Bruce Arians was hired by the Bucs in hopes that he would remove the losing culture that has haunted the franchise over the past decade and replace it with the winning ways of the mid-90s to early 2000s.
The wins haven’t arrived just yet, but Arians made it clear on Tuesday that he isn’t playing around when it comes to effort on the field.
As you know, the Bucs released Vernon Hargreaves III on Tuesday. The four-year vet never got it going due to injuries and ineffective play, but he was caught loafing during a 55-yard catch-and-run in the Cardinals game.
We all know the NFL is a business, but it can be extremely hard for coaches and/or a franchise to let certain players go.
That certainly wasn’t the case with Hargreaves.
Arians was asked on Wednesday if it was a tough call to release the former Gator and he was anything but vague.
Well, there ya go.
He went on Sirius XM NFL Radio later that day and added to the previous statement.
“I love Vernon, he’s a great kid, but there’s just too many times on film [where] his effort isn’t good enough.” - Arians via Sirius XM Radio.
It’s a drastic turn of events from earlier in the year. The Bucs decided to pick up Hargreaves’ fifth-year option back in April, which showed that the franchise thought he could get the job done.
But through nine games, it was clear that wasn’t going to be the case.
“You hold out hope for a long time, but a player controls two things,” Arians continued on Sirius XM. “He controls his effort and his attitude. If those things don’t match up to what you want as a team, then it’s time to move on.”
The Bucs are currently 3-6 with a bevy of problems. Most of them can’t be corrected in 2019, but like Arians said, players can control - and fix - their effort. That’s on them. If they aren’t doing that, then it’s clear they shouldn’t be on the team.
It’s a refreshing development considering what we’ve seen over the past few years. Just bring up the names Chris Baker, Brent Grimes, and DeSean Jackson in Tampa Bay and I guarantee you the word “slacker” is one of the first words that come to mind.
Under Dirk Koetter, those three were basically allowed do to whatever they wanted to and it showed in terms of adding losses to the record. What made things worse is that these guys were still gifted their starting jobs and were treated just like any other player that was actually busting their ass on the field.
Baker and Jackson took plays off. Grimes literally didn’t do shit from time to time and just looked like he didn’t want to be there.
It was all tolerated. It was all elevated.
But not anymore.
According to Arians, this move was a message to the rest of the team that you will be held accountable under this staff and if you don’t hustle - then you’re gone.
“Yeah, I don’t really want to get into it, but it’s a decision Jason [Licht] and I made,” Arians told reporters when asked if he hopes the move sends a message about accountability.
Message received, Bruce.
But let’s hope this doesn’t have to happen again in 2019.