It would be much easier to write an article pertaining to star cornerback Aqib Talib denying the recent allegations of firing a weapon at a “fleeing victim”. In my opinion if Talib is willing to let his mother take the blame for this, that has to say something as in it is highly unlikely that Talib would throw his mother completely under a bus, unless he really did not fire shots at the accuser. I shudder to think about losing Aqib Talib for nothing, and I sincerely hope that the Bucs give him another chance after this incident is cleared. It should be mentioned that the accuser is a registered sex offender that thus far has not even had the two hundred and fifty dollars to pay a bail bondsmen to bail out of prison. I believe the man is looking for a payoff, knowing that the person he is accusing is a young, wealthy, successful, albeit controversial star cornerback in the NFL. There is a player that I would not mind that the Bucs cut ties with and his name is Barrett Ruud.
Even though Ruud is the captain of the defense, he has done very little in my opinion to earn a new contract. It is true that Ruud has led the team in tackles the last four seasons, to someone that does not watch the games he would appear to be a monster in the middle. When I watch Ruud play it makes me cringe when I see a hole open up knowing that Ruud will be the closest defender to the ball. When this is the case Ruud often times is not powerful enough to get off of his block, and therefore the opposing offensive line and running back has a clear path right into our secondary. Thank God Sabby Piscitelli is no longer depended on to be one of our last lines of defense, he sealed his fate by allowing Todd Heap to go untouched for a sixty plus yard touchdown (after losing his starting position to a rookie, and a free agent). Piscitelli now plays in Cleveland, which is the type of team a Barrett Ruud could probably help. Back to Mr. Ruud, our run defense has ranked at the bottom the league almost coincidentally when Ruud has been the captain of the defense.
Ruud is at best slightly above average at covering a zone in the “Tampa 2″, he is a horrible blitzer, and is not athletic enough to come up with splash plays. Our run defense is usually so bad because opponents linemen are able to either pancake Ruud , or knock him completely ouf of the play on first impact. For Pete’s sake when you search for Barrett Ruud on Youtube one of the most searched values are “Barrett Ruud gets run over”. I have come to the conclusion that Ruud is just not the player the statistics make him out to be. Ruud is probably our biggest liability when it comes to stuffing the run. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMY4cGWbLiY
The interception he did make this year was because Geno Hayes competely jacked up a Cardinal coming across the middle, and the ball flew right into the air where Ruud was standing. Besides this one play according to NFL.com Ruud only defended one pass all season. I will give Ruud some credit, during the Saints game Ruud did actually lay a hit on Julius Jones at the goalline forcing a very important fumble. Ruud has also earned the praise of coach Raheem Morris, who says “Ruud is a selfless player”. I do not remember what happened when Ruud was credited with a forced fumble against Cleveland week one. I know that Ruud probably does have his supporters, but when people call for Aqib Talib to be off of the team, citing that Talib was not even apart of the Morris/Dominik draft regime I would prefer that Ruud be gone.
When I think of a middle linebacker, I kind of think of a no nonsense, a$$ kicking, name taking, tough as nails, and mean as a pit bull son of a gun. Barrett Ruud is not the player I just mentioned, he is a finesse linebacker that usually does not finish tackles himself. I often times caught Ruud, instead of initiating contact he would just dive for a players spikes and hope to trip up an opponent. Chris Ivory, an undrafted rookie running back for the New Orleans Saints drug Ruud downfield for about eight to ten extra yards after initial contact. That was not the first time I watched Ruud get drug downfield by an opposing back. In my opinion Ruud is too slow to excel in zone coverage in space, and is not strong enough to hold his own against the run. If the Bucs have any new starters on defense in 2011, I am hoping that it is not in the secondary but at middle linebacker. Ruud is known to Call of Duty fans as .50 cal Barrett Rudd, my advice would be for Ruud to put down the video game controller and pick up some dumbells.