Beckles: Blame The Pass Rush

May 29th, 2018

Left to twist in the wind.

In the mind of one former Bucs player, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves has been hung out to dry by his teammates, some of which are no longer his teammates.

That’s the word from former Tampa Bay guard Ian Beckles. A popular Bucs voice of reason since his playing days, Beckles took to his podcast “In the Trenches” to go outside the trenches and peek under the hood of embattled cornerback Vernon Hargreaves.

In so many words, Beckles almost seemed to pity Hargreaves and insisted it was unfair to judge Hargreaves on last year’s performance because of the garbage pass rush the Bucs trotted onto the field week after week.

Beckles contends with no pass rush, any corner short of Brent Grimes or Deion Sanders would get grilled over an open fire, much less a young corner like Hargreaves.

“The Bucs went out and they drafted two cornerbacks in the second round,” Beckles began. “That means they don’t know about the future of Vernon Hargreaves, which doesn’t mean he’s done. Listen, you can’t have too many cornerbacks, that’s a fact.

“Ronde Barber I guess said that Hargreaves is the third-best talent at cornerback the Bucs have ever had. Ironically behind [Aqib] Talib and Donnie Abraham. I’m surprised he didn’t put himself in that mix. But, I’d have to agree with him. Now, Vernon Hargreaves, if you watched him, has struggled early in his career here. He struggled. Now you have to understand Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib and Donnie Abraham had helluva pass rushers in front of them. They all did. And that leads to success for a cornerback. Probably the most important thing for a cornerback is a pass rush.

“So it is hard to evaluate a corner without a pass rush. Donnie Abraham — it came out of his mouth. I remember when he came back from the Jets and he looked at me and said, ‘Man, it’s hard to play without a pass rush.'”

Joe agrees with this to an extent. A good pass rush helps corners. But good offensive coordinators scheme their way to buy an extra second or two at times, thus, you cannot hide a garbage cornerback in the NFL.

However, did anyone notice that when the Bucs had an OK pass rush in 2015, Hargreaves, as a rookie, played OK? Coincidence?

Joe has long maintained Hargreaves is a victim of a coaching staff and/or system that cannot develop rookie corners. Beckles hinted part of Hargreaves’ struggles could be coaching-related, adding at times Hargreaves “looked godawful” due to poor technique.

“He turned the wrong way,” Beckles said of one play where Hargreaves was deep-fried. “You can’t play football that way. Those are rookie mistakes. So he has to work on his footwork and work on being a bit more mature. He hasn’t lived up to his draft status, that’s for sure.”

Time will tell what happens with the defense this year. Joe is confident if the pass defense is still getting lit up after a major overhaul like Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht undertook this offseason like it has the past two years (sans a five-game fluke stretch) there will be new defensive coaches in 2019.

Joe can assuredly say Hargreaves surely wasn’t drafted No. 11 overall to play slot corner.

33 Responses to “Beckles: Blame The Pass Rush”

  1. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    VHIII will prove all of the naysayers wrong…as I have said all along.

  2. Bucsfanman Says:

    I hope for Hargreaves sake that Beckles is 100% correct. His job depends on it.

  3. SOEbuc Says:

    Thanks for telling us something Smitty told us at this time last year and throughout the year.

  4. mike10 Says:

    Bonzai, is that gospel or just poetry?

  5. m0j0 Says:

    Hargreaves has talent, of that there is no doubt. And yes, having a pash rush will make a significant impact to his ability to be successful in pass coverage. But the bottom line is he has to know what he’s doing out there and be able to react versus think, and that comes with experience. When he gets to that point, I think we will be able to see him grow into a good if not great player in this league.

  6. Frank813 Says:

    Mike Washington… was never ever been beat deep

  7. DB55 Says:

    He hasn’t lived up to his draft status, th
    Sincerely hope we’re not saying the same about Vea in 3 years.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    So which is it Joe? Is VHIII the victim of a bad pass rush or of bad coaching? Or maybe BOTH of the above? Or maybe it’s on him. No, can’t be. A player being held accountable for HIS play? Nah, not in Bucsville. Lets’ blame the coaches. Where’s Scapegoat Smitty when you need him?

    And as far as VHIII being a slot corner goes, what’s the problem with that? He lacks height. He lacks elite speed. And yet, in that middle area he seems to do quite well. Where he was drafted is of no consequence right now. Only thing that matters is can he help the Bucs win. And at slot, the answer seems to be YES. Plus he’s a decent backup outside corner, having played it before.

  9. SB Says:

    ^^^^ What DB just said^^^^
    That said i think what most think, that VH3 will have a bounce back yr. He has endured his hardships and doubts.When he was at Florida he had a heck of a Pass Rush which made him a terrific Press man corner. He has been out of his element without a pass rush. We have one now I think. Make or break IMO and I think he is going to Make! Let us all hope!
    Go Bucs

  10. teacherman777 Says:

    Donnie Abraham is a sad story of the Bucs glory days.

    3rd round pick, just one year before Ronde!

    They should have stayed together their entire careers!

    He led the NFL in interceptions multiple seasons! The guy was the best CB in the NFL when McKay released him for monetary reasons.

    He went on to play 3 more great years in NY.

    Imagine if we had kept Donnie alongside Ronde all those years?


    Donnie is a forgotten LEGEND!

    He moved like Cham Bailey.

  11. 813bucboi Says:

    pass rush would help a ton…..another thing that would help would be playing to his strengths…..he’s a man press CB…..just like c.davis….just like mj….no more soft/off coverage…..

    and if fans think smitty “gave freedom” to the cb’s their a damn fool…..I bet they still believe in the tooth fairy…..


  12. Rob Says:

    What pass rush lol? The 2018 defense will be unrecognizable because it will put pressure on the qb, stop the run more effectively, and make all our corners look better as well as increase the interceptions. Any substantial improvement on our embarrassingly bad defense will equal more wins. Go Bucs!

  13. Destinjohnny Says:

    He wasn’t very good in college,
    When he went up against elite players, he got smoked.
    When we drafted him so high I was like maybe they know something I don’t..

  14. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    VHIII will prove all of the naysayers wrong…as I have said all along.

    mike10 Says:

    Bonzai, is that gospel or just poetry?
    VHIII will prove all of the naysayers wrong…as I have said all along.

    The pass rush was weak it was never close to being strong,

    After Lichts work it will remind you of Alzado, Mutuszak and Long,

    With Vea in the middle swatting running backs like King Kong,

    Making the job easy for Grimes, VHIII, David and Kwon,

    Make fans forget all about mistakes like Freeman and his bong,

    At the end of the year “We are the Champions” will be our song.

  15. SB Says:

    Hey Johnny, were you serious about taking our bet because I was. If so then reply and screenshot it. Just ask NosBos. I pay up when I lose.

  16. K_Bassuka Says:

    First of, who cares what Beckless has to say! Second, Hargraves looked like he didn’t wanted to cover his receiver and Mr. Beckless if you have a good pass coverage it means that the QB will have to hold the ball a little longer which will result in more sacks. When you give a 10+ yard head start to the WR on about 100% of the snaps how is that the pass rush fault? Bottom line, the pass rush had little to do with him not playing/being good.

    Yet another topic that Beckless has proven he’s clueless.

  17. Destinjohnny Says:

    Sb totally serious

  18. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I have read this from many JBF posters…including me.

    I think we all agree with Ian that our horrid DL made life miserable for any DB.
    What we’re all interested in seeing is just how much was on the DB’s and how much on the DL.

    Hopefully this year the DL will be as improved on the field as it is on paper. We’ve added two new CB’s with high expectations to go along with that DL.

    Are you ready for some football?

  19. SB Says:

    OK Johnny…….To all JBF regulars…….I hereby bet DestinJohnny a Bucs Jersey of choice on the outcome of the Bucs 2018 season. I say we win 9 games, Johnny says we win 7 tops. 8 is a wash in my opinion. Bet off if we win 8 because then we were both wrong. SPBF you are the bet manager on this one 🙂

  20. destinjohnny Says:

    I’ll be taking a 0’J Howard jersey thank you very much haha!

  21. SB Says:

    I am thinking I will be wanting a Chris Godwin Jersey but who knows right now.

  22. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Joe, you seem to think that Beckles may be on to something regarding no pass rush making corners look bad. Don’t you think the lack of a pass rush can also make a defensive coordinator look bad as well. Two years ago you guys were ecstatic that the Bucs were able to retain his services. Last year he suddenly forgot how to coach??? Give it a rest and lets see what happens this year with an infusion of talent.

  23. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I think that it’s a combo of things. What’s odd is in looking up a lot of scouting reports; most said he can play zone coverage and off coverage as well as man. I actually haven’t come across one yet that even says he was solely a press CB type at UF.

    Lack of pass rush has definitely hurt him. Many said his issues were mental – and getting roasted a bunch in 2017 early when we had no pressure on the QB might have just f*cked with his head enough that he totally had no confidence anymore; on top of being injured.

    It’d still have been nice to see more adjustments from the coaching; but in general this is why you don’t draft CBs in round 1 without a great D-line built. It’s just not fair to their development and it’s super rare to see a CB ball out early in their career on a team that is bottom 3 in QB pressure. Not sure that it’s even ever happened?

  24. Destinjohnny Says:

    I hope im buying it!
    I don’t see it, they just have to many moving parts

  25. SB Says:

    I hope that you are buying it too Johnny. Not just so I win but because it would mean the BUCS Win. That would mean Continuity around here in a way we haven’t seen in a long time.

  26. Mike Johnson Says:

    Please come on Joe..Beckles a popular voice? And of Reason? Knock it off Joe!!
    Everybody knows we gotta get a pass rush. Bur Hargreaves has got to play better..a whole lot better!!

  27. John5 Says:

    Go back and watch the tape of Softgreaves last year. He was terrible. He got burned left and right, he couldn’t tackle to save his life, and many times he looked like he didn’t know where he was supposed to be. In his rookie year he was hitting hard, playing good coverage, and hawking the ball – all the signs of an emerging star cornerback.

    All those skills collectively aren’t attributes of a good D-line. I can agree that the coaches didn’t do their job. But maybe it was just him? Mr GQ Softgreaves deleted all his “model” photos of himself on Instagram, flossing his clothes and cars and whatever. But that’s all his social media was last year. It changed now. Maybe he has woken up.

  28. Pickgrin Says:

    I think Hargreaves shakes the “bust” label this year and makes a bunch of good plays for this defense.

  29. JabooBuc Says:

    Feel like this kid is going to turn things around this year. Regardless, the message has been sent and they are ready to cut bait if he doesn’t step things up. If he can play well, suddenly a position of weakness could be a strength.

  30. Capt.Tim Says:

    Sometimes I think Beckles has a sick sense of humor, and just gets on the wrong side of debates for ratings.

    Yes, the lack of pass Rush killed everyone in the secondary.
    But Ryan Smith- A rookie- was a huge upgrade over our 3rd year first round pick.
    Ryan Smith beat Hargreaves out of his job, and kept it all year.

    Any questions?

  31. Topdoggie Says:

    I heard Rondi say multiple times it takes three years before a corner gets it. He said the lights turned on for him his third year.
    Except the reality is that Ronde was second in tackles on a powerful Bucs defense in his second season. He also had three sacks and two picks that year, and clearly was much better than in his rookie year. Ronde operates on a different standard as far as “lights turned on.” He would also tell you that for a rookie to regress in Year 2 is a major red flag and nearly unthinkable.–Joe

  32. Duke Says:


    Playing 10 yds back isn’t giving the receiver a head start, it’s gaining on for the DB. You dyslexic . . Or just stupid.

    Do the Bucs have big corners? Need help……no they do not. More often than not the team is facing bigger faster receivers.. So only a special kinda stupid would call press . WhY? Because it makes the game so easy for the QB.

    What in the world caused you to believe that it’s beck who is clueless? I don’t believe that you made a single correct point. Please continue to post longer more detailed information. Lets see how really stupid you are.

  33. K_Bassuka Says:

    @Duke(Beckless in disguise)

    You obviously don’t pay attention. DB’s can play off the receivers on certain plays specifically when they have a lot of yardage to go for a first down, but on most plays. Look at Grimes for instance, since you probably don’t watch any other corners in the league, when he plays off he’s trying to bait the QB to throw a quick pass to his receiver. Hargraves doesn’t do that, he allows the quick slant to his receiver over and over, then to make matters worse, doesn’t tackle or get to the WR quick enough to stop them from breaking long RACs. Now the LB or S it’s forced to cover the underneath quick slant because the DB decided to give the WR “a head start/too much cushion” and at the same time being more susceptible to double moves and easier for the opponents to run on your Defense.

    Since most of WR are fast but not necessarily quick or polished when running their routes, if you play them closer it will force the receivers to be sharper in their routes as well as make the QB hold the ball a little longer.

    Get off Beckless nutsack Duke.