New Defense = New Hargreaves

April 9th, 2019

Fresh reset.

Maybe Joe is a crusty cynic, but dudes posting workout videos on their social media accounts is just not impressive in any way for this guy.

You mean a professional athlete making seven or eight figures a year works out like an animal and has a personal trainer so he can continue to receive checks with lots of zeros? Who could have guessed?

Besides, as Warren Sapp once famously said, you don’t pump weights on the 50-yard line. It isn’t about how many miles you run in the offseason or how many bench presses you can lift. It’s about results on the field of play.

Joe monitors Instagram (and not just of Bucs players — ahem) and for the better part of the year, Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves has been offline.

Then about two months ago, almost daily, Hargreaves was posting multiple videos a day on his Instagram Stories account, mostly of him working out at One Buc Palace. It was as if Hargreaves woke up one morning and realized he had a live Instagram account.

Has he had a change of attitude? (Not that he was a bad dude before.) Joe has already speculated that Bucco Bruce Arians is working on building up Hargreaves’ confidence.

Perhaps the best thing for Hargreaves’ career came in January when maybe the worst secondary coaches in the NFL were blown out by the Bucs. There was just way too much evidence that those coaches (if not defensive coordinator Mike Smith) did not know how to develop rookie corners.

Every rookie corner the Bucs had got worse when he returned the following season. Not better — worse. And they never improved, a big-time signal the coaches were incompetent.

Arians appeared to confirm Joe’s strong-held convictions during the coaches breakfast at the recent NFL owners meetings when Hargreaves was a topic of conversation.

Arians confessed due to Hargreaves’ injuries, there wasn’t a whole lot of tape to study of him when current Bucs coaches were trying to decide who to keep and who to toss overboard. So Arians and his staff even went back to his college tape at Florida.

“Had to go back to the draft,” Arians said. “We really liked him [when at Arizona]. We had him really high on our board. We thought he could do what we do. The injuries — it’s not like he got them [because] he was playing nickel. They were just freaky injuries. You just have to knock on wood and hope they are gone.

“People say this guy was a bust — how do you know, he was hurt all the time? It wasn’t his fault. He was a helluva player. I always go back to Tim Couch. Tim Couch was a helluva quarterback. He just got broken up. Labrum, elbow. Got sacked 140 times his first two years I think. He was no way a bust. He took [the Browns] to the playoffs.”

“I think Vernon has all the talent in the world. He works hard, smart. So why can’t he be successful? He just has to stay healthy.”

The key phrase here to Joe was that Arians believes Hargreaves can play in Todd Bowles’ defense. Could it possibly be that the incompetent secondary coaches or Smith asked Hargreaves to play roles that did not fit his skillset? You know, square peg/round hole?

Joe’s willing to bet that was exactly the case.

24 Responses to “New Defense = New Hargreaves”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Totally agree injuries are a part of the game but coaching has bin the main issue for years

  2. firethecannons Says:

    VH3 and Ryan Smith–sure would be nice if those two get a lot better–honestly, they were awful! Hoping the change of coaching makes all the difference and scheme adjustment–hope they stop playing 15 yards off, hard to watch.

  3. Buccobilly Says:

    This article reeks of “old man yells at cloud”

  4. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    So hargreaves is the like the chicken or the egg. Either licht had no clue what he was doing drafting press corners into man schemes without consulting with the HC and DC or then hargreaves, etc are just bad an cannot adapt to multiple nfl schemes from running press man or press zone or off man and off zone. DC in th league do have to keep the QB and OC guessing so I would think it would make all DBs better if they have many tools on their belt to play the many different schemes in the NFL. Were Brian Kelley, Ronde Barber, Donnie Abraham, Dwight Smith, or any of the other good DBs the bucs have had were they a certain type of DB in college and then have to adjust to monty’s scheme? This is BS that hargreaves cannot play more than one technique in the NFL and be successful…

  5. Jeffbuc Says:

    Just saw a tweet. Heargraves in zone coverage was graded the 75th corner out of 78 in 2017. And in press coverage he was 26th out of 109. And he was the 7th best corner when he played press from the slot. Yet are genius coaches have him playing zone more than half the time. Where he least successful. If that just doesn’t show you how different each and every player could look this year when they are used correctly. All these high draft picks have to have some talent. It isn’t like we reached on most of them besides Stewart. Every draft pick we go was considered a steal. And we have been one of the highest graded draft every year right after the draft. Not that means anything but we drafted guys that were suppose to be drafted higher with our picks. This getting the highest draft grade. So some of these guys have to pan out at some point.

  6. tmaxcon Says:

    Can’t wait for the excuses when the short, slow, stupid and super fragile vh3bust fails again…you cant fix or coach short slow or stupid

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    VH3 will perform much better this year……why….because T’ax says he won’t.

  8. 813bucboi Says:


    thank you for highlighting how the coaches refused to put VHG and others in position to be successful……

    with VHG & RS, its simple…play them in man press and watch them flourish…..


  9. rrsrq Says:

    We keep saying the best signing this off season was the coaching staff, well probably because we didn’t have any cap room, but any way, I am looking forward to some players like VHIII, Ryan Smith, maybe even Will Gholston and Noah Spence becoming better players because they are better positioned. Oh yeh, even Caleb Benenoch now that he is back at tackle, which everyone except the coaching staff realized he played better there the year before (also except those who watched him last year and thought that he was not even a good football player at all), all your life in football you play one position then they switch you when you get to the highest level, it’s called an adjustment period.

  10. Lord Cornelius Says:


    Saw that same thing and it was pretty insane.

    I’m mainly wondering what the plan is at nickle if they want VHIII outside full time? Davis / Ryan Smith don’t fit there and MJ Stewart was moved to S.

    It’s possible that if we draft a S high they may be used a lot in the slot. I haven’t seen a lot of CB visits that project as nickles

  11. Pryda...Sec 147 Says:

    VH3 I hope to god he blows up this year !

  12. ATLBucs Says:

    The proof is in the pudding. Not only have the cornerbacks we drafted regressed, but almost all of our draft picks have also regressed. When introducing BA as head coach, the glazers mentioned, three or four times, “developing our young players”.

  13. #1bucsfan Says:

    It just seems stupid to me to try an fit a round peg in a square hole I mean freaking stupid mr Mike Smith was his ego just to big to adapt his scheme to his players instead of doing it the other way around maybe he wanted to make history with the worst defense ever geez.

  14. 813bucboi Says:


    maybe whitehead or j.evans plays a little slot…..


  15. 813bucboi Says:



    its really not that hard to see…besides some pass catchers, just about every group has regressed…..


  16. tmaxcon Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says:
    April 9th, 2019 at 11:19 am

    VH3 will perform much better this year……why….because T’ax says he won’t.

    considering I have never been wrong pal you can guarantee this fool will be a non factor once again. bucs should be banned from drafting local feel good stories it never works… they all fail, from shawn king, that museum tour guide murphy, to the current midget they all are just stains on the sport of football in the name of a BS feel good story with the attempt to pacify a mentally weak soft fan base more concerned with choirboys than winners. vh3bust has no business in the nfl

    i am never wrong about these fools… you know that… same time last year you probably said the same thing and what happened the midget was a non factor once again.

  17. Rod Munch Says:

    If VH3 can contribute, great, but are you really betting your year on it? I wouldn’t. I’d view him as nothing but a nice bonus if he’s healthy enough to play and is good enough to play.

  18. Not there yet Says:

    Forget the results under the idiot Dirk Koetter and especially mike Smith. You don’t draft a short corner 9th overall to play in a zone defense. Dude is a press corner that they tried to teach how to play their zone coverages. That would be like drafting Vea last year and saying ok go play 3 tech instead of nose. My only issue with VH3 playing press corner is dude is too short and thin for the receivers in this division. It would be smart to draft a corner in case of injury, we basically have Carlton and VH3 that’s it.

  19. JameisAlmighty! Says:

    VH3 was a Licht idea. Derwin James Jr was the right idea. Fireeee Licht!

  20. GhostofSchiano Says:

    I have faith the new staff can develop these guys, fix some issues, and perform much better than last year.


  21. catcard202 Says:

    Joe, I’m pretty confident that my Labrador could get better results than the last DEF staff.

  22. BucEmUp Says:

    Cant wait for tmax to eat it when VH3 balls out

  23. joestang Says:

    Hargreaves is a bust. He will never play a full 16 game season. He is too fragile and will get hurt again. He also cant cover either. I would try to package jones and hargreaves for a 4th round pick if possible. cut your losses with these two players and move on.

  24. Brandon Says:

    You do push weight at the 50 yardline… and the two goal lines and all lines in between. Having upper body strength is essential to getting push with your hands and there is no other barometer that can measure it is well as a bench press… though how many times a person bench presses 225 for reps is not much of an indicator of strength but of muscle endurance. Reps of 225 not only measures muscle endurance but also of work ethic in the weight room. Some people are just naturally strong. My best friend’s cousin, Shawn Lee, was drafted by the Bucs and played 10+ years in the league for both the Dolphins and Chargers… and the first time Shawn ever bench pressed in his life, he threw up 315 like it was nothing. He was just naturally a very strong person. Some people have great strength naturally on the bench and can throw up ungodly amounts of weight… but what cannot be done without work ethic is reps of 225.

    I love the bench press as an indicator of how hard a person has worked in the gym to get better. How important it is to them. If they work hard in the gym it isn’t a stretch to think that they have similar work ethic and dedication to improving themselves on the field (not always the case-Boston, David). Anyways, I love Sapp and Sapp can say all he wants about the bench but the obvious truth is that Sapp was not a big worker. Yeah, he only threw up 16 reps or so of 225 in front of scouts… but he won NFL’s strongest player at least once with a crazy high incline bench press. He was a naturally fast and strong freak and despite him not thinking the bench press was important, his upper body strength was a big reason he was able to dominate the NFL for as long as he did.