Since they have a new head coach in 2019, the Buccaneers were able to start their offseason workout program earlier than teams with returning coaches. The team got back together for voluntary strength and conditioning on Monday as part of the offseason program’s “Phase I.”
With select players available to the media in the afternoon, there was no shortage of news to help everyone through yet another day of the long, monotonous offseason. Here, we have some of the most noteworthy things to come out of the AdventHealth Training Center on Monday.
Amid rumors about his future, Gerald McCoy is a no-show for the first day of workouts
By far the biggest news of Monday was the fact that longtime leader of the locker room Gerald McCoy was absent from the facility. Of course, the workouts are voluntary at this stage in the offseason, so McCoy wasn’t obligated to be there. However, with rumors constantly swirling about his future in Tampa Bay, a no-show is definitely notable.
#Bucs DT Gerald McCoy did not attend the first day of off-season workouts with the team under Bruce Arians.— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) April 1, 2019
McCoy is still on the roster, but his $13 million cap hit has made him a major topic of conversation this offseason. Rumors of a potential trade or a flat-out release have been rampant, and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down. Jason Licht and Bruce Arians have both been non-committal when asked about McCoy, and this latest development is going to further the speculation. Again, there was no requirement to be in attendance, but Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times noted on Twitter that the veteran normally attended these workouts in the past. We’ll see where everything goes from here.
Vernon Hargreaves III says he is healthy and ready to go for 2019
In week one of the 2018 season, Vernon Hargreaves III was having himself a pretty big day. However, his day — and eventually his season — was cut short by an injury. He missed all of the 2018 season, but he is set to return in 2019. On Monday afternoon, he met with the media and said he is at 100% after a successful shoulder surgery in September.
CB Vernon Hargreaves, who missed all but one game last year due to a shoulder injury, says he is back to 100% health. Surgery and rehab went great with no setbacks.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) April 1, 2019
A healthy Hargreaves should be key for Tampa Bay this year, especially with a scheme change on defense. Just last week, Arians said that he was good with Hargreaves and Carlton Davis as his outside corners, which went against speculation and opinion that the former would be better-suited for the nickel corner position. The 2016 first-round pick went on to talk about the confidence that Arians’ praise gave him and his excitement about playing under the new coaching staff. Interestingly enough, he also noted that he thinks he will be a better fit for this new defense under Todd Bowles.
Vernon Hargreaves said that he's a press corner, not an off corner, and said that it was tough to adjust to Mike Smith's defense.— PewterReport (@PewterReport) April 1, 2019
Mike Evans addresses idea of playing defensive back
The topic of Mike Evans playing both offense and defense is one of the odder stories of this offseason, and the fact that it has persisted this long is equal parts strange and intriguing. The whole thing started with the Pro Bowl, when Evans came in on defense and ended up intercepting a pass. The Bucs themselves brought it back up Monday as an April Fool’s joke, tweeting that Evans really would be playing two positions this season.
"What better way to make a mark in this league than by playing both ways?"— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) April 1, 2019
Wide receiver Mike Evans has made the decision to also play defensive back in 2019.
Jokes aside, Evans addressed the idea on Monday, saying that if the team wanted him to play defensive back in a situational role, he’d do it. He mentioned that he’d need to get some practice in, but that he is confident he could be an effective corner.
Now, this doesn’t seem like something that will actually happen any time soon. Could it? Sure. But Evans is one of the most valuable guys on the roster today, so overworking him or putting him at higher risk of injury wouldn’t be the best idea. There’s no doubt that it would be fun, though.
Jersey numbers for new additions released
The Bucs released jersey numbers of their new signings on Monday, with a couple of newcomers picking numbers of departing players.
New jersey numbers for Bucs’ latest additions:— Greg Auman (@gregauman) April 1, 2019
LB Deone Bucannon 23
WR Breshad Perriman 19
LB Shaq Barrett 58
S Kentrell Brice 24
G Earl Watford 71
P Bradley Pinion 8
Other jersey numbers for Bucs’ offseason additions:— Greg Auman (@gregauman) April 1, 2019
QB Blaine Gabbert 11
RB Andre Ellington 32
LS Zach Triner 45
LB Corey Nelson 52
LB Emmanuel Smith 43
K Phillip Andersen 7
QB Joe Callahan 6
P Hayden Hunt 1
DL Farrington Huguenin 95
Deone Bucannon will wear No. 23, which most recently belonged to Chris Conte. Shaquil Barrett will wear No. 58, which was Kwon Alexander’s number. Kentrell Brice will have Brent Grimes’ No. 24, Blaine Gabbert gets DeSean Jackson’s No. 11, Phillip Andersen will take Chandler Catanzaro’s No. 7 and Andre Ellington will have Jacquizz Rodgers’ No. 32.
Offseason workout dates announced
The full schedule of offseason workouts was released for every NFL team Monday, so the Bucs now have their exact dates nailed down for the rest of the spring. They will run their voluntary minicamp from April 23-25. The last day of the camp will coincide with the first day of the 2019 NFL Draft. The team will have its OTAs from May 14-16, May 21-23 and May 28-31. Mandatory minicamp will be held June 4-6.