With Drew Brees and the high octane Saints offense coming to town, Buccaneers rookie Vernon Hargreaves will be put to the test – and the Bucs need him to step up in a big way.
Buccaneers fans are all too familiar with Drew Brees, Sean Payton, and the New Orleans Saints’ offense. With the way the Bucs’ defense has been playing, they may be up to the task. However, they will need big plays out of the secondary – especially rookie Vernon Hargreaves.
Drew Brees is the kind of quarterback that feasts on rookies, finding their weaknesses and exposing them. Hargreaves has played extremely well, but had his struggles against Oakland and Atlanta, showing he’s still vulnerable to rookie mistakes.
Hargreaves has also made some key stops – one of which was returned by Lavonte David for a touchdown against the Chargers last week. He’s shutting down receivers and causing quarterbacks to look for other options away from him. For a rookie, his play and formation recognition is outstanding and it’s leading to big plays.
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Hargreaves is still in search of that ever elusive first turnover which could potentially prove to be a major game changer in this one. The Buccaneers are riding high on a four game win streak and a lot of that is due, in part, to and impressive defensive improvement. They’ve allowed a mere seven points in the fourth quarter over the last four games combined.
The pass rush has played a big role in that, but so has the play of the secondary. Each week, it seems as if a new member of the secondary steps up. Whether that’s Chris Conte, Keith Tandy, Alterraun Verner, or Bradley McDougald, all the corners and safeties have made game changing plays and today it will be on the rookie to be the next name on that list.
Vernon Hargreaves has shown he was worth that first round pick and against the Saints, he should be able to take the next step in his professional football evolution. Brees throws the ball a lot, allowing for the defense to make plays. All eyes are on Hargreaves today for that first career pick.