Buccaneers' Vernon Hargreaves: High hopes in new scheme
Hargreaves will be playing press coverage much more often and lining up exclusively on the outside in new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles' 3-4 scheme, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. "It's everything that I do. It's kind of like taking me back to college," Hargreaves said of the new scheme, which is more aggressive than the read-and-react system favored by former defensive coordinator Mike Smith. "It's that same scheme [as the Florida Gators used] -- blitz the quarterback, man-to-man on the outside and let's get after it."
The 11th overall pick in 2016, Hargreaves has fallen short of his draft pedigree over his first three NFL seasons. A shoulder injury cost him all but one game in 2018, while a hamstring issue limited him to nine contests in 2017. A large part of the the 23-year-old's struggles might well trace back to former defensive coordinator Mike Smith's scheme, which called for Hargreaves to play an off-coverage style that was the antithesis of the physical press coverage he excelled at in college. Reverting back to an approach in which he's enjoyed success could lead to better results, a notion supported by the fact Hargreaves snagged 10 interceptions in three college seasons while consistently jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage.
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