The Case For Keeping Barrett Ruud

May 10th, 2011

With the possible exception of Aqib Talib, no single player gets a Bucs fan to put his beer down and begin shouting quicker than Barrett Ruud.

The Bucs middle linebacker is — depending who you speak with — either a savvy, intelligent player that is able to put players in positions on defense to make plays, or is an embarrassment to any human who possesses male genitalia.

Don’t count Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan in the latter group. The duo, co-hosts of “Movin’ the Chains,” heard exclusively on SiriusXM NFL Radio, made sort of an impassioned plea yesterday afternoon to Bucs general manager Mark Dominik that if Ruud is allowed to walk away, it would be a grave mistake by the Bucs and the Bucs defense would, as a result of Ruud’s void, crumble.

Kirwan, who last winter gave Ruud an A-minus grade for the 2010 season and chatted with Joe in Dallas about Ruud, has long been a vocal Ruud supporter.

Some local Bucs fan called Kirwan and Ryan to ask about Ruud and the duo gave to Joe’s knowledge, the most detailed, intricate explanation as to Ruud’s merits with the Bucs.

Bucs caller: I think some of the people don’t understand the way he works in the system. He doesn’t play up on the line; he drops back. I wonder if you can explain all of that and how he works in the system?

Tim Ryan: Well, it’s a passing league but you’d like the see Barrett Ruud make more tackles at the line of scrimmage. I understand that. Go look at those young defensive tackles in front of him and you are going to see guys getting pushed and on roller skates and get pushed right into Barrett Ruud. He’s not the most physical player when you talk about him. But he can key. He can diagnose. He can get everyone lined up. He’s not going to bust mental errors. Where Barrett is best is in that intermediate passing game as a second-level defender. He knows it’s coming. He understands route concepts. He can cover running backs out of the backfield. It’s going to be really, really hard replacing that. We would prefer the Bucs kept him but it sounds like, it sounds like the Bucs may be done with him down there and it sounds like he may be irritated they didn’t re-up with him when they had the opportunity before. Barrett is going to get an opportunity to get paid out on the open market if we can get to unrestricted free agency. I like [Bucs third-round pick linebacker Mason Foster] too, a lot. The guy played Mike linebacker as a true freshman. He has a bunch of tackles. But again, I can’t tell you the training that Barrett had under Shelton Quarles and under Derrick Brooks — and I know Shelton is still there but under a different role — and under Monte Kiffin, I mean, replacing the football intellect that Barrett Ruud is, that’s a tall order. Watch him when they run a naked bootleg. Watch Barrett when a bootleg comes. He sees it develop. No. 1 he knows by down and distance it is probably coming. Pat, he just doesn’t drop to his zone. He turns and starts hunting up that crosser, that mid-level crosser coming from the backside because he knows it’s coming.

Pat Kirwan: Yep, and those are techniques that you learn over time. You step into the run because you are the Mike backer. It’s not run it’s through — the smart guys know to turn opposite of the bootleg action and roll and locate the crosser. He’s good at that stuff. Look, here’s my thinking: You have to have a quarterback on the defense. You can’t just have 11 great runaround guys. Someone has to make the adjustments when you see things like they take the I-strong and they shimmy the fullback to I-weak. A lot of times you want to check your stunt. A lot of times you want to check from three-coverage to four-coverage. Who is doing all that stuff? They play the coverage enough that he has to drop deep down the middle, and he’s good at it. But look, I’ve said it before: He’s not an all-star. He’s not an All Pro. But his value doesn’t come in statistics all the time. His value comes in how he organizes guys on the sideline and like… how’s this: Your line coach goes — right in the middle of the game — “Hey, look, look, look. We’ve been pirating all week when they are in ISO. We can’t do it anymore. They’ve got it figured out, they’ve been blocking it. You need to check that I-strong stunt to a ram.” That’s easy to say that but now go out and do it.

Ryan: How about Barrett going over to the sideline and saying, “Remember two years ago when they tried to do this? Well, we need to do that.”

Kirwan: Right. That part of it is — someone is going to reap the benefits of that. He reminds me of a guy we had at the Jets, Kyle Clifton. Kyle ran 4.9, Kyle was this, that and the other thing. But every time we tried to play without him — hey, we have to get younger we have to get quicker — guess what happened? The mental errors went way up. I know Tampa Bay plays a simple system. Monte Kiffin groomed the guy. It’s worth something if they are going to move on. I’m a big fan of Mason. This is a gigantic challenge for him to make those plays. The way we played a lot of times when we played weak safety insertion, which I know Tampa Bay plays a ton of, and the run play came to the strong side, the Mike (linebacker) was like a leverage guy. He wasn’t a tackler. His job was to take the inside man and him back to the Will backer who he freed up to make the play. So a lot of times you look at him and you go, “Wow, he’s tied up.’ His job was to make sure the running back came back to the Will. So a lot of times if you don’t understand the scheme, you don’t understand what he is trying to do. Is he perfect? No. Is he replaceable? Maybe.

Ryan: He will have a job as a starting linebacker on another team next year. No question.

Kirwan: Yeah. He’d be a nice player for the New York Giants.

Look, as Kirwan has pointed out, Ruud is not Ray Lewis, never will be. Nor is he Patrick Willis. Nor is he Brian Urlacher. But Joe chatted with Kirwan at Super Bowl Media Day this February and Kirwan persuaded Joe to think differently about Ruud.

Kirwan, who was a linebackers coach under Kiffin with the Jets, was convincing enough to Joe that until Mason is groomed properly as his replacement — if that is who Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris have in mind to replace Ruud — the Bucs would be much worse off losing Ruud than losing Talib.

Right now with as many young players on the Bucs defense, they need a veteran to give them some stability and help the young guys learn the intricacies and nuances of an NFL defense.

31 Responses to “The Case For Keeping Barrett Ruud”

  1. Not A Rocket Surgeon Says:

    From jump, I’ve been on the fence about the guy… and still am at this point knowing that our defense is going to take a hit without him on the field. I don’t think he’s going to re-up with our bucs, unless Morris stands on a desk for him (with both MD and BR.)

    Everyone wants a thumper… Mason or McKenzie will probably be that guy – but this year – there will be growing pains.

    It takes a couple seasons to ‘season’ an MLB in this scheme.

    I just don’t know that most fans 1 – get it and 2 – are willing to wait for it to happen.

  2. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    Ryan: How about Barrett going over to the sideline and saying, “Remember two years ago when they tried to do this? Well, we need to do that.”

    Um, isn’t that what Raheem is for? Seriously, if it’s all about “knowing the defense” and not about “making plays,” then why don’t we just slap some pads on Raheem and put him on the field?

    This is exactly what we used to hear about Keyshawn. “He can block!” we used to hear. That’s great, but a WR’s job is to catch the ball and score TD’s. Good blocking is nice, but without the other things it doesn’t matter a lick.

    Same thing here. Being a coach on the field is fantastic, but it should be the icing on the cake for a player that makes plays. Not the deciding factor.

  3. Adam Says:

    I am a huge fan of Ruud and would be annoyed to see him leave. I don’t think people appreciate how much he brings to the team in terms of the mental aspect of football — a very intelligent and quick reacting MLB.

    If Ruud is destined to leave, at least try and keep him for one more season so Mason can effectively be his understudy and hopefully develop into a force

  4. Jrock Says:

    Do you think if they tendered Ruud a 1 year deal he would take it? Other teams are going to offer him a contract, not a tender. He’s not getting a contract here, which means he isn’t wearing a Bucs jersey next year.

    Learn fast, Foster!

  5. Stanglassman Says:

    Link name says it all. I hpe i

  6. WeNeedDefense Says:

    Why would fans of Raheem want to let Ruud go this year???

    All it is going to do is set back the defense until someone else can learn the position.

    But hey, let the guy walk, make Raheem’s job tougher, and hopefully that will be one step closer to getting Raheem out of the HC position.

  7. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    If the 2010 rules are in effect this season Ruud has no choice but to play for the Bucs or sit out the season. He will be tendered as a RFA in that case. Sign it and play or refuse and sit. No other choice.

  8. Freemanbomb5 Says:

    Thats absurd saying losing Talib would be worse than losing Ruud… We don’t lose much if Ruud goes, we lose a special talent at corner if we lose Talib

  9. White Tiger Says:

    Ruud’s biggest shortcoming is that he had the audacity to fill the space vacated by the best MLB to ever play the “Tampa-Two”…Mr Derrick Brooks.

    Raheem Morris completely transformed the defense during Ruud’s tenure – and Ruud plays more like a Safety than Derrick Brooks ever did…

    I’m not saying I’m a fan of Ruud (as I could take him or leave him) but in all honesty, we should probably A) see what we have before we replace him and B) See how he’s used/does now that our defensive line has been fully stocked.

    I’m OK with cutting ties if we have something better, or if Ruud proves unable to improve his play behind a superior defensive line.

    I think Raheem Morris has forced Ruud to play more of a center-fielding/safety role than a traditional MLB in a 4-3/zone defense.

    Now that the talent has been upgraded – lets make sure we didn’t overlook something.

  10. Dave Says:

    I am all for Ruud leaving and probably think it happens this eyar since he has not been re-upped yet.

    BUT, if they bring him back one more year for McKenzie, Foster, and Watson to learn from… great.

    If not, it is not like we are talking complete rocket science here. Someone else will be able to step up and be the leader of the defense.

  11. MrGone Says:

    Hey White Tiger, Mr. Derrick Brooks didn’t play MLB.

  12. Joe Says:


    Thats absurd saying losing Talib would be worse than losing Ruud… We don’t lose much if Ruud goes,

    Re-read what Kirwan said.

    The Bucs seemed to be OK without The Great Talib last year.

  13. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Derrick Brooks never played MLB. He played OLB on the weak side (Will). And if we keep Ruud that’s probably the exact position that Mason Foster will play. In the type of defense the Bucs traditionally run the Will backer is arguably more important than the Mike in certain respects anyway. Keeping Ruud and plugging Foster in at Will would be a perfect strategy in my opinion.

  14. grasshopp427er Says:

    he has a tender offer. hold him to it. maybe sign a 3 year deal for him. mason foster is best fit to play our Sam position. coverage is not his strong suit. filling holes and tackling is. our middle has to cover too often for me to think he will be a good middle guy for us. we can upgrade on ruud but im not sure foster is the guy. he can step in and start and be an upgrade at Sam. you hold ruud to his offer sheet and keep him for at least another year. maybe sign him to a fair 3 year deal. there isn’t much commitment in that and it gives you time to find his replacement. he offers a lot in a lockout shortened off least enough to keep him for the year. he’s not the best guy on our D for sure but he’s not the worst either and we don’t have a guy to replace him yet.

  15. architek79 Says:

    This is total BS and I hate blogging on this moot point because we all know where we stand with this average MLB. So what he lines up the defense and he knows his keys, thats great. So, what do you hire a LB coach for and have film for and other resources to teach and develop a better player for the position. I am so sick of this stupidity and fear-based argument. CHANGE IS INEVITABLE IN THE NFL and we are an NFL organization so guess what? That’s right if our GM and HC decide to move on then they take on the risks and the reward to make the defense better physically.

    And the record, to Joe, Kirwan, and others who swear by this great hopeful, he isn’t all that in coverage anyway and he is slow. Go look at the game film of Tony Gonzalez killing the seams and the middle of the field where Mr. Irreplacable is. I am not saying others are not making mistakes but this defense as a whole made plenty of mistakes and Ruud definitely was always on queue. I am not buying all this media off-season jargon about this player because the tape don’t lie.

    Joe this irritates me because it seems like you are trying to justify the shortcomings of Ruud. Also using Ryan and Kirwan’s “gospel” as the validity to encourage fans not to parade him leaving when we all know it’s going to boil down to money. Kirwan’s opinion should be taken with a grain of salt also because he predicted the Bucs to lose every game weekly on his CBS weekly game analysis. Obviously he wasn’t seeing something since he is so right. If Ryan thinks that Ruud would be so effective in NY then he better strap it because they are hurting now without Pierce and that media will eat Ms. Ruud alive with his lack of physicality on the field.

    Basically, whatever they are selling, I am not buying it! I trust Dom/Raheem either way but they have proven they are not afraid of change and thats all I am saying, neither should Buc Nation be. Kirwan don’t matter squat to what this team decides and thank God he doesn’t! I hope all Ruud discussion cease until he is gone or his fate decided, it fires me up reading all these excuses!

    Go talk to Caddy (who is respected around the league) about excuses after two knee surgeries or someone that play hard and physical and see how many excuses you get. Can you say the same about your Ruud???? Is he respected as a MLB around the league or do RBs circle their calendar when they see him lining up? You figure it out…I bet it’s the latter.

  16. grasshopp427er Says:

    oh yeah if they work out the lockout then he’s unrestricted. he won’t resign probably if he is unrestricted. you can’t blame him either. oh well, see ya later bye.if we play against his new team blount should wear him out.

  17. BigMacAttack Says:

    This young team has overcome a lot of obstacles and hurtles. They have been doubted by Pat Kirwan every single step of the way, along with a host of (everybody) talking heads. I agree with Kirwan that some dumb GM is going to throw a wad of cash at Ruud and he will bolt. But it’s just another obstacle. What happens if Ruud was get injured or go on I.R.? The same damn thing, only the team would be even less prepared. At least when you plan for something you are more prepared to deal with curve balls, or sliders. It is what it is, and all the talking in the world won’t change things. Dominick has probably studied every single play Ruud has ever made at least 500 times. He knows better what he has that a guy like Kirwan who watches the Bucs maybe twice a year. I believe the decision has been made and Dominick knows best what and whom he needs on his team. If this D line lives up to their billing, this maybe a stout defense that can more than make up for the absence of one soft, intellectual player. I think it is way too soon to start crying wolf.

  18. Bucnjim Says:

    He’s so good at lining up the Defense that we’re last in run defense the last 20 games they’ve played. What a load of CRAP! This is a serious joke! The most consistantly good teams in the league have PHYSICAL linebackers. Seriously; I can’t understand why people even support Ruud any longer! He had last year ( a contract year) to prove he could be a game changer. He’s not! The coach is on the sideling not on the field. If Ruud is so good at lining players up; then take a seat next to Raheem on the sideline.

  19. Joe Says:


    Joe this irritates me because it seems like you are trying to justify the shortcomings of Ruud.

    Joe has always tried to keep an open mind about Barrett Ruud. To be honest, the last time Joe noticed Ruud making a splash play was an interception at Chicago nearly three years ago that was one of the best plays Joe has ever seen a middle linebacker make.

    Yeah, one play in three years is not good.

    Joe heard the wailing of Ian Beckles and tried to balance that with the input of Steve White who, ironically, has written pretty much what Kirwan has said about Ruud.

    What Kirwan explained to Joe in Dallas was very compelling, given the fact that Kirwan was a linebackers coach under Monte Kiffin. The recent musings from Kirwan seen above have only reinforced to Joe that maybe Ruud is doing what he is asked — which is not what fans want to see — and perhaps he should be kept around for a couple of more years so that Mason can learn from Ruud.

    Let’s be honest, if Ruud was as bad as some people make him out to be — Sabby the Goat type of horrible — wouldn’t he have been benched by now if not outright cut? Hasn’t Ruud even said he has graded out in the Bucs own film studies as above average? If he was lying, surely someone would have outed him by now.

  20. Bucnjim Says:

    If Ruud was the leader of a Bob Marley convention then we would be talking. I say take you’re peace pipe and finesse style of play to free agency and let’s see how many takers you get. I’ll bet the Rams need a new leader of the greatest Defense on turf.

  21. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I’m not even going to pretend like I know what we should do with Ruud. I think it is probably a tougher call than what we should do with Talib. I’m glad I’m not the one making that decision. One thing I just don’t get is, I really don’t see teams throwing out big money for him like it is perceived they will. Obviously they know more than me and they are probably right, but I just don’t see teams looking for a small, not very physical MLB. It seems most, if not all, teams are looking for completely the opposite. If they are going to convert him to a different LB spot, would they really pay big money for him to play a position he has never played before?

    I think he has been a decent player for us in Tampa, but I don’t think any of us have every thought of him as great, certainly not pro-bowl level. So who would pay big money for that type of player? I would say Washington or Dallas, but I don’t think he’s a big enough name for them. It doesn’t sound like he’s coming back to Tampa, but I just don’t get why he is expected to be paid like a top tier LB, when he isn’t a top tier LB.

  22. RahWillBringBackRuud Says:

    Raheem Morris said he wants Ruud back. Without Ruud, the defense takes a step backwards.

    If Ruud aligned everyone in their fits, then shouldnt Raheem be at fault for calling such horribe defenes??? 3 mn fronts, yeah that will sure stop the run. Idiots.

    The most qualified man in the league to make this assessment is on the Bucs staff. Mr. Shelton Quarles knows a LOT about the cover 2 and the ML and SSLB positions. Since he freakin played the positions,he is the one Dom has listened to for sure.

  23. Architek Says:

    Your point is well documented and I totally receive what you are saying. All I am saying with Kirwan is the film don’t lie and I don’t have all of his cut-ups but I can tell you this. I am no professional LB coach and I respect Kirwan personal accomplishments but I am inclined to believe that this is more business related than potential in our system and about what he offers the defense. We know the stripes on a zebra and I think it is safe to say that so does Rah and Dom.

    I pose to everyone this question, Raheem has stated that he does not ask the MLB to fill and attack the LOS in our system. From a management standpoint what does that sound like? We all know what the MLB in football is suppose to do. Doesn’t that sound like a manager or leader masking something? For example, I know his strengths and weakness so I won’t ask him to play downhill, instead stay away from the LOS and wrap up when given the opportunity. Morris explanations for Ruud role in the defense sounds like a manager decision rather than a coach asking a solid player to lead our defense. That’s my opinion. But if it is true, what is wrong with getting better through some mistakes that still happen? I am not afraid of change if our leaders deem it necessary. They are earning respect with their decision making to this point.

  24. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “If Ruud aligned everyone in their fits, then shouldnt Raheem be at fault for calling such horribe defenes??? 3 mn fronts, yeah that will sure stop the run. Idiots.”


    Sorry buddy, I don’t think you have very good understanding of how football works (and I mean that with all due respect, I’m not trying to bash you). The captain of the defense has to be able to adjust to the alignment and adjustments of the offense. There is not a team in the league that doesn’t have their leader do this. It’s part of their job, and Ruud apparently does it very well. It has nothing to do with the defense called by the coordinator. As for the 3 man fronts, that’s common throughout the league. The only time we rush only 3 men is on obvious passing downs. We have never rushed only 3 men on a running down (I’ve watched every game this year at least twice). There are times when we lined up 3 men, but we always rushed a 4th guy (which is a 3-4 defense).

  25. BigMacAttack Says:

    Does anyone here believe that Raheem & Dom agree on everything? Who’s the Boss? Any Questions?

  26. passthebuc Says:

    sometimes I wonder if Ryan and Kirwan are watching the same game as I. I must admit, my analytical talents lie more with basketball then football but I have been watching this sport a long time. Ruud has enough time in the league that his football instincts should be well honed. I remember one game last year, when the quarterback faked a dive play into the left side of the line and pitched for an end around. Ruud and the weak side linebacker moved in position to make the play. They were 3 to 5 yards deep on the bucs side of the line of scrimmage. as they waited for the play to develop and the running back to get to them, Cody Grimm slashed between two blockers and tackled the ballcarrier for a 3 yard loss.

    Nothing more to be said

  27. passthebuc Says:

    I know management publicly states that Ruud is not expected to do what we as fans expect a middle linebacker to play.

    My only comment to that is that management or coaching is not going to publicly berate a player like Ruud.

    Eventually, they are going to faze him out.

  28. Capt.Tim Says:

    The people who bash Ruud don’t understand the Tampa 2 defense. Or football. Ruud will leave, because some intelligent team will pay him a ton of money, more than a MLB is worth in the Tampa 2.

    Just like the experts( and I) have been saying.

    Losing Ruud will hurt this defense 10 times more than cutting Talib, who is great only in the minds of some posters here.

    Just like the experts( and I) have been saying.

    I normally am not that obnoxious, but this is a long running argument. I am pointing it out for the intelligent guys on here.

    The Zombies will continue to insult Ruud and stroke Talib, despite the fact that no intelligent football person agrees with them. Proceding without fact or knowledge is the advantage of being a zombie, apparently

  29. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    Again, we don’t run the Tampa 2 but a small percentage of the time now. So while I agree the MLB may not be as important in the traditional Tampa 2, that’s irrelevant because we don’t play it like we used to. And who exactly is going to pay him big money? Who is in the market for a small linebacker that is basically a glorified safety? Nobody runs a Tampa 2 anymore, definitely not exclusively. You may be right and he may get big money, but I think it will be a waste of money to use him as a MLB.

    There are experts that have been saying Ruud should stay. However, there are also experts that say otherwise. This is not a fan concoction, but a media and expert one. I think the problem is you are only willing to listen to the guys that you feel are experts, because they are backing Ruud. And trust me, if he is that great of a player, they will re-sign him (because again, we don’t run a Tampa 2 that often). Maybe they will and you will be right, but if they don’t it’s not because a MLB is not important in our defense; it will be because they have found someone they feel is better.

    You are entitled to your opinion, and I greatly respect it, but it is uncool to call people who disagree with you “zombies” or say they don’t know anything about football. That’s no different than Thomas calling us sheep because we like the direction of the team. We just have a difference in opinion. I am in no way saying we should throw the guy out of town, but come on, you are crazy if you think he is an elite LB (in any system). Good, yes; elite, not even close.

    And yes, I do feel Talib is better at his position than Ruud, and so do many experts. Talib won an award this year as the best D-back in the league. If you think that is not legit, check the other winners, all perennial pro-bowlers. Is he great, probably not yet. But he is certainly on the door step. The only reason you don’t like Talib is because of his off the field issues, which is fine, but to say he’s not a very very good player is just false. I suggest you go back and watch some of the games, in particular Cincinnati and Arizona.

  30. RahWillBringBackRuud Says:

    Raheem Morris is at fault for f——g this defense up. Honestly, this is Rahs last year as a DC. He is not going to have any more scapegoats left to blame as he has already ran his excuses off. Just wait until the dline coaches get pissed that Rah puts them in 3 man fronts with a nickle or dime LB and secondary package. These 2 dline coaches are gonna see real fast who is at fault for putting this team in bad positions. Raheem Morris is.

    With Ruud goneand Talib suspended, Raheem is gonna be fully exposed. This is actually best for the Bucs long term… because this would isolate Rah as the weakest link. The quicker his demise happens, the quicker the Buccaneers can get a real coach to coach this team.

    Again, Raheem said he wants Ruud, and the Ruud haters dont want to bring Ruud back. You would think those guys would side with Rah since they love him so much.

    The truer statement about Ruud most likely is, he doesnt WANT to come back to Tampa mainly because of the aweful fanbase divide in Tampa. How could you blame him?

    The coach who won the Super Bowl and has more wins and division titles than any other has been run out of town by the media and fans, even jesting how he should get booed on MNF. These are the same people who bash a veteran LB of 5 years with the club. This guy isnt a fan favorite, he is a fan scapegoat. Why on earth would he want to stay and play in this town with this dumbass fanbase? I dont blame him for wanting to leave.

    Perhaps Shawan King and Ian Beckles should be brought in to help clean out the rest of the Bucs scapegoats. I wonder how many consecutive black outs the Bucs would have then?

    Way to chase off the fan demographic that can actually afford to go to the games Glazer Boys! This is the kind of fanbase you have catered too. Nice Job. Enjoy the BLACK outs.

  31. PWNASAURUS Says:

    Wow. RahWillBringBackRuud is a racist. No wonder he wants Ruud to stay. It’s his great white hope. HE SUCKS. YOU SUCK. You probably wanna SUCK Ruud. Faggit.