As OTAs finished, coach Smith and the rest of the Buccaneers’ staff have had their hands full as they look to make sense of the 90 player roster that they have been working with. With that many people in the building, on the field, and working with coaches, you get a chance to see how some players do in other positions.
The opportunity is a dream come true for many players, Jameis and Gerald McCoy also touched on that during their press conference’s following the limited organized team activities. Jameis and Gerald both said that the opportunity is here for anyone, you just have to make the most of it. A defensive back from near Lakeland, is getting the opportunity to play alongside top tier talent, such as proven NFL talent like Brent Grimes or former SEC studs like Carlton Davis. With such a variety and superstars that can really come from anywhere, many players need to realize the opportunity they have been presented.
With all the new blood, drafted rookies, undrafted rookies, and free agents all back to prove their skill set, many existing players will also have to prove their development and show that they have worked on their shortcomings. Coach Koetter mentioned that each player was given feedback during exit meetings last year, and that he hopes many of the players chose to work on them.
You can bet Vernon Hargreaves was one of them. The coaches haven’t come close to naming starters or anything like that, especially with this many people still here competing, but it has been said there will be an open competition regardless of draft status, age or salary. The coaches want the best 11 on the field every play and if an undrafted player proves his abilities are more substantial than a player drafted, than that drafted player may not even make the roster.
Don’t get me wrong, Vernon isn’t going anywhere. However Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart have arrived, and with as many people moving around in the secondary as they have, it is put up or shut up time for Vernon. Their may not be that definite replacement waiting to push him out, but if I were him, I would be paying a lot of attention to what was asked of me to work on during the offseason. The front office did not draft 2 rookies in the second round to be backups. This is what he needs to realize, and I am sure he does. Personally, I think Vernon ends up having a much better year once they find the spot where he fits best. Getting to that point, hopefully comes sooner rather than later, but after last season, any change, especially with a sense of urgency could go a long in way helping this team.