Nick Houllis, the editor, lead writer, and head honcho at BucStop, was kind enough to respond to my request for a few thoughts on ex-Buccaneer and new Titan MLB Barrett Ruud.
These are Nick’s feelings about Ruud, after the jump.
Barrett Ruud was a focal point here in Tampa Bay. The Middle Linebacker or Mike is an important position in the Tampa Two defense. Unlike the traditional Cover Two where two safeties share a half of the field deep, the Mike Linebacker is responsible for the middle deep in the Tampa Two. He must be fast enough to cover deep, yet physical enough to help in run defense. Hardy Nickerson was our first Mike LB. Shelton Quarles was another great one.
In 2005 Quarles was getting old, the Bucs drafted Ruud. In 2006 Quarles played hurt a lot, and Ruud got in a lot of time. In 2007 Quarles was let go in the offseason and hired in the front office as scout. Ruud became the starter, and Bucs fans loved him!
He often led the team in tackles, but for the first two years, it seems Ruud disappeared at the tail end of seasons. not to worry, the whole Bucs team seemed to do that under Jon Gruden.
But then the Bucs D line wore down and got old. Replacements were not as good. Now the middle linebacker, at least when run stopping came in to play, was all alone on an island.
For the last few years, Ruud has led the team in tackles, but most of his tackles are ten yards downfield. Put Ruud in coverage, and he excels. But he lacks the size to shed blockers. Last year two video plays sold him out…he was trucked over by a 200 pound running back no one heard of, and against the 49ers, two OLinemen threw him about 8 yards like a rag doll.
He was a fan favorite however all the time, the Stadium announcer would go…” Tackle by no. 51, Barrett…” and crowd would go…” Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuud”.
Of course, radio show hosts the last few years mocked him with that. There was almost no doubt the Bucs would let him go. But he was a favorite in the Locker room, a captain, and a stand up guy.
Now as a Titan? Who knows. Sometimes guys play better in other systems, sometimes other positions. To me Ruud should be a safety, he’s too small to play LB. But Bucs fans are looking forward to seeing LeGarrette Blount run him over week 12. I guarantee you it will be a topic of discussion!
Thanks to Nick for sharing some of his thoughts on Ruud with us. We’ll also be doing a question and answer exchange with BucStop prior to the Week 12 matchup between the Titans and Bucs.