Wednesday was suppose to be a bright day at One Buc Place. The team was coming off their thrilling victory over the Saints in New Orleans, and were set to prepare to host the Philadelphia Eagles with focus-filled excitement.

But, that’s not what happened — at least entirely.

News broke this morning that cornerback Vernon Hargreaves would be placed on season-ending IR. Hargreaves suffered a shoulder injury during the Saints game, and after getting a second opinion, the team decided to shut him down.

Such news was a shame to hear after Hargreaves looked as good as he ever has coming out of camp.

When we got to open locker room, we made sure to talk to rookie cornerback Carlton Davis, who will likely be filling the full-time outside cornerback position with Hargreaves now officially shut down.

Davis said what you would expect: Next man up.

Hargreaves wasn’t the only name on the injury list, either, as Vita Vea, Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes and DeSean Jackson were also held out of practice.

Back in the locker room, Pierre-Paul was seen wearing a brace on his knee, and he told us his ability to play on Sunday is up in the air.

As for the guys that are expected to play on Sunday, two of the new Buccaneers will be going against their old teammates.

Defensive end Vinny Curry won a Super Bowl with the Eagles last season, and he talked about what it is going to take to beat a team as talented and as well-coached as the Eagles are.

Curry isn’t the only former Super Bowl champ currently on the Bucs’ roster, either. Defensive Tackle Beau Allen was also asked about going up against his former Eagles teammates, and said that it’s an odd feeling, but it’s something you have to do quite a bit in the NFL.

Allen also talked about what the Bucs are expecting with Nick Foles being named the starting quarterback for the Eagles this week. He said that Foles can throw a lot of different abilities at you, and that it will take a full effort from all 11 guys on the field.

Following open locker room, defensive coordinator Mike Smith was made available to talk to the media, as he is every Wednesday.

Smith opened up his time at the podium saying that it’s good to get a win, but knows full well that his side of the ball didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.

Speaking of the coverage, Smith elaborated on what the plan was with the Bucs rookie cornerbacks, Davis and M.J. Stewart, and how their was a plan to get them game action while also allowing them to catch their breath a bit, too.

Smith also elaborated on aggressive play calling from the defensive side, and a lot of times even when you want to be more aggressive, what the offense is doing can, at times, handcuff you from being as aggressive as you want.

On the flip side, head coach Dirk Koetter talked about how aggressive and risky Doug Pederson calls his offense for Philedelphia.

Koetter also talked about running back Ronald Jones and how him not being on the active roster last week doesn’t mean he’s “in the dog house.”

We’ll be back for another jam-packed day at One Buc tomorrow.

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]

35 COMMENTS

  1. I’m on board with making Buckner the DC. It’s been 3 seasons that Smith’s been here and all we’ve heard is “improve” and “communicate”.

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    • Why make him DC? How about head coach. How about head coach and GM? That makes just as much sense. Buckner is ready. His unit has played one game and created one sack. SOLID THINKING!!!!!!!!

      I hope you realize I’m trolling your EXTREMELY STUPID idea.

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      • I realize the trolling and sarcasm. While I don’t think the Bucs D-line did very well (they did have several chances to sack Brees but they missed) I am kind of fed up with this passive defense. I was all in for Mike Smith bringing an aggressive scheme to the Bucs much like the one he had in Jacksonville but I am sick and tired of seeing this soft coverage and laid back defense. Like many Bucs fans who scream at the tv, we see no blitzing and no press man coverage (I know you cannot play man coverage every down). It’s irritating and infuriating to see this every Sunday and he comes up with the excuse of “improving” and “making adjustments”. How long has he been coaching? How many adjustments do you need to make in 3 seasons as being the defensive coordinator running the same defense on the same team? I understand you can’t just pick any coach off the street to be the DC but this is getting ridiculous. I want everyone on the Bucs to do great and succeed but if what Mike Smith is doing for the defense isn’t working then why keep doing it? That’s the prime definition of INSANITY.

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        • You are flat wrong. The definition of insanity is changing coaches every 5 minutes. Coaches don’t execute, players do. Those missed sacks are not on Smith. They are on the players who missed them.

          I will remind you the Bucs were up 48-24 with 12 minutes to go in the game BECAUSE of the offense AND defense. The defense had created TWO turnovers and scored a touchdown. They also forced more punts at that point.

          The clock was the enemy at that point. WHO CARES if you give up a long drive that ends in points for New Orleans. It was a 3 possession game and our offense was clicking all day. Tick, tick, tick…

          The Bucs won. END OF STORY.

          Why can’t fans just accept a good team win. Was it perfect? No, but pretty close. Instead, you and many in the media want to pick it apart and find fault like the Bucs lost. Next you’ll wish Hargreaves had played softer defense in the red zone at the end. Maybe he wouldn’t have gotten hurt unneccesarily. Of course, now you have another reason to hate coach Smith since he called the play that got VHIII hurt.

          SMH

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          • I was ecstatic that they won. I’m a diehard just like many of you in here but just because they won doesn’t mean you should be satisfied with how they played on defense. I don’t want this issue with the defense to keep showing up throughout the season. Stop making excuses for Smith’s scheme. They laid back and allowed 2 scoring drives, and 2 2-point conversions. 1 of which took less than 2 minutes I believe. They were getting complacent on defense and was letting New Orleans back in the game. Had Fitzpatrick not gotten that first down on 3 down 11 and the Bucs had to punt and give the ball back to Brees, odds are the Saints would have marched down the field and scored to tie it up. Also, wtf? Why would I say some moronic BS like that about VHIII? Where do you come up with this crap? Injuries are apart of the game and I would not wish them on anyone. I was pulling for VHIII and still am pulling for him despite being injured. MY POINT IS SMITHS SCHEME NEEDS TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE!!!!! That’s my point, or do you not understand that? Good lord *facepalm*.

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  2. Me too, Michael. It is foolish to continue the scheme that made us the worst defense in the NFL. Anyone ranking DCs would have to give Smitty the 32nd best rating of DCs in the NFL. Koetter won’t make it to next year if he doesn’t get a much better DC. Buckner Coached with the Arizona Cardinals on Defense and they had an excellent Defense. He now knows our players and could fix our Defense if he was promoted to DC.

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    • Did you even listen to Smith’s remarks? Did you even watch the game?

      When it was 48-24 with 12 minutes to go in the game, and the defense had already scored a TD and the Bucs had forced two turnovers and Catanzaro was 8 of 8 on all kicks, were you thinking, FIRE SMITH NOW!

      NO, you weren’t.

      Coach said it in his remarks…The clock was the enemy at that point. The design was to make New Orleans drive it down with a 12 or 13 play drive and chew up clock. They also had to execute. A hallmark of Dungy’s and Kiffin’s Tampa Two defense was what??????????? Can you remember?? Tick tock.

      EXACTLY THE SAME!!! Either Bucs fans are stupid or forgetful or likely both. Dungy rarely blitzed. He made the other teams offense execute 12-13 plays. He didn’t play press coverage. He played zone.

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      • Pretty sure you can press your corners in zone coverage, too. Just sayin

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        • Grayballs, yes you can press your corners in zone coverage but you are more likely to give up a big play when you do especially to a great QB like Brees. Its smart to play soft zone and let the other team chew up the clock. It what a lot of teams did to us last year. That’s where 35% of Winston’s stats came from last season.

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    • I hear you, but I want to see the DL play interlacing first.

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  3. “what the offense is doing can, at times, handcuff you from being as aggressive as you want.” I suppose that coin has two sides though…”what the [defense] is doing can, at times, handcuff you from being as aggressive as you want [on offense]”. Just saying…

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  4. One Buc place doesn’t like to comment on Injuries, so we usually don’t get the low-down before the player is put on IR. Coach hasn’t given us one legitimate update on Vea. JPP is in a leg brace, and both top Corners are out? Our Defense was supposed to be ominous. Powerful, stifling. If Brees and the Saints were able to score 40 points, how do you think the Super Bowl champs will do? I don’t care how good Fitzpatrick is on Sunday, if we cannot get to the QB, and intercept some balls and create fumbles, this will be an agonizing season.

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    • The Eagles with Foles aren’t likely to put up those kind of points, not even with Wentz really. The Eagles pose the challenge of a very good proven defense and decent offense with Foles and solid with Wentz. If Fitz manages to have the kind of success he had with Saints we have a scary good offense and likely pull another upset.

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    • No NFL team likes to comment on injuries. They do it because it’s mandated by the league. Bill Bellichick is notorious for being less than forthcoming on his injury situations.

      As far as getting turnover and their importance, the Bucs are +2 in turnover margin right now. (That’s good)

      As far as Philly being better than New Orleans on offense, the numbers would seem to refute that assertion.

      In 2017, Brees was the 4th best QB, Winston 13th, Wentz 19th based on yards. Brees had the highest completion percentage in the NFL also at 72%. Wentz was actually lower than Winston(63%) at 60%

      In 2017, Blount(766) and Ajayi(408) combined for 1174 yards rushing. Blount was the 21st ranked rusher, Ajayi was 40th. Conversely, Ingram was the 5th best RB last year with 1124 yard by himself. When you add Kamara’s 728 it puts the duo up to 1754. Thats 680 more yards on the ground.

      If you want to make a point use some facts. Your gut is lying to you.

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  5. I thought we had a chance considering Foles is starting and the Eagles receivers are banged up. But we have too many injuries to deal with. We will likely lose this game, which is okay. I just hope we come back healthy enough to take out the Steelers.

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  6. Has there been any update on Vita Vea. He has been out so long with a calf injury and I don’t see any reports indicating that he is making any progress in his recovery. I kind of start to forget about him. The conspiracy theorist in me is starting to believe that the team has a cover up going on. Something like; they missed the term “Brittle Bone disease” in his medical report. I’m nowhere near calling him a bust, but I would like to know what the time table for his return is.

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  7. I have no confidence in Mike Smith.
    His defense of his Defense is his typical vanilla. He may not realize it, but he sure comes across as a defeatist.

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  8. This has got to be the worst calf strain in history! I’m not buying it. Vea pulled up lame running the 40 at the combine, and never did another drill. I think the Bucs are covering for Licht’s ass, or their medical staff because they went ahead and drafted damaged goods.

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    • This kind of reminds me of Bowers situation a few ago; I sure hope it’s not.

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      • Bowers was diagnosed with a rare medical condition and was coming off major knee surgery when he was drafted. Not even in the same ballpark Horse. As usual. Its a calf strain from a big man. Its similar to a hamstring injury for a running back. Takes a long time to heal depending on the severity.

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  9. Grade II-III calf strains can easily take 6+ weeks to a few months to heal. Vea is a big dude so you dont want to risk him reinjuring it and making it worse. That said I heard it was an Achilles injury they caught before a full tear.

    If Licht did buy damaged goods, he would know better than most with his Sweezy purchase. How many days of practice did Sweezy participate before he went on IR with his back surgery? I believe that would be 0.

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    • Yes Sweezy, he”s another good example.
      What was the name of the LG we signed from New Orleans a couple years ago?

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      • Carl Nicks

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      • Horse-I can tell you the name of the player Licht signed this year. Ryan Jensen. Review the game film of that guy. Then get back to me on Licht’s ability to evaluate.

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  10. A grade 1 calf strain will heal in 7 to 10 days. Grade 2 4 to 6 weeks. Grade 3 in about 3 months.

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  11. Let’s see, you didn’t learn from your previous years!! Play off coverage when you have corners who excell at press coverage and get killed with constant underneath passes!!! Drew Brees didn’t need help with that!! Smith made it so easy for Brees with 1-7 yard passes!!! The D-Line has no chance to get pressure!! Smith needs to go.

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    • I’m guessing you must have hated watching Dungy’s defense.

      They never played man, they rarely blitzed, and they wanted the opposing offense to execute flawlessly and patiently by driving 12-13 plays to get to the red zone. Most often that resulted in stops or turnovers. No one was going to confuse the 2001 Baltimore Ravens with the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers because the scheme and personnel were vastly different.

      Smith’s excellent defense in Jacksonville led him to a head coaching opportunity with Atlanta. That defense was closer to the Ravens defense than the Bucs. He is trying to build that here, but he is stuck trying to turnover the players to fit his scheme. Most were drafted for Lovie’s scheme.

      It takes time.

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      • He has a pass rush and also blitzed some. No comparsion at all

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        • Nonsense Horse. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

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      • Great, so we only need 4-5 Hall of Famers to pull off his D……

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      • Dungy had a much better D Line and could get pressure with his front four!! Cover 2 the corners press!!! Know Football before you say things you don’t really know. Then you say Kiffen didn’t blitz? How did Barber get all his sacks? Know what your talking about.

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        • Barber had 28 sacks in 16 years. He was a blitzing machine. Lol.

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  12. Buc Wild if Smitty was waiting for players to meet his Jax Defense he would never have let Stevie T get cut. He had two players the size of Stevie T in the middle in Jax to stop the run. He would have put Stevie T and Vea inside on his defense while Vea was well and moved McCoy to DE and PFF as DE on the other side. Yes the Bucs used Tampa Two with our best DC ever (20 times better than Smitty) and they did use the blitz to keep the other QB out of rhythem but that defense bombed here in Lovie’s hands and it resulted in the worse defense in the NFL last year!!!

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    • Stevie T was a 7th round draft pick who couldn’t stay healthy. Can’t make the club from the tub. He doesn’t compare to any player on the team Smitty fielded in Jax.

      Coach Smith had Marcus Stroud, Big John Henderson, Hugh Douglas, and Tony Brackens on the line with Fernando Bryant and Rashean Mathis at corner in a physical blitzing scheme that was learned while he was a Ravens assistant.

      As far as the Tampa Two goes, what was the Bucs defense ranked when Lovie ran it?
      In 2014 it was ranked 25th overall. In 2015 it was ranked 26th overall.

      Also, The Bucs were ranked 22nd in total defense last year. Houston was dead last. Here is the list. Facts are a bitch.

      https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2017/opp.htm

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  13. I am no Mike Smith apologist but we were up 48-24 with 12:45 to go in the fourth quarter. Now giving up 24 points is not my idea of success but it was Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara. With that said, I think going in to the “prevent” defense is where we went wrong. We should have been able to minimize the amount of scoring in the last 12mins but the prevent defense only prevents you from winning.

    Additionally, we went conservative on offense which, mentally, did not help the pysche of the Team. We had been in control of the game for three and a half quarters.

    Either way, it still does not bode well for Mike Smith but it does show that this defense CAN play/execute. There is hope!

    Go Bucs!!

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