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CBWx2

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: November 16, 2010, 11:14:31 AM

I have read countless posts about how it's Barrett Ruud's fault that we don't play the run well, and how we should draft a MLB or bring in a FA to replace Ruud, and how we will never be good against the run until we get a beast at MLB. While I think that Ruud is certainly not having his best season, I do believe he has been the best LB on our team this year. I also believe that much of the anger and blame for our woes in run defense has been unfairly misdirected.

Much of the criticism of Ruud is based on the fact that he does not shoot gaps or make tackles in the backfield. Well, Raheem Morris has recently stated that Ruud is playing exactly how he is supposed to play within his defensive gameplan. Ruud has fallen back on run plays by design in order to protect not only his gap, but Black's and Hayes' gaps as well. If you watch the game not knowing this fact, it does appear that Ruud is just standing there waiting for the play rather than attacking the gap. If you watch the game knowing this fact, then it should become apparent to you that Ruud is doing exactly what his coaches are telling him to do, and that is falling back and protecting the gaps.

Another criticism is that Ruud can't shed blocks. The truth of the matter is that over the past two seasons, Ruud has had to contend with having O-lineman in his face far more often than he did in '07 and '08. The fact that our DT's have struggled to hold up against double teams has lead to guards and centers getting free far too often and meeting Ruud at the point of attack. While some MLB's are better than others at shedding the blocks of O-lineman, Ruud's struggles there are not uncommon. Brian Urlacher, for example, was heavily criticized for the exact same thing earlier in his career. It has not stopped him from producing Pro-Bowl caliber seasons largely due to the fact that Chicago has done well in acquiring DT's that hold up well against double teams, thus shielding Urlacher from having to constantly face O-lineman.

Perhaps he biggest problem in the criticism of Ruud is in the old school mentality that so many fans seem to have about the MLB position that suggests that the MLB is the most important position there is on the field in run defense. That has actually not been the case for the Buccaneers since Tony Dungy implemented the Tampa 2 in '96. In 13 seasons at WILL-linebacker in the Tampa 2 system, Derrick Brooks lead the team in tackles for 9 of them. During this time, Pro-Bowl MLB's Hardy Nickerson and Shelton Quarles only topped Brooks in tackles once a piece. Nickerson lead the team in tackles in '97 getting 147 of them compared to Brooks' 145, and Quarles lead the team with 133 tackles in '05 to Brooks' 125.  The other two seasons came in '07 and '08 at the end of the future HOF's career. Barrett Ruud lead the team in tackles each of those seasons. This is not just the case here in Tampa. It is a common trend among Tampa 2 defenses across the league. In 8 seasons of the Tampa 2 being run in Indianapolis, the MLB was the leading tackler in just 2 seasons.


During Brooks' 13 seasons playing the WILL in the Tampa 2, he averaged 126 tackles a season. That is including the '07 and '08 seasons where there was a sharp drop in his production that bring down the average a bit. Current WILL-linebacker Geno Hayes had just 98 tackles last season, and is on pace for just 78 tackles this season. While I certainly don't expect for Geno Hayes to play as well as a future HOF'er, the tackle numbers should at least be closer than 30 to 50 tackles short at that position. I think the evidence is there to suggest that it is Geno Hayes, and not Barrett Ruud, that has been among the weakest links on defense, and it is his position that needs to be upgraded if we are going to get better against the run. Drafting or signing another MLB and leaving Hayes in place will produce the exact same results unless we somehow change defensive schemes to switch the focus away from that position, which is unlikely to happen.


Detrimental

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#1 : November 16, 2010, 11:31:37 AM

Exactly. The WILL is suppose to be making plays in the 4-3 scheme. Hayes hasn't made many plays this year, spare the Arizona game. Hayes is always out of position, wrong gap, not a sure tackler, and doesn't shed blocks well. He is the ANTI-Derrick Brooks. I'd call Derrick Brooks right now, and I guarantee we'd get better production from a 36 yr old Brooks than Hayes. Brooks was gap sound, steady tackler, and knew how to get around blocks. Brooks would hit the lineman at an angle which would cause the opposing back to change direction and he'd still be able to make the tackle. I know Brooks is HOF bound but man I miss that man. My favorite Buccaneer will go down as a top 5 olb to ever play the game. Back to Hayes though, this is year TWO in his development. He hasn't progressed so he is what he is. Not a difference maker thus far. Quincy Black has progressed into his 2nd season as a starter into a playmaking sam.
: November 16, 2010, 11:33:16 AM Detrimental

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#2 : November 16, 2010, 01:20:06 PM

Barret is that you?

I kid, I kid. Good points. I think  Ruud is doing his job for the most part, and found it interesting to hear him say after last game how it was refreshing to be able to just shoot the A gap a few times rather then stay back to read and react, which resulted in his sack. Seems to corroborate your statements.

I don't know that we can assume that the standards of the Tampa 2 under the previous coaching staffs apply though, given that Morris has proclaimed this to be his own version, the Tampa 2.5 or whatever. So, that being said, I don't see that we can say Hayes/Ruud should have tackle ratios ala Brooks/Quarles. I do agree though that Hayes has been extremely inconsistent and I wouldn't cry if they tried to upgrade the Will position.

And with the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, Louisville.

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#3 : November 16, 2010, 02:05:49 PM

Geno Hayes should be a backup linebacker and special teams player on a good NFL defense. That isn't bad though for a sixth-rounder. Hayes just isn't big enough to play linebacker in the NFL.

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#4 : November 16, 2010, 02:46:37 PM

I sure am glad to see I'm not alone. Hayes is too undersized and gets ran over constantly, His occaisional splash play does not make up for his piss poor play the other 90% of the time. I'd rather see Watson get a shot over there.

Ruud still needs to go. Unlike the old Tampa Two where he was asked to drop back in zone coverage on almost every play, Rah's defense calls for the MLB to stuff the run and blitz quite a bit. Ruud just isn't a physical player. He gets man handled and can't shed blocks. We need a thumper in the middle. We also need him to be a general. A high energy vocal leader for this defense. A physical hard hitting guy that sets the standard and gives us an identity.


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#5 : November 16, 2010, 03:15:32 PM

Hmmmm... I agree with all of you somewhat.

I think Hayes needs to go before Ruud does. But, Ruud needs to add more muscle if he is to stay. I rather have his coverage with a complete DLine, than a thumper with a complete DLine. That being said, Black and Hayes need to play more soundly. I dont see Black going anywhere because our defensive fron packages make him flexible, but Hayes is just out of place. Some of his splash plays come from errors, and force Ruud to stay back and guard the gaps instead of shooting them and meeting LB's near the LOS. Ruud needs to shed more blocks or at least redirect LB's or even take down some as he is prone to getting run over. He is however a solid tackler, and a smart playcaller. Which is what we need him to be.

It all starts up front, and when theres multiple gaps that are not well filled or covered, the MLB is out of position and exploited if he's not a thumper. If he's a thumper, he's probably not as good at coverage. In Tampa 2, which is more important? We need to anchor our DEnds, force runs up the middle, allow McCoy to penetrate on one-on-ones and have out NT pull the center. We fill all gaps and we can have Ruud shooting them like he did Sunday and result in sacks and tackles at the LOS. But for that, we need our WILL to play soundly, fast, and shoot the right gaps. Hayes has taken some terrible angles this year and we've been burned bad. I'm sure our coaches see this and have to compensate with Ruud having to play less aggressive.

Derrick Brooks, NFL Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

CBWx2

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#6 : November 16, 2010, 03:17:30 PM

Ruud still needs to go. Unlike the old Tampa Two where he was asked to drop back in zone coverage on almost every play, Rah's defense calls for the MLB to stuff the run and blitz quite a bit. Ruud just isn't a physical player. He gets man handled and can't shed blocks. We need a thumper in the middle. We also need him to be a general. A high energy vocal leader for this defense. A physical hard hitting guy that sets the standard and gives us an identity.

The only criticism of Ruud's leadership have come from people who aren't on the team. He is viewed as a vocal leader by everybody on the defense, including Ronde Barber. Is he the most physical of MLB's? Probably not. Would I prefer that we had a Ray Lewis clone in the middle of our defense? Of course. Who wouldn't? But this desire from Bucs fans to see some Ray Lewis clone at MLB is just that. It's a desire, not a need.

Assuming that the DE position gets addressed, as it has to be an off season priority, I believe we can play the run well with Ruud at MLB as long as the ROLB position is upgraded. History is on my side in that belief. Ruud took over for an injured Shelton Quarles in '06, and started in '07 and '08. We were ranked 17th, 17th, and 19th against the run in those three seasons. However, I strongly believe that we cannot play the run well if we replace Ruud and do not upgrade the ROLB position. With Hayes manning the WILL, we haven't even sniffed the top 30 in run defense.


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#7 : November 16, 2010, 03:33:14 PM

I re-watched this past game against the Panthers and we awfully do need a Defensive End that can contain the run. I've seen #71 and #91 blow their contain while their rookie running back cuts to the outside after being stopped in the middle.

Feel Real Good

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#8 : November 16, 2010, 03:41:40 PM

I think we've all heard the Tampa 2 is built to send all the plays to the WLB, but I know if I were a coach and my options for defensive success were:

1. Find the next Derrick Brooks

2. Find a MLB who can fill at the line of scrimmage

The choice would be easy.

FRG is the most logical poster on this board.  You guys just don\'t like where the logical conclusions take you.

CBWx2

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#9 : November 16, 2010, 04:23:33 PM

I think we've all heard the Tampa 2 is built to send all the plays to the WLB, but I know if I were a coach and my options for defensive success were:

1. Find the next Derrick Brooks

2. Find a MLB who can fill at the line of scrimmage

The choice would be easy.

We don't need to find the next Derrick Brooks (although it would be nice if we did). We just need a ROLB that can get more than 78 tackles in a season and who doesn't lead the NFL in missed tackles at the position.


Feel Real Good

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#10 : November 16, 2010, 04:30:43 PM

I think we've all heard the Tampa 2 is built to send all the plays to the WLB, but I know if I were a coach and my options for defensive success were:

1. Find the next Derrick Brooks

2. Find a MLB who can fill at the line of scrimmage

The choice would be easy.

We don't need to find the next Derrick Brooks (although it would be nice if we did). We just need a ROLB that can get more than 78 tackles in a season and who doesn't lead the NFL in missed tackles at the position.
Which ROLB's in the NFL right now would you build a defense around?

FRG is the most logical poster on this board.  You guys just don\'t like where the logical conclusions take you.

bradentonian

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#11 : November 16, 2010, 04:33:31 PM

I think we've all heard the Tampa 2 is built to send all the plays to the WLB, but I know if I were a coach and my options for defensive success were:

1. Find the next Derrick Brooks

2. Find a MLB who can fill at the line of scrimmage

The choice would be easy.

We don't need to find the next Derrick Brooks (although it would be nice if we did). We just need a ROLB that can get more than 78 tackles in a season and who doesn't lead the NFL in missed tackles at the position.
Which ROLB's in the NFL right now would you build a defense around?


I haven't seen any indication that Raheem is trying to build the defense around Hayes


CBWx2

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#12 : November 16, 2010, 04:51:44 PM

I think we've all heard the Tampa 2 is built to send all the plays to the WLB, but I know if I were a coach and my options for defensive success were:

1. Find the next Derrick Brooks

2. Find a MLB who can fill at the line of scrimmage

The choice would be easy.

We don't need to find the next Derrick Brooks (although it would be nice if we did). We just need a ROLB that can get more than 78 tackles in a season and who doesn't lead the NFL in missed tackles at the position.
Which ROLB's in the NFL right now would you build a defense around?

If we are just talking 4-3 defenses, then Jon Beason, Lance Briggs, Mike Peterson, Brian Cushing, and Keith Rivers come to mind.
: November 16, 2010, 05:00:00 PM Samuel Dow


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#13 : November 16, 2010, 04:57:06 PM

I think the Bucs got to replace Ruud and Hayes. The DL and Sabby was changed out and the run defense still sucks. The LBs are the principal guys for stopping the run and two thirds of the linebackers are not true run stuffers. They need to get bigger in the middle and at weakside.

Hey Dom! Two new linebackers please!

I\'m you\'re Huckleberry.....

JDouble

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#14 : November 16, 2010, 05:10:38 PM

#1. We aren't  a cover two team anymore. We don't funnel everything to the ROLB. In Rah's defense the MLB and LOLB are every bit as important as the ROLB.

#2. As long as we have Ragdoll Ruud in the middle, teams will continue to run right up the gut on us all day long no matter who we have at DT. The MLB is the guy that gives your defense it's identity, and right now our identity is a soft team that gets man handled by strong physical teams.

#3. We don't need a Ray Lewis clone, and that's good cause we are as likely to find that as we are a Derrick Brooks clone. However, the gap between Ruud and Lewis is about as big as it gets. There are plenty of guys that are much more physical than Ruud but nowhere near Lewis. When we draft Nate Irving this year you'll all see exactly what I mean.  :p

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