Smith: Hargreaves Needs Help

October 18th, 2017

Is the leash short?

If one is to swallow whole the stuff pumped out by the PFF tribe, then Vernon Hargreaves is in the mother of all ruts.

The well-trained orangutans believe no corner can cover receivers worse than Hargreaves has the past two games. Why? Because, per the PFF tribe, every pass targeted to a receiver Hargreaves covered has been completed.

So basically, the PFF tribe is saying one of Ira Kaufman’s stolen beach chairs could have covered receivers better than Hargreaves the past two weeks. That is damning.

Joe doesn’t know how much to trust this junk science. So armed with this information, Joe asked Bucs defensive coach Mike Smith today if it was remotely accurate and, if so, how much more of a leash does Hargreaves have as a starter if this team expects to make a playoff run?

Smith was getting pounded with Hargreaves questions. And the more Smith spoke about Hargreaves the more frustrated he became and at one point let his calm, affable, business-like persona slip and dropped a couple of “friggin'” words, which we all know what that stands for.

Smith didn’t really answer Joe’s question but he did say he and his fellow defensive coaches need to come to Hargreaves’ rescue.

“We’ve got to help all of our players when they’re not performing,” Smith said. “That is what coaching is all about. We’ve got to help him. There’s a number of ways we can do that. We want to make our players the most efficient players they can be. When they are not efficient, we as coaches have to come up with ways to help them.”

What Smith did not dodge or gloss over was that Hargreaves, to be polite, is not playing up to his standards, nor the team’s standards or goals, not even close.

Both Smith and Dirk Koetter have almost gone to great lengths to emphasize whatever Hargreaves’ issues are, it’s not a lack of talent. So if the talent is not the issue and coaching is not the issue (so we are told), then Joe can only guess Hargreaves may be distracted by something off the football field. It’s the only thing that makes sense, if it is not ability or coaching.

And it is very odd to Joe that Hargreaves could go from a competent rookie to an incompetent NFL starter in just a handful of months. If it is not coaching or physical ability, then what is it?

And while Smith was not ducking criticism of Hargreaves, he did seem to throw roses the way of Ryan Smith, who would likely get the starting job if Hargreaves gets benched.

“I think Ryan has a great attitude,” Smith said. “He did not play well in the second game. He owned it. He said, ‘I’m going to learn from this.’ When you’ve got a guy that says those things, I believe the next time he gets an opportunity he is going to take advantage of it. Ryan has done everything we have asked of him.”

So, is Smith beginning to pave the way for Ryan Smith to take over? And if so, how soon? Time’s running out quickly if this team wants to make a wild card run. Either Hargreaves needs to snap out of his funk now, or the Bucs have to try something else if they plan to salvage this season.

44 Responses to “Smith: Hargreaves Needs Help”

  1. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    Shoulda signed A.J. Bouye in the offseason i guess.

    And Calais Campbell…

  2. 813bucboi Says:

    So if the talent is not the issue and coaching is not the issue (so we are told), then Joe can only guess Hargreaves may be distracted by something off the football field.


  3. Joe west Says:

    Vernon is not going to get any better! Please bench him and start smith !! It cannot get any worse !!

  4. Pick6 Says:

    as much as you can hammer the front office for not getting veteran help in multiple areas, for some areas you could at least say that they felt like they were expecting guys to return to health (DEs J Smith & Spence) or they upgraded depth if not starter quality (Safety)….at the CB position neither was true. The team instead hoped 3 things would happen: a 34 year old not regressing, a rookie progressing tremendously, and no injuries. That’s a heck of a trifecta to hit, and a couple players with more upside than Robert McClain would have gone a long way to mitigating the current problem. If you’re playing the bucs right now, you pick on VH3, period.

  5. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Not digging the headline Joe. Made it sound like Hargreaves was a yard short of a ten yard cushion. You know? Silly center help.

  6. Broy34 Says:

    Again I’ll say it. Hargreaves knows the spotlight is on him now and knows he needs to be agressive. He may end up pressing more. If he sags off afraid to get burned were done once again. Calais Campbell chose Jacksonville period. We have alot of players to resign soon. Evans Kwon jameis marpet not going anywhere period. Bouye made sense but the bucs believed in Hargreaves

  7. LakeLand Says:

    He can get help…with a decent pass rush

  8. Clw JB Says:

    Well, maybe Mike and staff can remind him

    1) to turn run plays back inside instead of allowing them to take the edge, take the outside shoulder of widest player, collapse straight down the line to force it back inside…

    2) only line up 7 yds deep in zone and don’t take 25 backpedal steps before reading the play, planting, and breaking on the ball.

    3) When playing in trail coverage, you want to stay on the inside hip and get your HEAD AROUND so you can see the ball dropping in

    4) When the other team’s best receiver is isolated ONE ON ONE AGAINST YOU ON THE WIDE SIDE OF THE FIELD, THE BALL IS IMMEDIATELY COMING YOUR WAY – STOP BACKING UP, STICK TO HIS HIPS LIKE GLUE AND MAKE A PLAY ON THE DANG BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I was only a CB through High School – 31 years ago – and I still remember the basics my coaches taught me….how in the heck is no one doing anything about the absolute ridiculousness of his play?

    I am a die-hard GATOR FAN, LOVED him in college, thought we had a steal in the first round…

    Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo disappointing

  9. Capt. Blighe Says:

    VH3’s problem is talent, they are trying to protect him.
    Vernon has realized he doesn’t have the footspeed or suddeness to cover NFL receivers. He knows getting beat deep is the quickest way to the bench.
    So he is trying to not get exposed. But the gig is up and opposing QB’s are on to him. Manning was caught on NFL films saying “Were going at 28 all day”

  10. Clw JB Says:

    ^^Don’t agree with that, he has the measurables, he has the production at a Top Tier program – his issue is 1000000% MENTAL

    He is playing with ZERO confidence…every CB gets beat, its impossible to be perfect – Barber would get burned two or three times thru the first three qtrs, but in the late 3rd or 4th, he would learn and anticipate what the O was doing to him and make a play on the ball that changed the game…

    VH has got to get his head back and believe these WR are no more than what he shut down every Saturday for a number of years…they might get you here and there, but keep fighting and win the war….

  11. Supersam Says:

    We need a pass rush, simple as that. That will cure a lot of ills. The quartbacks just have to much time. And we HAVE to play more press coverage, when will these coaches learn? No pass rush and soft freaking zones is what got Lovie Smith fired!!!

  12. unbelievable Says:

    Supersam I am proud of you for posting something that is non-Jameis related.

    And you are right, pass rush is direly needed.

  13. tmaxcon Says:

    keeping a partying running back on the roster sends a horrible message to impressionable youth. vh3 is NOT a nfl cornerback and never will be. next man up

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “how much more of a leash does Hargreaves have as a starter if this team expects to make a playoff run?” I’m proud of ya Joe … go down fighting. Bad gnus though: VHIII’s play is only one of many factors that’ll keep the Bucs out of the playoffs this year. Coaching not up to par? Yup. No pass rush? OK. Offense not getting their act together until it’s too late in games? Ya, that’ll hunt. How about a killer schedule the rest of the way this season? Oh ya, that’s a goodie. I’m sure others could come up with many more factors (cue tmaxcon?) but the reality is that this team doesn’t have what it takes to go 8-3 the rest of the way, and a 10-6 record is the absolute worst record it’ll take for the Bucs to make the playoffs in the NFC. Actually, 11-5 is more likely this year.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    And Supersam, you’re exactly right that the Bucs need to play a LOT more press coverage IMO. We’re getting killed with the underneath junk by every QB (70-75% completion rates?) and that has to stop. Pass rush obviously isn’t there, so sticking like glue in that short area is really our only chance it looks like. And personally I think a 3-4 defense would give us a much better chance of using press coverage successfully.

  16. BUC_40 Says:

    VERNON HARGREAVES SHOULD BE MOVED TO FREE SAFETY! Let him free roam a bit and I bet you’ll see those ball skills come back. Doesn’t seem to mind sticking his nose in on run defense either!

  17. Wewantgruden Says:

    Bucs team summary:
    Poor leadership from a coaching perspective
    Players are out partying till the early morning hours
    Coaches have no accountability for their players
    A deer in the headlights starting quarterback that goes BrainDead when the pressure is on
    Way to undersized running back’s
    A decent offensive line
    Very good receiving corps
    Terrible defensive line. All they do is loaf all day during practice
    Good linebackers
    Very very poor defensive backs
    The leagues worse special teams
    I have no idea how they beat the Bears and Giants.

  18. Wewantgruden Says:

    LOL Buc_40: he is afraid to make contact and you want him to be a safety.

  19. crazy Says:

    What was 22’s problem when he went from stud to dud?

  20. '74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Completely off topic, but am I the only one that knows every time Doug is going to run the ball vs. pass block? He lines up an extra yard or two back when he’s running, and it’s a dead giveaway. If I can see that, then…

  21. Pelbuc Says:

    Our superb talent evaluator GM apparently didn’t see the film when he was a Gator and got toasted by good receivers like Treadwell and Kelvin Benjamin. Regardless of Bucs final record, Litch has got a go. He’s filled this roster with pretenders and excuse makers. It’s pathetic to say your first round pick ” needs help”. Every QB will be throwing his way a lot! Bad players coached by bad coaches do not make for good results. It’s official, he’s a bust!

  22. unbelievable Says:

    He is normally pretty good in the run game actually, but missed A TON of tackles against Arizona. Our nickel CB Robert McClain also had a pretty miserable game last week. I guess you could say that about most of the defense though…

    I never liked the VH3 pick personally, thought he was undersized and a bit too slow. However we drafted him, so I root for him.

    I really hope he and the coaches can turn his game around. And fast!

  23. Pelbuc Says:

    TMax is right and makes an important point. Martin let his team down last year at the most crucial part of the season and the Bucs rewarded him by bringing him back with no conditions. All the others players saw this and realized there’s no acount ability or consequences to screwing up. And when your captain is Houdini, I mean Geraldini, no pressure at all.

  24. firethecannons Says:

    BENCH HARGREAVES done–enough!!!!! kid was absolutely responsible for huge Az loss, he was targeted, torched and completely taken advantage of–everyone can see it–they are still talking about how bad this kid was out here in Arizona.
    KOETTER/SMITH have done NOTHING to change this. WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!

    He still plays–are you kidding me–YES the beach chair on the field is WAY better than him.
    Gotta say it–when it is true it is true–BUCCANEERS SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Capt. Blighe Says:

    Everybody calling for press coverage, That would last about a half.
    Remember everybody oohing and awwing at DJax’s speed in training camp as he ran by 28. Every team has guy who drooling for 28 to press him.

  26. firethecannons Says:

    Joe–good timely article–this is why I am on your site, we asked you to ask coaching wtf is going on with VH3–Smith is riled up now using words like friggin–good, we are makin a difference–go Joebucsfan!!–pushing for answers and solutions for the good of the team even when coaching is not doing anything that has helped this kid to play better.
    More of this pressure from the fans and next thing you know–coaching is listening–wow!!

  27. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Capt. Blighe Says:
    October 18th, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    VH3’s problem is talent, they are trying to protect him.
    Vernon has realized he doesn’t have the footspeed or suddeness to cover NFL receivers. He knows getting beat deep is the quickest way to the bench.
    So he is trying to not get exposed. But the gig is up and opposing QB’s are on to him. Manning was caught on NFL films saying “Were going at 28 all day”

    The Minnesota receiver Diggs had his way with VH3, and other teams seem to be targeting him. With 4.5 speed, and only 15 reps in the bench press, he seems to lack both the speed and strength to be an NFL Corner. Perhaps he will do better at Safety ?
    Tampa can not continue to miss on number one draft picks, we just can’t.

  28. AlteredEgo Says:

    What a soap opera this team has turned into…

  29. BucEmUp Says:

    Have the young man and Brent Grimes start pressing at the line. It’s that simple. That one little adjustment will change the way offenses target us. Also doesn’t help the run game when the corners are playing 12 yards back. This is high school sht and this “defensive guru” Mike/Lovie Smith can’t figure it out?

    Pathetic beyond explanation

  30. SeattleBuc Says:

    Mike Smith face turned red when Lee asked him about VH3. Goon job Lee. Lets see some results on the field.

  31. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Yeah he needs to be benched. We are so thin that he needs to remain on the team this year simply for depth. During the offseason they need to cut thier losses and move on from Hargraves. Kid simply sucks and either via FA or the draft the Bucs need to make finding a quality CB a priority. Not good that Licht whiffed on both a first and second rounder in the same draft, but it is done now and nothing you can do but move on from the mistake.

  32. Joe Says:

    He can get help…with a decent pass rush

    There you go. #NodsHead

  33. Pryda...sec 147 Says:

    Give him a drug test…

  34. firethecannons Says:

    touchdown–no doubt==Licht whiffed on 2016 entire draft–VH3-bust Spence–good spirit but injury prone now and ineffective, Aguayo=garbage. who else–ryan smith–really? he is the best from that draft–good in special teams only so far.

    super disappointed in vh3 and embarrassed I ever told anybody at job I was a Buc–yeah its a bucs life

    disappointed in koetter–says “I don’t want this press conference to turn into a Vernon Hargreaves bashing” wtf not!!

    Heh KOETTER–stop putting such an inferior product like vh3 on the field!! BENCH HIM ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. firethecannons Says:

    perhaps he is not on the right performance enhancing drugs–needs adderal for his malady

  36. Not there yet Says:

    Something I hate about coaches like Dirk and smooth is choosing players that were previously in their offense and defense previously instead of players that can ball. The Freddie Martino types and Robert McClain who they said can play inside and outside but Ryan Smith would come in first? Why are they forcing guys to play who aren’t ready? These players aren’t ready for the playoffs and neither are these coaches. Play not to lose that is the motto

  37. Broy34 Says:

    firethecannons—clueless post. Djax and every other receiver struggle with press. Especially undersized receivers. Hargreaves was probably twenty yards off him in practice. It gives more time for pass rush and better helps the safeties roam and makes it harder on quarterbacks. It is absolutely high school stuff. It needs to happen

  38. Dylan Says:

    VH3 = Bust. These responses from the coaches are funny. When your not getting talked about its a good thing. This guy was a bust before he was drafted though so i mean idk how much they really can help him. This guy cares more about what cleats he puts on his feet, what name brand shirts he has in his closet, and his social media climax. Its sad i realized it but people getting paid millions cant pick up obvious signs. Time to think about a #NewGM.

  39. Dylan Says:

    Dont give me the he was good last year crap either. He got smoked by every decent receiver he played and gave up over 200 yards to both amari cooper and julio jones.

  40. BigMacAttack Says:

    I’m not making excuses for Vernon but rather all players. The NFLPA did them absolutely no favors on their last deal. They have way too much time off with too little time for Coaching. It’s ridiculous, stupid and has lead to more injuries. Players are babied and have to do so much of their work on their own. Negotiations will be starting again soon and it will likely get worse. Repeal and replace the NFLPA agreement.

  41. Bucsfan107 Says:

    Or he could help the pass rush by not leaving guys wide open.

  42. mike10 Says:

    Forget about what we could have or should have done this offseason. Who we have is what we have.

    You’ve got to coach this player up, because I believe he has the talent.

    I also think there is an unhealthy sync between the D line and secondary. I think VH3 is worried to play press because of the time quarterbacks get in the pocket…

  43. DalvinCookRules Says:

    It’s none of those things, Joe.

    The answer is simple. It’s confidence. Hargreaves doesn’t trust his own talent. He’s always been more talented than whoever he covered, now everyone is as talented as him (almost).

    A CB has to play mean, aggressive, and with a super short memory. Hargreaves just can’t put his failures out of mind, so it is snowballing on him.

  44. destinjohnny Says:

    jason needs to watch more college ball.
    the biggest gator homers on the planet would tell you vh3 wasnt that good.
    in the deepest defensive line draft in 20 years…… this was our first round pick.