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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

McClain’s concussion could push Bucs CB Hargreaves back outside

Roy Cummings



Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire

ORCHARD PARK, NY – In one game on Sunday the Buccaneers got as many pass breakups out of their starting right cornerback as they got in all of their five previous games combined.

The fact they changed starting right cornerbacks surely had something to do with that.

Moving from the slot corner spot to the outside, Robert McClain switched places with the struggling Vernon Hargreaves and broke up one pass during the Bucs 30-27 loss to the Bills.

That may not seem like a big deal but that’s the same number of pass breakups as recorded by Hargreaves as a right outside corner. There’s a chance though, that Hargreaves will be right back at right corner when the Bucs return to action next Sunday.

McClain, who also led the Bucs with eight tackles on the day, was placed in the concussion protocol after the game and if he stays there through the week he may have to sit out the Bucs game against Carolina,

That could prove to be quite a blow for the Bucs, who have watched as Hargreaves has become the most picked on and exploited cornerback in the league this year.

Though McClain contributed greatly to the Bills rally in their 30-27 victory by committing a critical unnecessary roughness penalty, he gave them an otherwise solid effort at the right corner spot.

The same could be said for Hargreaves, who played slot corner in the preseason as a rookie a year ago and looked comfortable there again on Sunday, recording a team-high two pass breakups.

 “For this week, we just wanted to change Vernon’s role a little bit, because he wasn’t playing as well as we know he can on the outside,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said of the move.

 “So, we wanted to give him a different (look), a bit of a change, but as far as (how we do things) going forward, we’ll have to see how the injury situation shakes out.’’

If McClain can’t go the Bucs would have to option of playing Ryan Smith on the outside at right corner and keeping Hargreaves in the slot or moving Javien Elliott into the slot.

Elliott played in six games, starting one, as the Bucs slot corner a year ago and began training camp as the Bucs starter there this year before hje was unseated by McClain.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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