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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs DB Hargreaves already in Bruce Arians’ doghouse?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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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:

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.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs pass rusher Barrett named NFC Defensive Player of Week

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Off their impressive Road win last Thursday night against division rival Carolina, the Buccaneers also got an individual accolades on Wednesday morning.

That’s when the NFL announced that edge pass-rusher Shaq Barrett had been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week:

Barrett had a tremendous game, or should we say third quarter specificall,  in the win over the Panthers. This as, he registered not one, but three quarterback sacks, in the third quarter of Tampa Bay’s 20 – 14 victory.

Barrett became the first Buccaneer since Simeon Rice in their Super Bowl season of 2002 to have that many sacks in a single 15 minute period. He’s also the first Bucs pass rusher to get three sacks in a single game since the 2015 season.

Barrett also had a sack in Tampa Bay’s week one loss against San Francisco and obviously, leads them now with four of them through the first two games. The four sacks in two games has matched the best start in sacking the QB in Buccaneers franchise history.

The last time the Bucs had a defensive player win player of the week honors, was also 2015. That’s when linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander each took home the honor in separate weeks.

The six year veteran came to Tampa Bay after having spent his first five years with the Denver Broncos. This included his being part of the Broncos Super Bowl 50 winning season of 2014.

Barrett had 14 career sacks coming into this season and is already thriving early in new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ defense. The Bucs are pairing him on the outside with Carl Nassib in Bowles’ 3-4 scheme.

He is also the former Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year at Colorado State, where he had 12 sacks and three forced fumbles in his senior season and was eventually signed with Denver, as an undrafted free agent.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs coach Arians rightfully fearing Giants RB Saquon Barkley

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of the Giants starting rookie Daniel Jones at quarterback on Sunday, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians knows the real key for New York resides deeper in their backfield.

That’s where second-year running back Saquon Barkley is expected to be busy, especially early in the game. And, he may very well be the reason or not that New York has a chance to get their first win of the season Sunday in Tampa.

Arians made it clear right away at his Tuesday press conference that Barkley will be a challenge for a Buccaneer defense that has been stingy so far this year against the run:

“He’s got more 50-yard runs than anybody I’ve seen in a long time,” Arians said.  “He’s hard to bring down. He doesn’t run over many people – he runs around them and runs past them. The size and the speed combination are extremely rare.”

The Bucs held the 49ers in check for just 77 yards on the ground in their opening loss two weekends ago, but then, played even better against Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers running attack last Thursday night. They held McCaffrey to only 37 yards on 16 carries, including the biggest moment of the game. That’s when DB Vernon Hargreaves stopped McCaffrey one-on-one from getting the one needed yard to keep Carolina’s final drive alive and hopes of winning the game.

As for Barkley, he comes off a tremendous debut season with a 1,300 yards rushing and another 700 receiving. He’s arguably the best dual threat back in football.

And, with a 120 yd rush game on just 11 carries in the opening week game at Dallas, Barkley followed up with another 100 yard game last week against Buffalo registering 107 yards on 18 carries. Still, the Giants dropped both games and at 0- 2 and have decided to shake it up at QB.

Giants second-year coach Pat Shurmur will try to establish the run early on in the game to take the pressure off his rookie quarterback making his debut.

The Bucs know that as well and looked at stuff to run with Pro Bowl veteran Ndamukong Suh and former first-round pick Vita Vea. Both guys have been big keys in clogging up the middle and helping the Buccaneers stop the 49er and Panther backs.

And if they do so Sunday at home, it will be a big key for a second straight win.

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