Ruud spent the first six year of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after being drafted in the second round out of Nebraska. He was the Bucs' starter at middle linebacker for the past four seasons, posting over 100 tackles each season because that's the kind of thing middle linebackers do in many defenses. He may not have quite as many tackles as Stephen Tulloch, but is very assignment-sound and should be a big upgrade in coverage.
For more on Ruud's abilities, see this post and this one by former Bucs DE Steve White (twitter). With only a one-year deal, the Titans probably see this year's draft pick Colin McCarthy as the middle linebacker of the future, but Ruud's signing seems to continue the defensive makeover from an aggressive one-gap scheme to more two-gap defensive line play in front of linebackers playing more read-and-react.
What do you think of this signing? Happy to see the Titans should improve in coverage? Already missing Stephen Tulloch?
I think Ruud even cost the Titans more than the Lions paid for Tulloch. I think it all came down to the scheme again. Ruud is a good coverage guy and a veteran leader. He ran the defence in Tampa Bay, but wasn't as good against the run. Tulloch, on the other hand, was pretty good against the run, but terrible in coverage. With the big bodies the Titans are adding to the defensive line, I think that a run stuffing MLB has less value to the team now. The line will is being fortified to stop the run. The LBs are getting bigger as well and the emphasis seems to be on pass rush and coverage for the linebackers, rather than run-stopping. Given the scheme, this is a upgrade, in my view.
So the Titans get something of a consolation prize after missing out on Posluszny. Tom, thanks for the links to those two articles. They make me feel a little better about Ruud's ability against the run.
I feel bad for Tulloch, he's apparently not worth as much as Rosenshark thought he was. In related developments, Detroit signed Durant instead of Tulloch and may still be interested in Barnett as well.