Does Hargreaves Bring Flexiblity?

May 5th, 2016
Tips off Mike Smith's defense?

Tips off Mike Smith’s defense?

Joe thought more than anything else the pick of cornerback Vernon Hargreaves was a proactive move rather than one filling a need.

None of us knows exactly what defensive coordinator Mike Smith’s defense will look like. We don’t know when Father Time will call Brent Grimes into the principal’s office. We don’t know if Alterraun Verner can be rehabilitated. We don’t know if soon-to-be free agent Johnthan Banks will leave after the season.

So at worst, Hargreaves helps plug what could be a massive hole in the secondary next year. Several, potentially.

Good guy Andy Benoit, an X’s and O’s guy working for, thinks the signing of Hargreaves is pulling the curtain back a bit on what to expect from Smith’s defense.

Well, at least we know we won’t see as many predictable, vanilla zone coverages from the Bucs as we saw from Lovie Smith the last few years. Because if they were planning on playing straight Cover 2, they’d spend a first-round pick on a pass rusher (one of their needs) rather than a corner. In new defensive coordinator Mike Smith’s later years with the Falcons, he and that front office adopted a philosophy centered around this belief: pressure can be manufactured through scheme (i.e. blitzing and disguising); coverage, on the other hand, is hard to hide. If you have corners who can play one-on-one, you have more schematic flexibility. Is that the belief Smith will take to Tampa Bay?

It is interesting that Benoit referred to Coach My Scheme’s “predictable” defense. That’s what Joe heard in his NFL travels this offseason.

An NFL type chuckled talking to Joe about those wondering why Coach My Scheme’s pass defense was so porous. Joe was told Coach My Scheme basically ran two different looks and only two. When a quarterback broke the huddle, all he had to do was look at the Bucs’ defense and he knew it was one of two sets. If it wasn’t A, then it was B. If not B, it was A.

And the quarterback, and the offense, adjusted accordingly. It was telegraphing a defense as much as one could do in the NFL.

34 Responses to “Does Hargreaves Bring Flexiblity?”

  1. thunderchunkyPA Says:

    Last year, we all got heartburn watching Lovie. Besides his stubbornness on his scheme, his bromance with toast Jenkins, it was a disasters for a ” Defensive minded Coach”. I am excited to see the NEW Coach Smith, and how he puts his guys in position to make plays and win.

  2. Jeff Says:

    Lovie was a joke before the Bucs hired him. Worst coaching hire in the modern NFL era. His body of work without Ron Rivera was pathetic. Bucs should have known better.

  3. DallasBuc Says:

    That man was so incompetent.

  4. TvD Head ball coach Says:

    I think it is safe to say that this team is going to look completely different. I would not be surprised if verner, and banks revived their careers somewhat. Can’t wait to see an actual head ball coach in action.

  5. MadMax Says:

    Im not expecting a lot this year having the 5th ranked toughest schedule and under new Coaching. But we were clearly hurting for CB help. Remember the waste of a 1st rounder (and the money) on Revis? Not much has changed since and the verdict is still out on Banks. We hired Hayes to get the most out of our D line and will find out if we really do have the necessary talent there.

    Smith and Koetter are picking up where they left off in Atlanta. And theres Licht at the end of the tunnel. 2017 and 2018 is when we’ll make some noise.

  6. Lunchbox Says:

    @Madmax I’m glad you brought up coach Hayes. He’s gonna get more pressure and production from our D-line, which in turn will benefit the DBs. The line and the secondary feed off of each other. The better the line is, the better the secondary will do, and vice versa. Better coverage, more pressure up front, and UNPREDICTABLE play calling……this is gonna be fun to watch.

  7. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    Glad Lovie took over the play calling… It was clear that only he could utilize the complex coverage’s hidden within his deep defensive playbook. Leslie just couldn’t fathom the broad spectrum of possibilities. Neither could Verner or Banks. Some minds are just greater than others.

  8. BigHogHaynes Says:

    Every coach has a scheme, and he’d better have players to run that said scheme, I am a BUCS fan and I hope Mike Smith’s scheme fits what we have on the roster, if not there going to be a lot of turnover on that back end come training camp, GO LOVIE-GO BUCS-GO MIKE SMITH SCHEME!

  9. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:


  10. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Lovie was a great head coach. Not so great of a defensive coordinator.

    When Jerry Jones refused to release Rod to sign with the Bucs his first year, and Lovie had to settle for Frasier, I knew we’d have a bad defense. I TOLD people we would, because FRASIER SUCKED.

    Keep in mind, Lovie took over play calling during games…Frasier was still coordinator, and he still coached the defense. It was HIS defense, not Lovies.

    Just like our defense now is not Koetter’s defense…it is Mike Smiths. Or are we going to be hypocrites on this too?

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    @MadMax … “Im not expecting a lot this year having the 5th ranked toughest schedule and under new Coaching.”

    I kind of have a similar feeling, although 8-8 (maybe even 9-7) looks to be possible if key players can stay healthy for the season. Certainly expect the defense to be better than last year, but I think it’ll take time for the chemistry to gel and for guys to feel really comfortable in Mike Smith’s system. In any event, it should be an exciting season.

  12. MadMax Says:

    Exactly Lunchbox. Think about it, how did Josh Norman look so good last year and his only year of looking so good. That D line the Panthers have..,which was drafted and grew into the beast it is…..such a sick D line!!! And grew even stouter by drafting Vernon Butler! But you know, they too had the first overall pick and went with the QB in CAM. We’re on our way, love your handle btw.

  13. MadMax Says:

    @Defense, much better than last year, thats for dang sure….

  14. Bama Rich Says:

    I know rookie DBs are expected to struggle but if we can get Honey Badger like production from VH3 I’ll be truly satisfied.

  15. DallasBuc Says:

    Bonzai- Lovie Smith is an incompetent HC, D coordinator and D play caller. Your comparison to Koetter and hypocrisy is incongruent. Incompetent Lovie Smith ran his defensive scheme here in Tampa and Frazier was the administrator of that scheme. A proper comparison to Koetter is to say that the offensive scheme is Koetter’s and Monken is going to help implement it. The defense is all Mike Smith’s and the responsibility that Koetter has with that is in his hiring of Mike Smith. So just like Lovie was held responsible for the offensive failure in 2014 because he hired the people to run it Koetter is responsible if Mike Smith’s defense sucks.

  16. JollyBucsFan Says:

    THANK YOU @DALLASBUC. Exactly what I was going to say. that defense was Lovie’s through and through. Just like this year the Offense is still Koetters Scheme. Just like how the offense back in the day was Gruden’s scheme not whoever the O-Coord was.

  17. Bucsfanman Says:

    Lovie’s gone, along with his defense. MOVE ON!

  18. rayjay1122 Says:

    I have been saying all along that coaching will be the biggest factor for improvement with the defense this year. This is why drafting VH3 and Aguayo and only one pass rusher in Spence is absolutely not a concern to me. The DL is not void of talent but it was void of solid coaching and as Joe mentioned, a vanilla, basic, elementary, little league scheme which did not present NFL offenses with an ounce of difficulty. The defense will be much better this season and the offense with another year under it’s belt will be better as well. Also. I think Winston is really going to shine this season with my only fear being WR depth and ME13 remembering how to catch a football. I really hope Vitale gets a good shot at making the 53 man roster too as I think he can be a special kind of weapon.

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m thinking you will see our linebackers with many sacks this year……LVD & Kwon are extremely fast and with stronger coverage from our CBs…..Smith will turn them loose.

  20. Joseph Mamma Says:

    So basically what your saying is that Lovie’s defense was about as complicated as Jeff Jagonzinski’s offense.

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Madmax

    Thanks for pointing out that we are developing and have a tough schedule and to not be overly optimistic about this year……I would be happy with 8-8……I think 2017 is when we will see real success.
    Nobody wants playoffs more than TBBF but I know it’s not likely this year.

  22. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    But Bonzai the defense was statistically so much better under Frasier’s tutelage. No one was complaining about DTs or CB play after 2014. I mean I hate to sound like broken record but top ten in three major catergories without having drafted any defensive talent to me was saying a little something. Lovable’s ego was his undoing, its like he had to be running the show his way. A way that prove to be counter productive in 2015.

  23. SB with Jameis Says:

    Mike Johnson in ….3…..2….1

  24. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    I understand what you and Max are saying TBBucfan. But I look at the rookie season that CB KC drafted last draft. I believe VH3 can and will produce similar results this season. To h3ll wit if when that happens we are playoff bound this season. Keep in mind and offense that went from the bottom of league to the top of the league in one off season will be in year two of the its own scheme,now the training wheels come off. I don’t go for the whole hard scedule thing. If we are more talented,prepare and execute we and will beat anyone in thus league.

  25. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Our roster is now just as talented is any other team in the league.

  26. MadMax Says:

    Thanks TBBF, just staying grounded. Ive learned a few things over the past 5 years here.

    Nole, I love your enthusiasm, keep it up man.

  27. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    I can’t help it Max it’s how I’m wound bro.

  28. » Blog Archive » “Player-Driven” Defense - Tampa Bay Bucs Blog, Buccaneers News Says:

    […] big unknown of the offseason. Andy Benoit of thinks the drafting of Vernon Hargreaves is a tip to what fans can […]

  29. Espo Says:

    Why does everyone insist Lovie always played Tampa 2? Look at the damn games! I mean, nothing he did worked, but it wasn’t all cover 2.

  30. Couch Fan Says:

    Im not sure why people keep refering to a top 10 defense. Anyone with eyes that actually watched that garbage of a defense knew that it was absolutely not a top 10 defense. Nonsense, pure nonsense.

  31. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Uhhh for the record homeboy I stated top ten in three major categories. And I personally recall that defense looking better in 2014 than it did in 2015.. Dude.

  32. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Need I dig thru the archives,was it not 87 who stated while attending a game opposing teams fans were commenting on our defense in 2014.

  33. Couch Fan Says:

    Yea they went from terrible to bad. Not top 10. Nowhere near top 10. Stats can be deceiving and this case is a perfect example. SMH at top 10. LoL

  34. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Hmm let me guess they should’ve looked like the 92 eagles defense wit no productivity from the offense on the other side. Yea right,and stop shakin your head that causes stiffness.