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June 7, 2011 @ 7:48 am
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PR Predicts: LB Barrett Ruud

Written by Charlie
Charlie Campbell


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Does Pewter Report think Barrett Ruud will re-sign with Tampa Bay? Why could he leave? What kind of free agent marketplace will there be for Ruud? Find out the answers and prediction right here.

PewterReport.com continues this series of articles that predicts whether a Bucs veteran free agent will be back with the team in 2011.

Ruud, 28, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent when free agency starts. The 6-foot-2, 241-pound Ruud is entering his seventh NFL season.

Ruud led the Bucs in tackles in 2010 with 161 stops. He had six tackles for a loss, two sacks, three quarterback pressures, one interception, four passes broken up, and two forced fumbles. Ruud started all 16 games at middle linebacker.

Ruud has led Tampa Bay’s defense in tackles the last four seasons. There has been a lot of changes that Ruud has had to endure. He has had three different linebacker coaches the past three seasons in Gus Bradley (2008), Joe Barry (2009), and Joe Baker (2010). The Bucs had a failed experiment with Jim Bates’ defense in 2009, although Ruud almost broke the franchise record for tackles in a season that year with 205 stops.

Ruud has also had a lot of different defensive tackles playing in front of him over the past three seasons. With Baker returning in 2011 and the Bucs bringing back the same group of defensive tackles, which includes Gerald McCoy, Roy Miller, Brian Price, Al Woods and possibly Frank Okam, Ruud would finally have some continuity in coaches and teammates that he has lacked since the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

The Bucs coaching staff loves Ruud and wants him to come back. They would feel much more comfortable heading into the season with the general of their defense coming back rather than trying to have a crash-course for rookie Mason Foster or former practice squader Tyrone McKenzie as the new middle linebacker. The Buccaneers organization loves Ruud’s intelligence and his ability to audible the defense. 

One of the reasons the Buccaneers drafted Foster was because they believe he can play multiple positions in their defense, so if Ruud comes back the Bucs will have no qualms with starting Foster as a Sam (strongside) linebacker. Starting Sam (strongside) linebacker Quincy Black could also be a free agent and he easily could see a better marketplace because he could fit into a 3-4 defense. Black, 27, is viewed as an ascending player that the Bucs believe will have more demand in free agency. 

Tampa Bay’s players and staff also feel that Ruud will play better in 2011 due to improved play from young defensive tackles McCoy, Miller and Price. Last year the trio was young and battled injuries. In 2009, Ruud had veterans Chris Hovan and Ryan Sims in front of him. In 2008, he played behind Hovan and Jovan Haye. All of those veterans were let go by Tampa Bay with the later two out of the NFL. 

Another issue that could help Ruud re-sign with Tampa Bay is there aren’t many teams running a Tampa 2 defense in the NFL, and Ruud is not viewed as a player that can cross over into a 3-4 defense. Thus, many believe there won’t be much of a market for Ruud in free agency. Adding in the lockout and how that will hurt players signing with new teams because they don’t know the playbook, and Ruud could see a disappointing market place. 

Ruud will probably seek a contract like the one that Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk signed, a five-year contract that averages between $6-7 million per season. Tampa Bay won’t be willing to pay that. Given the lockout it is extremely unlikely that he would be able to command the big contract that he would like and Pewter Report believes that it won’t take a large contract for Tampa Bay to re-sign him. 

Ruud likes his teammates and head coach/defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. He would like a long-term lucrative commitment from Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers drafted Foster in the third round and he is starting his career as a middle linebacker. Tampa Bay also likes McKenzie. He was a third-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2009. The Bucs have some young depth at the position with Foster and McKenzie. Plus, Foster could be the long-term starter and getting him on the field early will accentuate his learning curve. 

A few months ago the situation was more murky, but with the length of the lockout and holding the draft before free agency Ruud’s options elsewhere in the NFL have shrunk dramatically. Teams aren’t going to be eager to make a change in the play-caller for their defense, so that makes Ruud much more appealing to the Buccaneers. I don’t think Tampa Bay will give him the long-term deal he wants, but I think they will come together on a one-year contract between $ 4-5 million. It also could be a longer contract that gives the Bucs an easy out after one season. Right now, Pewter Report predicts that Ruud will return to Tampa Bay in 2011.

Last modified on Tuesday, 07 June 2011 08:03

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  • avatar

    I haven't read any other comments besides the ones between pink and scubdog...which were hilarious. But I, for one, am happy to hear some people predicting Ruud back. I think he's done fantastically with what the Bucs have tried to pass off as a defense around him. He's the true QB of our defense and I think it'd be a couple of years before McKenzie or Foster can run our defense as well as Ruud consistantly does.
  • avatar

    scubog: Lol, I'll have to make sure my wife reads your post. She has to see first hand the fan I hope to be someday!
  • avatar

    Pinkstob: I don't remember the funeral story. But I do have one of my own. My dad died in 1979 right before the Eagles playoff game. I had an extended viewing period so I wouldn't miss the game and of course I said it was to allow out of town family members to arrive. My daughters asked me if their wedding was on the day of a Bucs game which would I attend. I told them if they scheduled their wedding on the day of a Bucs game they obviously didn't want me at their wedding. When my son was young I took him to his first game. His stomach hurt from eating junk and asked if we could go home. I said no because he wasn't going to die. He asked what if he did die. I told him he wouldn't start to stink until the game was over so we were staying. He never asked to leave again. Daughters wedding was in April but not during the draft.Tradition is a wonderful thing.
  • avatar

    scubog: It's hard to respond when you put it that way! If you haven't missed a play in 30+ years then that is truly impressive. Maybe I'll do better this season now that I have a goal to shoot for :-). I remember in '09 when I missed the big win against the Saints for a funeral you jumped on me about that too so I don't doubt you haven't missed a snap in that long.
  • avatar

    Lets be fully honest here, Rudd is a GREAT pass defending Mike, but vs the run, he is not that good. He lacks the size to shed blocks or make tackles, as you've seen with slo mo clips on my www.bucstop.com website. But how many times do you remember a running back getting through the line for Hardy Nickerson to have to tackle one on one? Never....they didn't get past Sapp/Culpepper. If the interior of the line can do their job, rudd should go back to playing at his 2007-2008 level. Foster is the future though, but like Rudd learned for a year under Quarles, so should Foster.
  • avatar

    Pinkstob: I never believed I'd be giving advise like this; but after you said you miss 5% of the game for bowel movements I had to chime in. I have never missed a play in the 30+ years. Here's why. I know when to go, "TV Timeout." There is a large man standing on the west sideline, 30 yard line wearing a huge orange glove. He controls the officials for TV timesout. When he crosses his chest with the huge orange glove the officials will stop play. That's when you hit the urinal. Time won't start until he drops his arm to his side. It should be enough time unless you're one of those guys in front of me standing four feet back, holding two beers and letting the little guy aim itself for five minutes.
  • avatar

    The Bucs have never had an elite player at SAM. Foster was drafted for either WILL, or MLB. Watson stood out in limited play last year, I see him at SAM, McKenzie in the MLB, and Foster at WILL. Didn't Foster lead the nation playing WILL last year? He's plenty fast enough, his favorite player of all time is D Brooks, it makes sense to play him at the spot he played in college.I think the Bucs will have three new starters at LB. Ruud is simply to soft, Hayes to small,goodbye.
  • avatar

    Rudd is the leading tackler on the team and has been for yrs. He is not going anywhere. He may not be the best middle linebacker in the league, but right now he is the best backer we have, and he runs the defense on the field. The problem is that we had a legend at linebacker when he started, and I think everyone wants him to be Derrick Brooks. No one ever will be that good. My take is Rudd ends his career here.
  • avatar

    seat26- keep dreaming!
  • avatar

    I know this article talks about Ruud and Black potentially leaving in FA but I think it is Ruud and Black who should stay and they should get rid of Hayes. I know Hayes had a pretty descent rookie season, comparable to Brooks first season they say but I'd beg to differ, I still think he is too small. I think if anything get rid of Hayes and keep the other two. Apparently Watson is the fastest LB on the team so why not put him in a will or even McKenzie. Foster played mostly will in college too but the coaching staff thinks he lacks the speed to make the plays necessary to be a great WLB. Let Foster develope behind Ruud and even take a few plays in at sam, and then in a couple years trade or release Ruud. Just a thought. By the way I also think Ruud will play better in 2011 with the new DT's and the experience they got last year.
  • avatar

    The lockout also is favorable for Rudd. He will eventually be replaced, but with our DL improvement, he will also improve. Teams do need veteran leadership.
  • avatar

    Despite being an owner of a Ruud jersey, I have to agree with Dman - he's not the answer and we need to plug in our young players so this team ripens at just the right moment. A Super Bowl window is about 4 years so he's somewhat out of sync with the rest of the core players. Ruud is a good cover LB, but not strong at the point of attack. I'd rather him lose 20 lbs and become a safety than stay in the middle. We need a guy who can bring down big backs like Turner, Stewart, and now Ingram - Not be dragged down the field like that poor dog from National Lampoon's vacation!
  • avatar

    Too late now :-)
  • avatar

    Hey, Pink, I didn't want to know that!!
  • avatar

    Thanks for the clarification Checkmeout and macabee. Just to clarify I wasn't doubting whether PR had it right; I just wanted to know who the splash plays happened against. Every now and then I'll miss a play because I'm on the john during the game. Between the spicy wings, the alcohol, the stress and the excitement of the game I spend about 5% of each game in the bathroom. Like that play where Blount ran over Ray Lewis (so my friends tell me)...yeah, I was on the crapper.
  • avatar

    Ruud is not the answer. Keeping him delays finding the right fit. Don't bring him back - need to develop the next guy(s). This is no different than making Freeman sit on the bench watching Leftwich.
  • avatar

    I have been very disappointed in Ruud the past two seasons, yes he may lead the team in tackles but where is he making those tackles? always down the field 7-10 yards. I always focus on the middle linebacker when the bucs are on defense and it never fails that Ruud cannot get of his blocks until the runner goes by him , he never sticks anybody at the line of scrimmage and i feel he is one of the main reasons our run defense was so bad last year, id love to see another team sign him and put in one of the young guys we have picked up the past two seasons but I know the lockout will have a lot to do with teams being hesitant to sign a new play caller on defense because of the lack of time to learn a scheme.
  • avatar

    I am not always a huge Ruud fan but he could be worth resigning if Morris thinks the DL will improve as much as we expect and at the right price. When I take into account the experience our young DL and DE group got from working together last year, the return of Price and Mcoy, the addition of Clayborn and Bowers, and the more aggressive DL philosophy and coaching from Keith Millard and Grady Stretz; I believe the Bucs are poised for the DL to have a vastly improved year. Ruud will benefit from this tremendously if he is resigned. Along with his ability to recognize and diagnosis plays quickly, this DL should be able to kept him clean so he can be positioned to make more of his tackles at the line of scrimmage or in the back field. His chances of being resigned could improve if Morris is thinking along this line. I know there is a lot of ifs and a few things have to break in his favor but thinking positively this could be a big season for him.
  • avatar

    @Pinkstob, Checkmeout is correct: 1 INT 10/31 Arizona W38-35, 2 sacks - 11/14 Carolina W31-16 and 12/26 Seattle W38-15, in addition - 4 passes defensed, 85 solo tackles, 33 assist, 118 total - no TDs. Stats courtesy of CBSSPORTS.com.
  • avatar

    @Pinkstob, I think he got his INT against the cardinals, I remember it to be a good one as it was inches of the ground in a tight space, think Hayes forced the fumble and he caught it, was a good catch. And yes i can picture the sack, I remember him getting a sack towards the end of the season can't remember which team so PR definately has stats correct
  • avatar

    Sacks came against panthers and Seahawks
  • avatar

    Sign Rudd for $3.5 million this year with a 1/2 mil signing bonus for next year at the same salary.
  • avatar

    On a side note, I found some of those 2010 stats surprising (although I'm sure PR has listed them before). Does anybody else remember Ruud sacking a QB last year? I also don't remember him getting an INT. Does anybody know what games those were and if we were playing a decent team? I do hope if Ruud is re-signed that he improves his pass breakups and INT's. He never comes off the field, so he should be making more plays in the passing game.
  • avatar

    I've felt we should re-sign Ruud to a 1 or 2 year deal ever since I saw the list of FA's that will be available on NFL.com a few weeks back. That list looked like @$$. Ruud was the best LB on it so why not re-sign him? However, let's not just give him the starting position. Let him battle it out with McKinzie and groom Foster as our SLB for the next 10 years. Then we can double-dip for the 3rd year in a row in next year's draft with our 1st two picks and draft a WLB and a MLB if need be. I'm glad I read this article and PR has come to a similar conclusion. It makes me even more confident that it could work.
  • avatar

    I agree, Ruud should be back with 1 or 2yr contract. Again it gives us a seasoned veteran and defensive captain that can compete until new guys are ready. Go Bucs
  • avatar

    Is it possible to move Ruud to either the Sam or the Will, still make the calls, and put Foster in the Mike?
  • avatar

    I'm not a huge fan although it sounds like he's a great person, but i'm looking for the Hardy Nickerson-type. But this analysis sounds well reasoned. This may turn into a big positive since the ability to hit the ground running will be a valuable commodity if we get the stupid lockout over with.
  • avatar

    The key to this debate is the sentence - "The Bucs coaching staff loves Ruud and wants him to come back". The PR poll is 55%(return) - 45%(not return). The Bucs will try to re-sign him within reason. The lockout increases that probability because it lessens the desire for any other team to pay big bucks and get little benefit from a shortened season. He will be back!
  • avatar

    Sadly I agree. I think due to the situation of this offseason Ruud will get another year in Tampa.
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