The Buccaneers were on the practice field as a team for the first of their OTAs on Tuesday. Well, at least almost all of them were there. And in the case of a former first-round pick defensive back, he’s already off to a negative start with new head coach Bruce Arians.
Vernon Hargreaves, who the Bucs took in the first round of the 2016 draft, but has largely been an injured disappointment in three seasons, was apparently forbidden from practicing with the team in helmet and shorts Tuesday because of his mentality.
Arians wasted no time telling the media after Tuesday’s workout why Hargreaves was not participating:
Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Vernon Hargreaves “has to get his mind right to practice. “ Hargreaves watched from the sidelines. Asked why he wasn’t ready, Arians said “you’ll have to ask him.”
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) May 14, 2019
Now, with the understanding this is an off-season OTA and it’s still a long way before meaningful football is being practiced much less played this fall, that is still an eye-opening comment from the new head coach.
This is especially, when the Bucs we’re hoping that the coaching staff change would be of benefit to motivating and improving Hargreaves starting this season.
As we have written previously, the Bucs did pick up the fifth year option on Hargreaves’ rookie deal. However, he has battled injuries and sub-par play during his three seasons in Tampa Bay. And, 2019 is being viewed as a key year for him to live up to the promise that he showed in college in Gainesville.
But, make no mistake, Tampa Bay spent two second-round picks on corners last draft and two more picks in the second and third round on defensive backs in this recently concluded draft. That means that Bucs new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles convinced GM Jason Licht that they not only need depth, but competition and possible replacements for a veteran, like Hargreaves, if he doesn’t work out for them.
Again, there’s a long way to go in this process to see if Hargreaves can get back to the form to Tampa Bay was hoping for when they took him to be a potential impact defensive back in the NFC South.
However, Hargreaves has no more excuses, especially with his injuries and the fact that, he could easily be replaced by others that the Bucs have brought in the last two seasons.
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