The Super Bowl is coming up, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on the outside looking in, once again. As they have been for every year of their existence, bar one: the 2002 season, which culminated in a dominant beating down of the Oakland Raiders. Jon Gruden was on the sidelines for the Bucs, and is now coaching the other team again, for added nostalgia.
The Bucs’ best Super Bowl moment to me, is Derrick Brooks’ pick six in Super Bowl XXXVII. It’s been shown so many times, but Gene Deckerhoff’s shouts never cease to thrill me. “There it is! The dagger’s in! We’re gonna win the Super Bowl!” Can’t beat that for a Bucs Super Bowl memory.
The play itself was perfect for that Bucs defense, too. The team was trying to close out a game, and dropping into soft zone defenses. And while Rich Gannon tried to find the hole over the middle, Brooks jumped in from nowhere and grabbed the ball out of the air. Fooled the quarterback, like he did so many times.
Of course, that’s not quite the most memorable play in Bucs history—that’d be the one that got them to the big game: Ronde Barber’s pick six in the NFC Championship, against the Philadelphia Eagles, in the final game in the old Veterans Stadium before it was demolished. That play is legendary. Brooks’ pick six is merely awesome.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t gotten much production or explosive plays out of cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, who was drafted by them with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
During Monday’s press conference, coach Koetter said he was incredibly worried about Hargreaves’ game and overall lack of production.
“Extremely, extremely, I’m concerned with everybody’s play after the way we played the first half Sunday,” Koetter said. “Vern is not in a very good streak of games right now. We asked Vern to be more aggressive this year and to be more aggressive with his coverage and he started out doing that. He started out doing that in OTAs and training camp, but he has not played his best football these last three games.”
Koetter then weighed in on what could be the problem surrounding Hargreaves’ issues.
“I don’t think it’s a confidence thing, but I’m not 100 percent sure on that,” Koetter emphasized. “We all have to play better and I have to coach better, so I’m not trying to make this a Vernon Hargreaves bashing session.”
So far this season, Hargreaves hasn’t made a very big impact. In 21 career games, he has recorded just 11 passes and one interception. The subpar play from the former Gators standout is because Hargreaves tends to consistently give opposing receivers ample cushion, resulting in blown coverages and an inability for Hargreaves to contain and be the aggressive ball-hawking cornerback the Bucs need him to be.