2 weeks from now, we will be discussing what the Bucs did with the 3rd overall pick in the draft. Giggity. I hate that we'll be talking about it on a Thursday evening rather than a Saturday afternoon, but, eh, whatever. Mo' money for everybody to spread the draft out past 2 days, so the almighty dollar will rule (looking at you...NCAA and your 96-team tourney).
Barrett Ruud tells Rick Stroud that he will be approaching the 2010 season as his last with the Buccaneers. Ruud is operating on a one-year, $3.6+ million restricted free agent tender and the Buccaneers have been unwilling to date to discuss a new deal with their middle backer. Many fans are confused as to why the Bucs wouldn't want to lock up Ruud, especially after coming off a year where he tallied the second-highest total number of tackles in team history. Probably because the Bucs don't see him in their long-term plans. Listen, I am a big Barrett Ruud fan...have his jersey hanging in my closet. However, the Bucs just don't appear interested in committing to him long-term....at least not until they see something they like this upcoming season. The Bucs have been willing to sit down at the table and sign guys they feel are in their plans...with Winslow, Michael Clayton, and Derrick Ward as examples. Looking very quickly at Ruud, his metrics show a player who's become less efficient since 2007 in stopping the run, which is the hallmark responsibility for an inside linebacker. Tackles are really are a faux stat, especially when the defense spent as much time on the field as it did last season. Ruud, as a 4-3 MLB, doesn't have to cut through traffic as much as a 3-4 inside backer because he's got an extra lineman up front to absorb blocks. That being said, per Football Outsiders, Ruud's Stop Rate % in the running game went from 78% in 2007 to 58% and 57% over 2008 and 2009 seasons, respectively (stop rate % vs. run measures an individual player's ability to hold opposing backs to 60% of yards to gain on 1st down, 45% on 2nd down, and 0% on 3rd/4th down on plays in which that player is involved). This dropped his rank among all linebackers from 9th in the league in 2007 to 77th and 87th, respectively. The total yards per play for all plays Ruud was in on ballooned to 4.7 in 2009. Part of this can be attributed to poor line play last year, but Ruud's decline in statistical production can be traced back to the 2008 season.
Both of our DT man-crushes are coming to Tampa in the coming week for final visits at One Buc Place, with McCoy to visit Sunday and Suh on Tuesday. Eric Berry is also set to visit on Sunday. (Eric, I've got an extra room...you can stay with me and the wife and watch the '98 National Championship game together)
The times for the Bucs' 4 preseason games were announced today, with both Buccaneer home games on Saturday night.
Stephen Holder poses an interesting question the Bucs might be facing this upcoming season: Can the Bucs win without a big-time wide receiver? I don't want to test that question.
Apparently Mel Kiper shares my theoretical draft philosphy for the Bucs: McCoy with the 3rd pick, WR at 35, CB at 42. I don't know if this scares me or not.