will continue to be a soft defense that gets no respect as long as Rag doll Ruud is our “defensive QB”

  25. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “As for Gru v Rah, lets not get into that again. I applaud anyone who likes them both, I believe that I fall into that category”


    YOU like Raheem?! If you like Raheem, I’d love to see how you are when you don’t like someone!

  26. BigMacAttack Says:

    Really, what did you do with Thomas? Like Rah??? WTF? I think Thomas 2.3 has invaded 2.2’s body. Thomas, I commend you for being cool today. Keep it up.

    Our linebackers are young and still learning. I hope to see more of McKenzie & Watson.

  27. espo Says:

    I would like a Mike who doesn’t miss tackles. Its really that simple. Who says our middle linebacker has to call the plays? Let someone else do it if our new ML can’t. I know that would be breaking from textbook, but I think that’s what might need to be done.

  28. BamBamBuc Says:

    Ok, so I’ve been watching the season again, and only have the last couple games to go. I’ve been watching for a couple things specifically. One, where is Ruud and did he make the tackle? Did he fill his gap and prevent a cutback even though not in on the tackle? Did he drop into coverage and, if so, how far downfield was he when the tackle was made. Two, I was watching on offense for Donald Penn and how well he protected Freeman’s blind side in pass protection. How much did he get beat, and how much did others get beat? Who beat him (DL, LB, or DB?)?

    So, the conclusion that I’ve come to is this. Ruud actually did a pretty good job. He was in position and filled his gap more often than not. That didn’t mean he made the tackle, although he made quite a few at or behind the line of scrimmage. Sometimes he stood the guy up and got help, so don’t know if he was credited with the tackle or not. Now, as for the downfield tackles… Yes, he made quite a few of those. Usually when he dropped into pass protection he was 10+ yards behind the line of scrimmage and came up to make the tackle at between 5 and 10 yards of gain. That means that the other guys up front let the rusher get to that level. Can’t blame Ruud for that, I’m glad he still came up to make the tackle. Other times, usually on counter plays, the LBs would shift in unison to one side. When the RB counters the other way, the DE is supposed to seal the edge. Even then, Ruud is not in position to make the tackle at the line, but he was able to get back across the field to make the tackle a lot, even though it was 5+ yards downfield. Again, it’s the design of the defense, of the play call, and what the offense is doing and what our defense is or is not doing. Not Ruud’s fault. He was where he was supposed to be, when he was supposed to be there, and still got back into the play to make many tackles that weren’t necessarily his responsibility to make.

    Of course a side benefit of watching this is seeing the other LBs play as well. Geno Hayes actually had a pretty good year, contrary to popular opinion. He was chasing plays down in the backfield from the backside, he was flying around making a lot of tackles (missing a few), and he was really pretty good in coverage as well. Quincy Black was not very effective at all. Watson and Hayward both played about as well as Black.

    Penn gave up a lot of pressure. It didn’t always result in sacks, mostly due to Freeman’s ability to scramble. I won’t say he gave up a lot on a “per pass” basis, because I wasn’t watching it that way. When Freeman WAS pressured, I would rewind to see who let their guy through. Penn was guilty quite frequently compared to the rest of the line. Davin Joseph got beat in run blocking frequently, and all were guilty of giving up some pressure, but Penn was guilty more often on a “per pressure” basis. Not only that, but when he got beat, it was usually badly. He sometimes couldn’t even get a hand on a guy coming off the edge, or would get easily beat on an outside move with a spin inside. I’m not saying Penn is bad, but I’m still not sold on him being Pro Bowl caliber.

  29. BamBamBuc Says:

    Sorry for the long post, but it was the only way to get all that in there.

    Also, the “getting run over by Ivory” thing was really not the norm for Ruud. Yeah, it happened, but it’s not like that happened every time he hit a RB head up in the hole.

    And for the “covering the TE” thing, most are referring to him trying to chase down Todd Heap in the Ravens game. That was a blown assignment that cost Sabby Piscitelli his job and Ruud (seeing the blown coverage) was simply trying to chase him down from behind. Again, not his fault, that was Sabby.

  30. Capt.Tim Says:

    BamBamBuc- Penn will give up more pressures than the rest of the line. He’s the left Tackle. He faces the best pass rushers in the league, every single down. The rest of the line line is playing mostly chubby run stoppers. Penn is Dominant- IMO
    Thomas 2.2 . Nice post today. Insightful and intelligent. You’ve reached out. It’s a nice change. I hope it last! It was nice reading your post today. They brought up good points.

  31. CreamsiclePasties Says:

    This is just nonsense…..this team has been ranked near the bottom of the league in run D since Barrett Ruud took over as starting MLB.

    He is serviceable, but he’s no super star… of the first comments to this post says he isn’t easily replaceable. Balderdash. Now, this team has a ton of needs and MLB could probably be put off for another year but it’s certainly a position we should be looking to improve.

    As far as being “the QB of the defense” argument goes….whoop de freaking do. There are plenty of defenses out there that function without Barrett Ruud on their team. It reminds me of the argument in favor of Keyshawn. “Oh he’s a great blocker” we used to hear. Great, but he gets paid to score touchdowns…..same thing with Ruud……great to know that he can put players in the right position, but MLB’s get paid to make plays… know, tackles, int’s, sacks, etc etc. The “QB on the field” nonsense is just gravy. It’s nice, but it’s not what his job is.

  32. Bucbeliever Says:

    It still doesn’t mean we can’t draft a MLB…train him up his year so he can take over! If you don’t like Ruud (I’d give him a B or B-), just think of him as a placeholder, a game manager of the defense. The rest of the D which has shown its resilliency will step up. Then, either Ruud realizes his job is in danger and starts playing like a Pro Bowler or the new guy steps in, with experience and knowledge to be the QB of the D.

    Drafting a MLB would probably be the best thing for Ruud…

    GO BUCS!

  33. Architek Says:

    It’s simple don’t overpay for a role player and don’t build around him. He is a good player but thats it he’s not dynamic and not a leader. Draft a MLB and if Ruud comes back let the competition begin, simple.

  34. Patrick Says:

    The thing a lot of ya’ll are forgetting about is how horrendous the D line was last year, as well as in 2009. Barrett Ruud hasn’t had any help from the line for 2 straight years. Improve it and it’ll be interesting to see if it makes a difference in his play or not.

  35. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Ask yourself this: is Barrett Ruud a Pro Bowl player? If the answer is no, then he is very replaceable. That doesn’t mean he is no good, it just means there is better players out there. If we are to be so lucky/good to get one, then sorry Barrett – don’t let the door hit you …..! I think Ruud is serviceable to at least not reach to grab a MLB to replace him. If a good one is there, take him. If not, we will be fine sticking with him. He is not horrible, but by no means is he great either. One thing is for sure, if the players around him get better ( the defensive line), he will look a whole lot better.

  36. Capt.Tim Says:

    Ugh, I hate explaining this! Do you like the Tampa 2 defense? The very concept of the defense is this- it is a zone coverage defense. The Conerbacks each have half the field, and the MLB plays the shallow middle. EVERY SINGLE TIME! He doesn’t wait to see if it’s a run- that’s what would kill the Defense. If Ruud bought play action fakes- we’d get killed. He doesn’t cover a gap on the line- EVER! He plays shallow center, about ten yards back. The free safety plays any overloads( 2 WR on one side) or deep middle. The Strong Safety in the Tampa 2 plays in the Box. Diagnoses if it’s run- then HE plays line gaps, if Pass , he takes typically the TE or a RB. The SS plays Run first – remember John Lynch??. The Wil and Sam backers play RUN FIRST, then on Pass either play the short flats, or blitz. The Tampa 2 has ALWAYS been like this. When we won the SuperBowl- our MLB played pass coverage every down! If our MLB makes a tackle, it’s gonna be 10′ down the field- because that’s his Zone, and where he’s supposed to be!!!
    The Tampa 2.1 is even more of a coverage defense, and Ruud plays even a Lil deeper. That’s why when everyone was crying about Hardy Nickerson not being a “enforcer”, Kiffin said ” I don’t care if he ever makes a tackle!” it’s because his, and Ruud’s, job is coverage! Not Run stopping!! It amazes me that the same people who claim to love the Tampa 2, still bitch about what the MLB job is in that Defense!! If you want Mike Singletary, then we have to change defensive schemes. The guys thar are supposed to be stopping the run are Jones, Black, and Hayes. There is your problem with Run defense, plus an inexperienced D- line

  37. BigMacAttack Says:

    I think if Price comes back healthy, it could make a big difference. The Bucs have been fortunate that Ruud hasn’t been hurt, but they have been unfortunate by the same. No one has been given a chance to step into Ruud’s role. As long as he is in there you won’t know whether you’ll miss him or not. I would like to find out how valuable he is. This season would have been a good time to check. Next season is about winning it all, hopefully

  38. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I agree with you Captain Tim, to a point. In a traditional Tampa 2, you are absolutely correct. Problem is, we rarely run a traditional Tampa 2. That has become only a small portion of what we do on defense. There are many times during the course of a game when Ruud is absolutely responsible to stop the run, and he has had below average results (especially on short yardage situations). Even in the passing game, his splash plays have been few and far between. He is not exceptionally big, fast, hard hitting, or aggressive, so he will never be a dynamic player. He is however, very smart, which definitely goes a long way for him. One thing I completely disagree with is comparing him to Nickerson. That is ridiculous. Comparing him to Nickerson is like comparing Freeman to Jeff Garcia. Nickerson was a beast, and played a huge part in the turnaround of the franchise. Ruud, not so much.

    I’m not trashing him (even though it probably sounds like I am), but he’s just not a great player. There are a bunch of other players on our team that are not great either, and they are all replaceable as a result (with the possible exception of some of the emotional leaders, which Ruud is not). I do think it is very unfair that he gets all the blame for the struggles of our defense, but that kind of comes with the position (the same thing happens with the QB on the other side of the ball).

  39. jEsTer Says:

    We dont have to change schemes to have an enforcer at MLB.”BamBamBuc” yes Blount ran over R.Lewis! but way after Ray’s prime!Ruud is in his prime…Do we have bigger needs yes.I’m tired of hearing D-line oh when Price comes along.If we get a new C.B.A. I say trade a second rd for A.J. Hawk hes young and doesn’t fit the 3-4.,sign DE. Edwards from Minn. think about Mankins,Sign Joseph.That would be a great O-line!

  40. BamBamBuc Says:


    I don’t know if you recall ever hearing Sapp talk about the Tampa “2”. He always used to say it’s really more of a cover 3. The two safeties would play deep halves, but the MLB would actually drop to the deep middle making it more of a cover 3 than a cover 2. The CBs would play short zones, covering the flats. Of course this would change up from time to time when they’d bring a safety into the box for run support. The OLBs were, as you said, the ones more responsible for run gap containment. The MLB does have run responsibilities sometimes, specifically when they go man coverage. This is what I was seeing watching the past season over again. Ruud was actually very good at getting his gap control, but too often had to double back and make the tackle on the outside edges. Usually because the DEs didn’t get contain and the CBs were in man coverage with their backs turned to the LOS. The zone coverage of the Tampa 2 really relies on the CBs being good tacklers on the edges, as it’s their responsibility in the short zones to be there in run support. Safeties and MLB are usually the last ones to make it back up in run support. Ruud is often 15 yards deep or more, as that’s what’s called for in a true “Tampa 2”.

  41. Capt.Tim Says:

    BamBam- pretty much agree with that. If you guys read Kirwan’s experience, he worked here! He’s been a coach, and evaluated talent for teams! His creditials are impeccable. He knows our defense, and has no reason to lie to anyone!! Ruud does his job exactly like Nickerson and Quarles before him. And they all did it well. Kiwan worked for the Bucs when they played here! Fans who didn’t understand the scheme bitched Nickerson and Quarles weren’t Kack Lambert. As Pat says, they never were going to be that here! None of them caught the he’ll storm that Ruud catches. I think it’s because of Ian Beckles Lil campaign for listeners. He knows the truth, but like a lot of sad media guys today, will lie if he thinks the controversy will get him one more listener- pathetic! I always get stuck in this argument, because I just hate to see someone blamed unjustly. With my former career, that’s probaly a good thing! I am not a Big Ruud fan. He really goes about his job in a very effiecient and quiet way. But to blame him ( or Nickerson, or Quarles) for run defense, is like blaming Miller for Sabby blowing a coverage again! It’s just not his job! Hate Ruud if you want, but he really does rate a good grade for the job he does here. Again, I just don’t think MLB is key position on our Defense. Just need a rangy LB with good coverage skills- not that hard. I also think Barber could help set the D. The guy is a genius, and hopefully HE wants to coach here when his playing days are over. I think Ruud is as goOd as gone. He is worth a lot more to a team that plays a standard MLB, than he is worth to us as a big safety. The only reason to match a big offer is his skill at setting the defense- hard to price the value of that on a really young team.

  42. Dave Says:

    I get the QB of the defense.
    I get he is not asked to be a thumper in the middle.
    I get he needs to drop into coverage.

    This is what I see and think about it:

    1. Lots of other guys could be the QB of the defense. preferably a LB would do it and many have in the past. It is an insult to thier inteligence to think that none of them could step up and do it.

    2. No, he does not need to be the big, slow, run stuffer, and he is not asked to be…. BUT…. he should be able to hit a RB in the hole and drop him. He does it MAYBE 10% of the time, if he is even in the hole to meet the RB.

    3. His coverage is excellent within 12 yards of the LOS. After that or out past the tackles… he just is not that fast for a so-called “cover” guy.

    Bottom line, he is not the weakest link of the team, but if they can get a MLB to groom for the next year, they will be ahead of the game.

    Personally, I think they made a mistake when they did not trade him last year. Now, most likely, he walks this year or next.

  43. Dave Says:

    All those talking about the “Tampa 2” and how deep the MLB and Safeties play………….

    Really? Explain Lynch or Grimm in the box then?
    There are ALOT of time when it is clearly stop the run first…. Ruud is NOT 15 yards downfield on those plays.

    Also, The Tampa 2 as we all know it was used less than 20% of the time last year. It is either being phased out like some suggest or they were merely trying things because of the porous run defense.