Nov 6, 2011; Nashville,TN, USA; Tennessee Titans middle linebacker Barrett Ruud (55) breaks up a pass intended for Cincinnati Bengals tight end Donald Lee (86) during the second half at LP Field. Cincinnati defeated Tennessee 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE

Analysis: Seattle Seahawks sign Barrett Ruud

The Seattle Seahawks have signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Barrett Ruud, who was a mainstay at middle linebacker before falling apart in recent years. He fell out of favor in Tampa after the 2010 season, because he was consistently neutralized in run defense to the point that he was a completely liability to the team. However, he was an important player for the Bucs a few years ago, because his coverage skills at MLB were key as was his leadership.

Ruud spent the 2011 season with the Tennessee Titans, but he also fell out of favor there and was replaced at the position by underwhelming rookie Colin McCarthy, who barely fared out better as the starter. Not only was Ruud poor in run defense, but his play in pass coverage slipped.

The Seattle Seahawks have signed Barrett Ruud to be David Hawthorne’s replacement at middle linebacker, so expect a huge drop-off in play in that department. Hawthorne  is a beast against the run, has turned into an adequate player in coverage, and he can make plays by forcing and recovering fumbles for solid gains for the defense. Ruud is a good leader and provides a nice veteran presence, but he shouldn’t be starting right now.

I hope he finds his footing with this one-year deal in Seattle, and a scenery change to Pete Carroll’s squad could do well for him. After all, he didn’t fit Tennessee’s scheme and should fair out better in Seattle. The only question is, how much better will he be? The Seahawks will hoping that he can substantially improve from last season’s disaster with the Titans.

We can only wish the best for Barrett Ruud in the future, as he spent six seasons with us and has obviously been negatively effected by age quicker than others. That’s probably why his run defense has fallen off the steepest cliff imaginable. I hope he recovers from the groin injury he suffered last season, which only allowed him to play in nine games for the Titans.

Most fans in Seattle have reacted negatively to the former Bucs’ hiring, and I agree with them. He is not an aggressive player in run defense and struggled mightily in that regard, even if he is one of the smarter linebackers in the league and a great leader. That doesn’t mean much when you struggle in the most important aspect of the game for an MLB. Don’t look at the inflated tackle numbers, since they don’t tell the whole story.

The Seahawks will most likely draft an MLB to start in the near future, with Ruud being the veteran to mentor him and help him learn the aspects of the NFL game. This is a great signing if they have a young MLB in place, but it is a poor one if Barrett Ruud is named the starter and stays the starter for more than half the season. People who look at the stats will cite his 100+ tackles seasons ago, but the truth is that the Bucs ran him out of town. He misses tackles, doesn’t attack holes at all, and he really lost a step in coverage. Leadership can only take you so far in this league.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Barrett Ruud Colin McCarthy David Hawthorne Free Agency Pete Carroll Seattle Seahawks Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tennessee Titans

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