Ex-Bucs Cornerback: Fear Infecting Vernon Hargreaves’ Game

October 8th, 2017

A former Buccaneers cornerback, a 10-year NFL veteran, has weighed in on Vernon Hargreaves’ football woes.

Hargreaves’ step-up season has turned into a Myron Lewis sequel, and that’s a very scary situation.

Mild-mannered Ricky Reynolds, a starting corner for the Bucs and Patriots in the ’80s and ’90s, said fear is overcoming Hargreaves.

“He’s definitely playing too soft. I think it’s all mental,” Reynolds said today on Scott Smith’s Tailgate Sunday on FOX-13 in Tampa, the same show that stars JoeBucsFan.com columnist Ira Kaufman.

“I think he’s a guy that has the skills and all the abilities to make plays, but he’s thinking that he’s going to get beat deep every time. And he needs to not worry about that and rely on his overall ability and his skills to be able to challenge those routes and jump on some of those short passes they are hitting in front of him.”

What scares Joe is that Bucs officials said all offseason that a more aggressive Hargreaves was the plan for 2017. Those were his orders: play unleashed and loose. But it hasn’t happened.

The inevitable result of this will be teams further going at Hargreaves and away from Brent Grimes on the other side of the field. That happened all last season, and it will continue until Hargreaves can scare a defensive coordinator.

On a positive note (sort of), Reynolds predicted Hargreaves will be the Bucs’ bounce back player of the day next Sunday. “He can’t do any worse,” Reynolds quipped.

84 Responses to “Ex-Bucs Cornerback: Fear Infecting Vernon Hargreaves’ Game”

  1. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    He’s scared because his deep speed isn’t enough to keep up with some of the guys he’s covering, and he knows it.

    Bucs need to acquire another legitimate #1 CB who can play on the outside and who has the deep speed to keep up.

    Move VH3 to the slot where he can excel on those short and medium routes and use his exceptional change of direction and short area quickness.

    You can bet they draft a CB in the first three rounds next year if they can’t get a starter in free agency.

  2. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    Makes me wonder wth happened to him since training camp and the first preseason game where he was looking great.

  3. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    He is playing a mile off the receivers, almost like he is scared of being beat deep.
    I was absolutely shocked when we drafted him so high.
    Mark Barron was another example of drafting for need, instead of taking the best player available.
    I could tell you all the star players we could of had when we picked Hargreaves and Barron, but I don’t want to make you cry.

  4. Destinjohnny Says:

    That and lack of speed and height

  5. firethecannons Says:

    Yeah–don’t make us cry–I totally believe it–this kid sucks as a cornerback. Wow embarrassing when he jumps up and acts as if he has made a play. Honestly–too late–the word is out to the entire league knows that he sucks and yet the Bucs are doing nothing bout it–he is a wide open door. Mike Smith–it is time for the come to Jesus talk with this boy.

  6. Mike Johnson Says:

    Course..If our Pass Rush was much better, He would not have to wory about….However..Yes, Stevie Wonder can see it..He is playing tentative. And you can tell he is capable of a hella lot more. Up your game Vernon. We need you!!

  7. Buccaneer scotty Says:

    Play on the line a bump the player in the first 5 yards! Nobody can give nfl wrs a 15 yard cushion nobody!

  8. InJameisWeTrust Says:

    Kid is just too small and too slow. He’s not Grimes, he just looks like him

  9. ElioT Says:

    He’s too busy thinking about how he’s going to celebrate after every play.

    Him dancing like he won the powerball in the 2nd Saints game last year after dropping an easy pick (which was really the last chance the Bucs had to come back and win that game and make the playoffs) was damning of his awareness and priorities.

    I don’t like this dude’s mentality at all.

    Hope he changes something up.

    Go Bucs!!!

  10. Easy Denman Says:

    He’s slowly regressing every week. He needs to play press coverage instead of 8 yards off.

  11. Joe west Says:

    He is a bust !! A possible nickel corner at best .

  12. DC_BUCS_FAN Says:

    Putting him in the best position to use his best skills set…as in some press coverage and some confidence will go a long way with this kid. I’m not going to throw the towel in just yet

  13. Buc4lyfe79 Says:

    “He can’t do any worse”
    We’ll see now wont we, but personally im not holding my breath waiting.
    The young man has played his entire professional career so far next to Brent Da Balla Grimes. If that hasnt made you a better player by now, nothing will. For where he was drafted, he’s a str8 up # BUST.

  14. Capt.Tim Says:

    Doesnt have the skills needed.I said it right here, the day they drafted him.
    Too short. Too slow
    Combined with a rock star ego
    Not gonna work.
    He will continue to be the weak spot on the defense, until they admit hes a bust, and start Ryan Smith.
    Smith, since game one- has looked like a starting CB.
    Bigger and faster than Hargreaves, he will be able to compliment Grimes.

    Man, I hope Grimes wants to play another year or two, cause we are in the market for his replacement. Will meed to groom him a year or two

    Wish Ricky Reynolds could still suit up! He was a great Buc!

  15. Bucamania Says:

    He is totally playing scared and he’s become a real liability. Word is out on 28 and opposing QBs are targeting him. I called that Hogan TD last week. Need a TD or reception? Go at 28. Heck, Ryan Smith at least tries to challenge people. Time to man up Vernon.

  16. Capt.Tim Says:

    “He cant do any worse”
    Pretty much sums up my take on things.

  17. cmurda Says:

    You just took the words out of my mouth Capt Tim. I can only hope VH3 turns it around. I know the guy has the skills but Reynolds hit the nail on the head. He’s playing scared.

  18. Ndog Says:

    Guys if you play press you need speed because you aren’t always going to win. So what you’re saying is that it is OK if he gets beat deep 3-4 times a game minimum. He is to slow for this league and he knows it just like most of us did before he was drafted!

  19. Dewey Selmon Says:

    I don’t get it. The coaches have to be telling him play 10 yards off. i don’t think they are telling him to press any he is disobeying their orders. His father is a coach also. I really wish I knew what he is being told.

  20. unbelievable Says:

    “He can’t do any worse”

    Well now I feel great about him….

  21. AlteredEgo Says:

    This is a good thing

  22. Bucamania Says:

    I still think he has enough speed and ability. He just needs to trust in his skills and stop playing scared.

  23. LakeLand Says:

    I still don’t understand how he was the 11th pick in the 2016 draft. And Brian Poole wasn’t drafted at all. NFL scouts get it wrong a lot, I thought Poole should have been a 3rd round pick. Not getting drafted at all is crazy.

  24. 911bucs Says:

    If he is utilizing a great resource in Grimes and still not improving then VHIII may be a lost cause.

  25. NOSBOS Says:

    This is dumb @$$ h3ll if you ask me. He’s not playing to soft mike smith playcalling is too soft. If his assignment is to play 10 freaking yards off the ball he’s simply executing the wishes of the playcaller. If he took it upon himself to press when the call from mike smith says play off he would be snatched off the playing field. VH3 isn’t the problem mike smith soft @$$ defense is. And you people called lovie incompetent. If that was true what are these two stooges???

  26. NOSBOS Says:

    I mean I dare a single one of you to show me the diffrence in what lovie was doing in comparison to what mike smith is currently doing with this defense. Same weak @$$ soft @$$ scardycat @$$ defense.

  27. DrT1006 Says:

    Brian “Toast” Kelly turned out to be a good CB.

    Maybe Hargreaves Will learn he can’t play out of the back of the end zone .

  28. NOSBOS Says:

    Young man would be balling in a less scary @$$ and more aggressive ddefensive system. Deion Sanders would look stupid playing corner for this extra nice @$$ D coordinator. Like people say he’s the nicest man in the league,how can you expect him to be aggressive??? People blitz the s@$! out of Fameis he makes our guys sit back and wait to get punched. This organization needs less nice and good guys and more @$$holes. Jim Swartz Greg Robinson tyoe mutaf#!@$.

  29. LakeLand Says:

    Lol, NOSBOS, I feel you, and I totally agree. And we should have spent a 4-7 round pick on Brian Poole also.

  30. NOSBOS Says:

    Wanna see what I mean when I say aggressive defense.. Just turn on this lion’s/panther game. We got headhunters on our defense but they’re forced to play on they’re the balls of they’re heels instead of they’re toes. Put it together.

  31. NOSBOS Says:

    I’m just watchinggahgame,not every snap but prolly every other snap both team’s cbs at that los. Don’t mean that would stop every pass attempt but what it says is “aggressive” we ain’t just sittin back all day today. Don’t know if theirs a pro bowl cb on either of teams.

  32. Oj "I Got The Juice" Howard Says:

    Cam Newton looking like his old self again

  33. unbelievable Says:

    I’m watching the same game NOS and I feel ya. Too many guys looks small and undersized in our backfield. And I can’t stand the complete lack of press coverage ever being used!

    Teams are constantly throwing quick short passes, you gotta hit the receivers and knock off their timing to disrupt that.

  34. Not there yet Says:

    Eli Manning said we’re attacking 28 all day. Hey couldn’t even play nickel corner and trust me no one wants a passive corner in the slot defending slant routes.

  35. Capt.Tim Says:

    No one is telling him to play 10 yards off his man.
    No one
    They are playing a 4 zone.
    He is supposed to play his man, until he leaves his Zone.
    Hes playing 10 yards off , because he has been beat so many times.

    I laugh at the people saying Conte cant play!
    Everytime you see him chasing down a Reciever, hes bailing out Hagreaves!

    When an NFL QB(Eli) states publically that they were targeting a specific player( Hagreaves)- you really suck.
    Players dont call out other players- uless they are terrible

  36. LakeLand Says:

    Cam is on fire again….

  37. AlteredEgo Says:

    Yeah…well Cam can throw the ball…

  38. unbelievable Says:

    Giants are down to just 2 wide receivers on the active roster…

  39. NOSBOS Says:

    Tim if I’m defending a guy who may or may not even stay in my assignment area why would I be afraid??? If he has the freedom to play closer to the los I think he would do so especially knowing there is suppose to help over the top. I HIGHLY DOUBT he has the freedom you feel he does.

  40. NOSBOS Says:

    VH3 is hardly too small to press,Aneus Williams Darrelle Revis Vernon Heargreave all basically the same size. Tim,if I ever saw Brent on the other side I would agree wit you but when was the last time we ever seen him at the los. How am I suppose to be confident in my ability if my coach never allows me to show it. J.Banks was a Thorpe award winner in school prior to coming to Tampa,the other dude was pro bowler in Tennessee prior to coming to Tampa. WTF is going on here when it comes to development of this position.

  41. Kalind Says:

    That’s the inevitable effect of drafting a short slow CB. He’s scared of getting burned. He can’t play outside. He CAN play nickel and they should le him so that.

  42. NOSBOS Says:

    Aneus Williams Darrelle Revis Vwrnon Heargreaves all the size.

  43. NOSBOS Says:

    It’s not the player it’s the whack @$$ system. Sooo glad Jalen Ramsey didn’t some how land here. Tampa ruines talented CBs. See Jonathan Banks Thorpe award winner in school,Alteran Verner pro bowler in Tennessee. Now VH3 I’m sure the Gators around here could tell you about his sec mentions while at uf.

  44. AlteredEgo Says:

    switch Vernon and Jameis’s perceptions around…

  45. ME13 Says:

    Send our 1st an 3rd rd picks to Giants for JPP an J Jenkins an sign Satos to kick !! Bucs balling for real !! Fill the whole An fix the missing kicks

  46. LakeLand Says:

    In 2015 the Gators had one of the best secondary in college football history. VH3(1st), Teez Tabor (2nd), Keanu Neal (1st), Quincy Wilson(2nd), Marcus Maye (2nd) Brian Poole UDFA. All of these guys are good football players. That’s why they were 1st or 2nd round draft picks, except for Brian Poole. And he should have been drafted high. I believe VH3 is a good CB in the wrong system. And the piss-poor play from the D-Line hasn’t helped any. 37 year old Julius Peppers 5.5 sacks…Bucs defense 4.0 sacks. That’s all that’s should be said.

  47. ME13 Says:

    Giants are done !!! Let’s get our trading shoes on since we can’t wear cleats today !! Go Bucs

  48. LakeLand Says:

    ‘ That’s all she wrote’

  49. ME13 Says:

    JPP Fills the DE we need an J Jenkins can be a great help to our DB !! Let’s do this !!! Don’t kick them when they down !! Just pick them !! Need a DB need a DE !! Bring Our boys home !! JPP an J Jenkins FL boys all day

  50. unbelievable Says:


    maybe we can promote some WRs from our practice squad and then trade them to the Giants for JPP. A fan can dream…

  51. NOSBOS Says:

    Exactly Lakeland I’m tired folks misplacing blame around here. They using VH3 as a scapegoat but this time a couple seasons ago they were calling the coaching staff incompetent. I’m wondering what’s the hold up now.

  52. NOSBOS Says:

    ME13 if you can somehow get J Jenkins just make sure they put aggressive play in the wording of his contract. Because I don’t care how good a CB is these dudes will have you looking suspect with this cottenelle tissue paper @$$ coverage.

  53. AceMcBuc Says:

    All this speculation is crazy talk. Fans really think he’s lining up the way he does, on his on free-will, without the coaching staff saying anything about it? C’mon now!! He lines up the way the coach tells him, plain and simple. As for he’s too slow? “Fans” do realize, that he was actually faster than Ronde at the combine, right? He ran a 4.5 vs Rondes’ 4.6. Never heard a single compliant about how fast Ronde was, but most here don’t realize that Ronde was considered not very good until his third year? Instead of calling for the heads of every play, coach, and however suits the daily narrative, how about you give that individual a a chance?

  54. AceMcBuc Says:

    Player, coach, and whoever…typing fail. oops!!

  55. Ndog Says:

    So NOSBOS if it’s the system then why is Grimes doing so well?

  56. Capt.Tim Says:

    Aneas, Darrelle- from a different era- before the wave of 6’5″ wide recievers
    If Verner was so great, why did Tennessee let him walk?
    Where are Banks and Verner starring at right now?

    The coaches- who lead us to a 9-7 record in their first year, are constantly talking about Hergreaves- about how they want him to be more aggressive, to make more plays etc. etc.
    Thats coach speak for- “get yer ass up there and cover your man.”
    Coaches never come out and say their players suck.
    Do any of you know what a 4 Zone defense is? It aint “play ten yards off, and give ip 20- 9 yard completions”

    Eli said they were targeting him. Brady targeted him
    Former Buc CB Ricky Reynolds says” he cant do any worse”

    How many tons of bricks has to fall on some of you Zombies’s heads, to figure out hes plaing like Crap???

  57. NOSBOS Says:

    Maybe because they spend more time targeting the other side of field. Look I love Grimes but Larry Fitz used him last season. Didn’t see anyone saying he was too old the day after.

  58. NOSBOS Says:

    Man save that weak @$$ diffrent era bulls@$!. CB play is CB play. Most great CBs say they enjoy playing the bigger WRs because it’s easier to stay with them.

  59. NOSBOS Says:

    You people act like just because you go in the first round you’re suppose to be HOF ready or some s@$!. That’s totally unrealistic yo. CB ain’t easy some are special others need a few years to get it all down. Josh Norman doesn’t get known until year 5. He was a back up. Chris Harris didn’t make the pro bowl until aftwr year 4. Put it together man.

  60. Capt.Tim Says:

    Since leaving the Bucs, Banks has been cut by the Lions, The Beats, and now hes a back up for the Texans
    Verner is a backup for the dolphins.
    Hardly setting the league on fire.

  61. NOSBOS Says:

    Exactly,they were used poorly while here in Tampa. Once that bad film circulates its kinda hard to get back on track bro. Theirs always another draft and another free agency period. Thud league just moves on homie. Kinda hard to get past not being coached up after you leave Tampa. Revis was the exception because he was already an exceptional player prior to coming here.

  62. Buc_The_World Says:

    I say it’s a combination of both. I know Mike Smith and Koetter can coach better, I have seen them do it. I think Koetter should give Monken a shot at play calling. It hard to be a head coach and a coordinator. As far as Smith goes I think he gets scared whenever Kwon is out and starts playing soft. He didn’t even try to disguise the defense against a 5 time Super Bowl QB, that’s crazy! Now on to Hargreaves people can make excuse about the system but he is a first round draft pick who is underperforming at an alarming rate. He is starting to become the offense game plan for a teams to attack. That has nothing to do with the system, because there are other people out on the field yet he is the only obviously being targeted. He not only not playing well he seems to be regressing. As a coach Mike Smith should be all over this at this point. Hargreaves has looked bad in the first four games. He is just as much a problem as Folk in my opinion because he killing us in yardage and is a big reason we can’t get off the field in 3rd downs. I like Vernon, I hopes he gets better but he does have me concerned right now.

  63. Champ Says:

    And Grimes is gone next year….. he’s a # 3/slot at best….. we’re in bad shape for a long time it looks like….

  64. BigMacAttack Says:

    Hargreaves hasn’t been the same since he hurt his leg this season. He fears his lack of speed and safety behind you is not something these corners can count on right now. He’s been bad, but find out the real reason, sit him if he’s still hurt, but don’t pull the plug on him.

  65. Capt.Tim Says:

    Guess all you apologist must be right
    Hargreaves is playing fantastic!!!
    Ricky Reynolds, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Case Keenum, And I are just meanies!!
    All those completions were just illusions!!

    He was great in college, so that automatically means he is great in the NFL.
    They’re about the same

    Hes playing about as well as Folk! Lets make’em captains!

    You guys need to go hug a tree

  66. LakeLand Says:

    Aqib Talib had his struggles with the Bucs..But since he left the Bucs, he’s been one of the league top CBs! All-Pro, Pro Bowl,Super Bowl winner

  67. ManzielMadness Says:

    He’s been playing different ever since he left UF. Don’t know if its him or the scheme but instead of making plays on the ball like he did at UF, he just plays the man AFTER the ball is catch. At UF we’d leave him on an island and let him play press man. The first words out of his mouth (in an article Joe wrote I believe) when asked what king of coverage do you like to play, were “Press man.” IDK what’s going on with him but something’s gotta change, maybe try blitzing him??? Force him to play aggressive

  68. NOSBOS Says:

    I forgot all about Aqib Lakeland. Yet another example of the mis managenent of this position by this organization.

  69. NOSBOS Says:

    The fisrt words Madness. How many times have we seen him given the opportunity. In my opinion press man is easier.

  70. yrbndr Says:

    RELAX! 99,9 percent of those posting here have never played CB…Other than QB toughest position to master on the field. He is playing where his coaches tell him to play and of course on his mind is don’t get beat deep. He will be fine… I admit I thought Ronde was a bust until he figured it out in he’s third year… RELAX!

  71. Ben Says:

    Bucs seem to be evaluating corners wrong. Ryan Smith was suppose to have the tools necessary to develop into a cover corner. See how that has worked out. If I’m drafting a corner in the first round you better believe that he has the foot speed to keep up with legit #1 wideouts. Being small is one thing, lots of successful CBS are small but being slow as well is a bad combo. Spence and hargreaves aguayo and Smith. All busts.
    Gotta go all d next year aside from rb for depth.

  72. RustyRhinos Says:

    “Wish Ricky Reynolds could still suit up! He was a great Buc!” Yes Sir Captain. Ricky Reynolds with Brent Grimes. Throw in some Happy Birthday!! wish Donnie Abraham could still suit up. That is a tough group right there.

    Mr. Reynolds has played the position and was very successful in his career. I think he knows what he is saying. Here is to wishing Mr. Hargraves is hearing this from closer sources. And learns from it.

  73. firethecannons Says:

    where is javien Elliot? why cant vh3 sit the bench till he can get motivated to compete? we need cornerback and defensive ends next draft, vh3 is toasted

  74. Black house EJ Says:

    Vh3 need to play safety I feel he will be a better safety and cornerback

  75. Capt.Tim Says:

    Hsargraves is playing terrible- and you think somehow its related to aqib taliban??
    God, how badly have IQ’s dropped in this Country??

    Yrbndr- no. No, you didnt
    You didnt”think Ronde Barber was a bust his first three years. If you were that good at breaking down tape- you’d know the difference between Barber and Hargreaves.
    All you did, was read Barbers comment, saying it took him 3 years to really know what he was doing.
    First, the Tampa 2 was complicated for CBs. The 4 zone we are playing is complicated for safeties- easy for CBs

    And It took Ronde 3 years to be confident on Switches, and which zone to cover, dictated by alignment.
    From day one, he could line up across from a Wr, and do a good job covering him.
    3 years to master the mental part, not actually covering a guy.

    This defense is vanilla for CBs, mentally tough for Safeties.
    Grimes and Hargreaves are suposded to cover their man.
    Grimes locks down
    Hargreaves gives up the farm.

    Do. You. Understand?

  76. THETRUTH Says:

    Ronde was toasted first few years till his intelligence overcame ability and he made plays.

    VH3 people here were praising him cause preseason performance , he had one pick and that was it.

    Please CB’s STOP CELEBRATING a drop pass by a WR AS IF YOU MADE A PLAY .. especially when he is wide open on the drop….

  77. godzilla13 Says:

    Hargraeves was targeted six times against the Patriots and gave up six completions which needs improvement however, the fact that he was only targeted six times means he probably had pretty good coverage on most of the other passing plays due to only being targeted six times. Brady attempted 40 passes, which means he was targeting our LB and Safeties. He was excellent against the run. Hargreaves is far from being an issue on defense, who played great by the way and stating that he is infected by fear is just a bunch of journalistic manure. Hargreaves is a stud and will continue to be.

  78. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    He sucks oh wait he’s all pro, It’s a long season just give Vernon a chance to improve. This coaching staff has more on the line then any fan here. Do you really think they would put a player out there if they thought he would fail. Just let the season progresse and will know who’s good and who isn’t.

  79. Reach87 Says:

    Nosbos i have to agree. Hargraves can play press and is likely doing what he has been told to do. Smith is a good coach and will diversify his looks (i think the coverage scheme won’t change too much) to allow Hargraves to make some more plays. Look to the safety…that will tip the change, I think.

  80. LakeLand Says:

    It’s funny how these misinform fans throws DBs under the bus. But these same no-nothing fans refuse to mention the fact that the Bucs has zero pass rush. Mike Smith is done as a DC, as I have said many times before. This team is a retreat for Atlanta Falcons rejects, coaches and players.

  81. Crockett69 Says:

    These woes all stem from the absence of a pass rush. They go hand in hand. Its only 4 games. Give the kid a break. Some players take a little more time. He will be a very serviceable CB in the future. Let’s focus on fixing the pass rush and give McCoy some help.

  82. mike10 Says:

    Bounce back player maybe, but only based off hopes and nothing we’ve seen on tape.

  83. Bucamania Says:

    Hargreaves is a stud? Not now he isn’t. Before last week he gave up the 5th most yards of any CB and he played one less game! Last week he gave up 100% of the passes thrown his way including an easy TD. He also missed a huge tackle on Cooks for a big gain. I;m not ready to bury him, but he’s been playing like absolute dogsh1t. Blame Smitty if you want, but Grimes is playing just fine in the same system.

  84. joestang Says:

    There was a reason the Giants passed on Hargraves and drafted Eli Apple., Now we know.