Bucs CB Vernon Hargreaves
Each week PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your submitted questions about the Bucs. You can have your question answered by asking on Twitter using the #PRMailbag hashtag and also on the message boards. Here are this week’s five questions.
Question: Vernon Hargreaves I though had a lackluster rookie campaign. Do you think if he doesn’t come out and make an impact we move on and call it a bust?
Answer: I am not sure if this is a legitimate question and comment or not, but I will answer it anyway. First, for a rookie cornerback thrown into the fire in a defense being coached by a first-year coach, I thought he performed admirably. Hargreaves, like most every other player on defense started off the season with issues, but as the year went along, the production for the defense and Hargreaves greatly improved. There is no question the transition from college to pro wasn’t an easy one, but it rarely is for cornerbacks, not to mention adding in being part of a first-year defense. With that said, I expect Hargreaves to be one of, if not the, most improved defensive player in 2017. Mike Evans talked about Hargreaves last week.
“In OTAs, I’ve noticed that he’s talking more,” Evans said. “At first, he was real quiet. He’s talking more, he’s showing out, he’s making plays. He looks real good.”
If that translates into production for next season is still up for debate, but by all indications, Hargreaves is due to have a much improved 2017 campaign. And even if he doesn’t, to say a player after two seasons is a bust, would be crazy in my opinion. I think most would agree that the former Gators standout has all the physical tools to be successful, now it is just up to him to put it all together. Experience is the biggest teacher at the position he plays.
Question: Why do the Bucs wear white jerseys for the first few home games? I thought those were away colors?
Answer: While I am not sure an actual answer has ever been stated by the organization, I suspect it is due to the heat factor. A lighter colored jersey doesn’t retain the same heat as a dark jersey. Or so some think. There is some debate on that however. While dark colors may absorb more heat, they reportedly also radiates more heat possible making it cooler. Or so the opinions of some would say. I googled it, and found arguments on it going back and forth. It could also be something as simple as that is what the Glazers or Dirk Koetter prefer. Maybe it is just a looks thing. But even going back to the creamsicle days, the team often wore the white jerseys at home early in the season before wearing the orange ones later in the season.
Another question, brought up often by Scott Reynolds is, if they are going to wear white uniforms, why don’t they always wear the pewter pants. Personally I like the white on white, and I am not a fan of the pewter pants. Especially where they start getting wet from sweat. To me it looks like, well, you get the idea.
Question: Please give us an update on how rookie free agent QB Sefo Liufau is doing. Don’t hear much.
Answer: Part of why you don’t hear much is he isn’t doing as much. Essentially fourth on the depth chart, Liufau is buried deep on the roster and doesn’t get as many reps as the ones ahead of him. For one thing he is still new to this offense, and secondly the Bucs have a larger financial investment in Ryan Griffin and Ryan Fitzpatrick. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a future here in Tampa Bay or in the NFL. It is just going to be an uphill struggle. I can say, based on the rookie mini-camp he was the more impressive quarterback that weekend. At 6-4, he has the looks of an NFL QB and also showed off a pretty strong arm during that windy weekend back in April. He will be fun to watch during the team’s training camp and we will try and watch him a little more closely during this week’s mandatory mini-camp.
Question: How will the coaching staff be with playing time in the preseason to avoid injuries with veterans? Like any other year or more strict?
Answer: I don’t imagine we will see much deviation from what we saw last season. Perhaps a few less plays from players like Mike Evans, Gerald McCoy, or maybe even Jameis Winston, but while preseason games aren’t the same as regular season games, they still give you a better look and are more beneficial than going up against your own defense day in and day out. They are needed, no question. It is the toughest three games (the fourth preseason game starters rarely play) of the year as far as anxiety for coaches and the front office. But you just hold your breath, pray and keep your lucky rabbit’s foot in your pocket if you are Dirk Koetter and hope for the best.
Question: I think we got a real gem in Boise State WR Thomas Sperbeck, what’s the chances he makes the roster?
Answer: It is still too early to make roster predictions, but I will say, he has caught my eye somewhat, in the same way Adam Humphries did three years ago. Sperbeck appears to be one of those smaller (5-11, 187), yet fearless guys, who will always be in the right place at the right time. Not blessed necessarily all the tools of guys like Mike Evans or DeSean Jackson, Sperbeck will have to carve out his own niche in the same way Humphries did as an undrafted free agent. Whatever it ends up being, special teams will have to be a big part of things if he ends up sticking somehow. He is a guy you like to pull for, but this team isn’t keeping guys just because they might have a rags-to-riches story. The best 53 will stick. If Sperbeck is one of them then he will have earned it with his play on the field.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
In my opinion CB is the second hardest position to play for rookies. QB being the hardest. Rookie corners like Ramsey, Darby & Peters are the exception. Not the norm. That said, Vernon certainly had issues last season that he’ll have to overcome this year. He’s not going to get taller or faster, but he can be more aggressive & use his technique to mitigate some of those issues. A better pass rush and safety play will also help him in coverage. I think he’ll be fine in the end.
I too thought Hargraves had a decent season considering he was a rookie. I expect he’ll get better this year and also the following year.
As to white pants for home games in creamsicle world I don’t remember that happening.
Personally, I do not prefer the white pants. Nearly every team has them. No one rocks Pewter but us. Wear those things more. The white jerseys have Pewter shoulder panels, for God’s sake. It’s a perfect match.
I’m still shaking my head and listening to it rattle.
Is there someone really out there questioning “if” Hargreaves doesn’t have a great second year he should be considered a bust?
As far as I’m concerned, Hagreaves didn’t have that bad of a year last season. When did it become popular to believe rookie corners should have 5 INT rookie seasons to consider them a success.
Sorry, but I mean really folks. questions like these are so inane. It’s not like the guy played like Myron Lewis in his third season for gods sake.
Take a deep breath.
Just goes to show the unfair pressure and expectations some fans have for pro athletes. Don’t get me wrong, even at the lower end of the NFL pay scale, these guys make more in a single season than many fans do in a decade, so I don’t pity the ones who make a 53-man squad, but this does show what a bizarre freak show these players face in the form of Sports Fans.
Fans like the person who asked about Hargreaves being a bust after one season showcase the unreasonable nature of those expectations. This fan is not alone.
Fans, if you want to cast dispersions on a players’ career and ability, ground your criticism with some general, reality-based knowledge of the game. If you want to be a casual fan (What’s a ‘fair’ catch?), fine. Just don’t base critiques of players abilities based on a casual fan’s view (Why did that QB fall down instead of running for a 1st down? Aren’t the guys with the ball supposed to run until they get tackled?). In other words, if you want to point fingers, you don’t have to be an expert, but at least have some reasons for your opinion that a majority of fans can say are reasonably valid.
Even Ronde Barber was pretty terrible his first couple of years. As fans we need to try to be more patient. VH3 has the tools to be a fantastic player and the character to see it through.
I also believe Vernon had a pretty good year. Especially when the defense started to click. I’m pretty sure he had his hands on I think at least 2 or 3 balls that ended up interceptions for us because he made a play on it.
He was picked on last year as any rookie cb will be, and he is the one that benefited from it.
A shut down corner doesn’t have to be a playmaker. They actually allow other players to be playmakers because they “shut down” that side of the field.
I love the content here, but some of the “fans” sure do make my head hurt…lol
I expect a big year from the hyena. GO BUCS!
How does someone even think of calling a rookie starter a “bust”? Perhaps PR should post a description of the term so it doesn’t get thrown out there so freely.
It has always been my understanding that the white jerseys were worn at home thinking the darker jerseys of the opponent would be a degree or two hotter. The Bucs version of “Football Warming”. Perhaps with so many opponent fans due to folks here scalping their tickets, they are made to feel even more at home when the visitors are actually wearing the home colors. Personally, I wish the team would wear the red.
I remember once Sam Wyche wanted the team to wear orange jerseys and orange pants, but Hardy Nickerson nixed that idea.
Echoing most of the other commenters here, but going anothe step further, I thought VH3 didnt just do “not bad for a rookie” I thought he did very well. Rookies generally aren’t supposed to start unless a 1st or 2nd round pick. As our 1st rounder he got the starters job, meeting expectation. But for rookie CBs, that normally means a slot corner who only plays on obvious passing down. VH3 did that, and then moved on to nail down the every-down corner position as he learned how to play at the NFL level against some of the very best Super Bowl bound WRs in the league. By the last month of the season, VH3 was not only making plays himself but was effectively leading and coaching his teammates in the defenive backfield.
In short VH3 made marvelous progression as a starting CB in only one season of play.
Any talk of VH3 and the word “bust” in the same question is not worthy of serious discussion here at PR. Sorry, but that’s just idiotic!
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