I’ll just get it out of the way now. Yes, I’m a big fan of the University of Florida Gators, but I did not allow that to influence my opinion of the player I’m covering today in this article.
I won’t say that I’m not thrilled that Vernon Hargreaves has so far played/practiced his way into such a good place. There is a large handful of players that are standing out this preseason with most of them being well documented as well as being publicly praised by the staff and fellow teammates, Ronald Jones, Justin Watson, Jameis Winston, etc, etc. There doesn’t seem to be much hubbub, though, over VH III. Take into consideration that the Bucs chose Hargreaves in the first round of the 2016 draft, and have exercised the team’s 5th-year option on him, which will keep him here through the 2020 season.
Hargreaves has missed significant time due to injury in his first few years, so it’s extremely important, especially with the new additions to the defensive backfield that he comes out strong, and shines if he wants to earn his money on the field rather than from a spot near the Gatorade jug. So far, he has done exactly that.
Scott Smith, a senior writer/editor with Tampa Bay Buccaneers.com was recently asked about Hargreaves’ progression in camp, and he had this to say:
“He has made a lot of splash plays in the first five practices, including an interception that fired up the crowd on Tuesday and another one on Saturday that ended a hurry-up two-minute drill by the first-team offense. Hargreaves has been running with the first team throughout camp, and he seems to be thriving in the new, more aggressive style of defense the Bucs are playing. And I’ll tell you this: You don’t have to worry about his confidence or enthusiasm. Hargreaves is performing well in this camp, and he knows it, and he doesn’t mind celebrating those big plays.”
Press Man Coverage: His forte.
While a good number of people have written him off and understandably so, he is thriving in the same defensive scheme that he not only played in at the University of Florida for three years, but the same scheme he excelled at. It’s no secret that press man coverage has been his thing, but the previous coaching staff, for whatever reason, didn’t feel it prudent to play towards the player’s strengths, so it’s not something he was tasked with doing.
He’s now back in his element, in a system he thrives in, and if he can just stay healthy, he should finally become that player that he was in college, a difference-maker, a player that can help turn a game around in one play. It’s a great thing to add him to the mix of other stars that are going to be on the field for our Surprise Defense this year. They are really going to shake things up this year. Count on it. Go Bucs!!