Early Friction, and More.
Vernon Hargreaves III (VH3) was called out by coach Arians for not hustling on a 55-yard catch and run by rookie Andy Isabella this past Sunday against the Cardinals.
“He didn’t look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle,“Arians stated to reporters. “He was chasing somebody across the field, and he wasn’t running fast enough.”
I’ve watched the play in question at least twenty times, and it does appear that Hargreaves was not playing up to par. He kind of overruns the play by a bit just after Isabella catches the ball. He then has to turn around, which has him moving backward, but facing the play. Isabella passes Hargreaves on an angle towards the sideline. Hargreaves catches up as Isabella runs out of bounds due to the defensive pursuit, which is all around him. Due to the angles and Hargreaves’s position on the field as the play develops, I don’t know if he really had a play on Isabella. Nonetheless, it didn’t look good.
It was also VH3 in the offseason that Bruce Arians chose to make an example of by holding him out of the team’s first OTAs. Reportedly,
“because the coach didn’t think his player was ready to practice.” – Kevin Patra, NFL.com.
So there has been friction between the two before at the beginning of this past off-season.
A Hometown Product.
The 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 draft, Vernon Hargreaves, battled injuries his entire time here. A hometown product out of Wharton High School (Tampa) and later The University of Florida, Hargreaves started nine games of the 2019 season, thus far, but his benching in the Cardinals game would be the last time he would don a Buccaneers Uniform.
“The Buccaneers exercised the fifth-year option on Hargreaves’ contract for 2020 when he’s due a $9.594 million base salary that becomes fully guaranteed if he’s on the roster the first day of the league year in March.” – per Aaron Wilson, Chron.com
Suring up an Injury-Laden Texans Defensive Backfield.
Hargreaves was claimed on waivers Wednesday by the Houston Texans. He becomes the third first-round defensive back on the roster for the Houston based club. The Texans have been dealing with injuries at the position, so that could mean Vernon might see some playing time sooner rather than later. Whether or not he will see the field against the Bucs will come down to what kind of health the position is sporting this December 21st for the visiting Texans.
“Financially, the Texans owe Hargreaves the remainder of his $2.383 million base salary for this season, a total of $981,366 that counts against the salary cap.” – per Aaron Wilson, Chron.com
Moving on with Promising Young Talent.
With the young talent the Bucs have at the cornerback position, I believe it was only a matter of time before Hargreaves was replaced as the starter. I think that VH3 made it easier for them to make the move with his on-again and off-again gameday intensity. Hargreaves is the kind of player that you have to take the good with the bad. He’s going to have his moments like when he gets burned, but he’s also going to make some big plays; the kind that change outcomes of games to the winning side.
As a coach/front office, you have to decide if it’s a risk you are willing to take. Apparently, the Bucs decided they were no longer prepared to deal with the risk vs reward that came along with Hargreaves. His play this past Sunday made that a much easier decision to make. They also sent a message to the rest of the team with the release of a high profile player. The lack of hustle he displayed won’t be tolerated. Next up, go Bucs!!