This was supposed to be the year for Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. But it seems like the expectations for a stellar season were merely a pipe dream.
During Sunday’s 30-27 victory over the Cardinals, Hargreaves’ struggles continued as he was benched for a lack of effort on a play.
“He didn’t look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle,” said head coach Bruce Arians following the game Sunday.
The play in question may have come as the third quarter started.
As Arizona trailed 17-13, quarterback Kyler Murray found wide receiver Andy Isabella on a short crossing route which turned into a 55-yard catch and run. On the play, Hargreaves didn’t appear to have been running full speed to make the tackle on Isabella. Instead, the fourth-year corner seemed to have assumed his teammates were going to wrap up the Arizona receiver but instead was quickly turned around and tried to chase Isabella down instead.
Hargreaves briefly addressed his benching when asked after the game.
“There’s no arguing it. I need to hustle, point-blank, end of discussion,” Hargreaves told ESPN reporter Jenna Laine, which also pointed out the play in question. “And I’ll get better. I’m sure I’ll talk with him this week and we’ll get things straightened out, and we’ll see where to go from here.”
This isn’t the first time Hargreaves has been in Arians’ doghouse. Back in May, Hargreaves watched practice from the sidelines. And when the head coach was asked why his starting corner was on the sidelines, Arians quickly told reporters to go ask Hargreaves why.
The former University of Florida product would downplay the situation saying it was ultimately his decision to not participate.
Arians’ accountability sheet will undoubtedly include Hargreaves on it this week. After a pick-six in Week 1 and then making a goal line stop in Week 2, Hargreaves has not been the same since. And Sunday’s game doesn’t help.
How he finishes out the season will ultimately decide his future despite his fifth-year option being picked up.