The emergence of 3rd year MLB Barrett Ruud truly solidified our LB corps last season. He finished the season with 114 solo tackles and 31 assists, to go along with 2 INT and 3 fumble recoveries. We had to morph our standard Tampa 2 defense into a more traditional Cover 2 with Ruud though. Previous MLB Shelton Quarles was much more adept in coverage whereas Barrett reminds me of Zach Thomas, a tackling machine. The defense seemed to integrate seamlessly into this style though, as more emphasis was put on the coverage skills of Tanard Jackson at FS. The Bucs signed multiple MLB free agent’s this summer who all should have to battle for roster spots.
Gauranteed Spots – Barrett Ruud
Ruud is entrenched at the starting spot, and the rest of the members of this crew will be battling it out for the backup MLB spot in camp.
No Chance – All have a chance to make the roster
Battling for Spots – Adam Heyward, Teddy Lehman, Matt McCoy
Adam Heyward has the upper hand on recent FA additions Teddy Lehman and Matt McCoy. He proved to be an invaluable member of our special teams, and saw some spot duty as the backup Mike position. He was also a draft choice of the Bucs in ’06 so we have a little more vested in him than we do in Lehman and McCoy. McCoy has been a solid special teams player throughout his career and if either of these guys are going to make the roster, it is going to be primarily in that role. Lehman is kind of a poor mans Ruud, but the ability of Ryan Nece to play the backup MLB spot, as well as my opinion that in our defense, Derrick Brooks would make a solid Mike Linebacker, Lehman has the longest odds of anyone of making the team.