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Bucs’ Vernon Hargreaves speaks out on being benched for not hustling

Vernon Hargreaves, Buccaneers

Vernon Hargreaves has been a bit of a disappointment in Todd Bowles’ defense and Bruce Arians wasn’t fond of his effort on Sunday. After the game, Hargreaves spoke about being benched by Arians for not hustling.

“If that’s what Coach saw, that’s what he saw,” Hargreaves said, via ESPN.com. “There’s no arguing it. I need to hustle, point-blank, end of discussion. 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.”

At the least, Hargreaves seems to be taking accountability for his lack of effort against the Arizona Cardinals. While it’s nice to see him take responsibility, the time is ticking for him to produce in Tampa Bay’s defense.

The Buccaneers drafted Hargreaves with the 11th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Florida. When they selected the playmaking corner who had 1o interceptions in college, they expected to be getting a long-term answer in their secondary.

However, the young cornerback has yet to adapt his game in the NFL. In the two seasons before 2019, Hargreaves combined for only eight starts for the Buccaneers and totaled 49 tackles, six deflections, and zero interceptions.

This season, the fourth-year cornerback has been picked on by opposing quarterbacks in coverage. While having one interception and four deflections, Hargreaves has allowed 41 receptions (eighth-most among cornerbacks) on 56 targets.

Hargreaves is in the second-to-last year on his rookie contract after Tampa Bay chose to exercise his fifth-year option for 2020. At this moment, Arians may be regretting that decision.