Originally written on The Stowaway  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Minnesota_vikings_v_d10c
Two years ago the Buccaneers went 10-6.  The leading tacklers on the squad were Barrett Ruud (85 tackles, 33 assists) and Geno Hayes (72 tackles, 10 assists).

After the 2010 season, Ruud entered free agency and left Tampa Bay for the Titans.

After the 2011 season, Hayes entered free agency and has left Tampa Bay for the Bears.

Since the retirement of Derrick Brooks in after the 2008 season, Hayes and Ruud were #1 and #2 in tackles until Ruud departed.  That's a great deal of production out the door in just two seasons.  However, the timing may have been exactly right.

Ruud signed a one year deal with the Tennessee Titans but only played in 9 games before going on injured reserve.  He entered free agency again this offseason and was not resigned.  Apparently, the Titans fans also were not extremely impressed with his play.  Ruud has now signed a one year pact with the Seattle Seahawks.   It appears the Buccaneers may have released him for good reason and at an appropriate time.

After starting all 16 games in 2010, Hayes was benched in Week 9 of the 2011 season for three games, making the 2011 season his least productive since his rookie year of 2008.  The statistics show a sharp drop-off in performance:  appearing in 16 games in 2011, Hayes recorded 45 tackles and 19 assists compared to 72 tackles and 10 assists in 2010 (also 16 games) and 80 tackles and 18 assists in 2011 (his best season and only 15 games).  The Bears have given Hayes a one-year contract.

Training camp will open this year with many young faces in the linebacking corps.  To replace the productivity above, the Buccaneers have spent three draft picks in two years on linebackers:  Mason Foster in 2011 and Najee Goode and Lavonte David in 2012.

Foster was extremely production last season, finishing the season with 58 tackles and 28 assists, leading all NFL rookie linebackers last season.  The third rounder (#84 overall) was the third most productive tackler on the Tampa Bay squad last season behind veterans S Sean Jones and CB Ronde Barber.  Foster, an extremely productive player in college, has shown flashes of being the type of player you can build around.  Clearly, Foster will be on the field for the opening snap of the 2012 NFL season.

Goode and David, drafted with the second and third picks by the Buccaneers this past April, will have to climb past three veterans to reach the starting lineup.  Dekoda Watson, Quincy Black, and Adam Hayward all appeared in at least 14 games last season (Watson and Hayward had two starts; Black had 12).  These players will have experience on their side when camp opens.

And there will be three new faces:  Rennie Curran was a midseason waiver wire pickup last season, Jacob Cutrera was signed last October and finished the season on IR, and Antonio Leak is a 2012 undrafted college free agent from Henderson State (Arkansas, Div II).

Linebacker could be the make-or-break position for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012.  They have a lot of experience and productivity to replace.  They have a lot of draft picks invested. They play an even front scheme, which means linebackers have to make tackles while the linemen up front take up gaps.

And they need some young players to grow up quickly.



GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still: Daughter has complications with transplant

Rivers denies report of problems with CP3 and Jordan

Orlando Magic hope Skiles can right sinking ship

Falcons waive Shembo over animal cruelty charges

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Tom Brady’s suspension appeal hearing set for June 23

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Scout: A-Rod 'looks like he doesn't give a (expletive)'

Belichick mum on Deflategate in first remarks since discipline

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Bucs veterans missing Jameis while he's at rookie symposium

WATCH: Josh Hamilton hits first two homers of the season

Did Andrew Bogut take a shot at Mark Jackson?

$70 million Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the NBA title, the parade will be for Oakland

SEC no longer allows transfers with 'serious misconduct' issues

Klay Thompson officially diagnosed with concussion

Snoop Dogg hooks Texas A&M up with adidas cleats

WATCH: Stephen Curry rides a mini-horse

Metta World Peace gets ejected after five fouls in one minute

On satellite camps and the SEC crying over its self-protections

Four NFL quarterbacks set to take a step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lightning reach Stanley Cup Final with Game 7 win

Devon Still's daughter has complications with transplant

$70M Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the title, the parade will be for Oakland

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Four QBs set to take step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

Top 10 stories from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Rangers-Lightning Game 7 preview

The can't-miss Prince Fielder

Chip Kelly: Tebow is a quarterback

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.