Mike Evans, Vernon Hargreaves, Shaquil Barrett, and Bruce Arians spoke to the media on the first day of offseason workouts.
For the first time under new head coach Bruce Arians, the Buccaneers began their offseason workouts in preparation for the 2019 season.
While player access was somewhat limited, Mike Evans, Vernon Hargreaves, and newly acquired linebacker Shaquil Barrett did hold court with the media for about ten minutes or so, and the theme was the same.
“This isn’t a restart. This isn’t a rebuild,” Arians informed the team and media. “This isn’t an, ‘Alright, let’s take a year and see what we’ve got.’ This is a win now. If you don’t want to win, then you can go. There are a lot of other teams out there.”
Arian’s confidence is refreshing. After all, who would want to listen to a coach tell his team that he doesn’t think they will win more than five games with the talent that they have assembled on the team?
Mike Evans was first up on the podium, fresh off his recent workouts with Jameis Winston at Texas A&M. Evans was asked about the possibility of being a two way player after playing defensive back in the Pro Bowl.
“I can play it because I’m an athlete,” Evans deadpanned from the podium. “I don’t like just being stuck at one position at receiver. You can double team me anytime you want. If a team really wants to stop me they can double team me and I’d be stopped. But If I go defense (also), I can have a lot more impact on the game.”
Evans went on to say, “I’m taller than pretty much every receiver in the league almost so the only way to get me is maybe on the back shoulder,” Evans said. “That’s hard to defend, but everything else, if I’m pressing, I like my chances. I’ve got to get my hips right. No deep balls would be caught on me. I know that for sure.”
If you believe that Evans will be the next two-way player in the NFL, the jokes on you. After all, it was April Fools Day.
With a healthy OJ Howard back and newly acquired Breshad Perriman ready to step in for DeSean Jackson, Evans thinks the Bucs receiving unit will again be at the top of the NFL.
Vernon Hargreaves, the oft-injured defensive back, also held court with the media and said the scheme that fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith ran did not fit him well at all.
Hargreaves is excited about once again getting the opportunity to play press corner and play on the outside opposite Carlton Davis.
“I’m not an off corner. I’m a press corner. I need to get up in your face. That’s just what it is. It was a little adjustment period for me obviously. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great. But it needed to be better. But it just didn’t really fit what I do best,” Hargreaves said.
At his opening press conference back in January, Arians was very high on Hargreaves, saying, “Vernon has all the talent in the world. He works hard and is smart. Why can’t he be successful? He just has to stay healthy.”
Hargreaves is also excited about the play of Carlton Davis. Davis took his lumps in 2018 and should come back much better after having gone through that tough 2018 season.
This is a big year for Hargreaves as the Bucs will have to decide if they will pick his fifth-year option for $9 million.
Linebacker Shaq Barrett was next up and is extremely excited to play under Arians on this Bucs defense.
Barrett said he is a ”can do it all” type of defensive player and is just as good in rushing the passer, lining up to stop the run, or in pass coverage.
Barrett’s biggest strength is his power move and said he can play either the left side or the right side but he is more comfortable on the left side.
There was no surprise that Gerald McCoy did not show his face on the first day of offseason training. McCoy is in limbo right now as it relates to his spot on the roster.
He is set to be paid $13 million this year and there is still a lot of discussion at One Bucs Place as to whether they will move on with McCoy on the roster based on Arians comments at the NFL owners meetings.
Arians admitted that if McCoy is on the team that he will be the starting tackle. However, Arians also said that McCoy is not the player he was three or four years ago and at some point soon, the decision on McCoy will have to be made.
We should hear from coach Arians sometime this week, but it is unlikely he’ll talk about McCoy.
“As a coach, I coach who I got,” Arians said. “I’ll coach the guys who are there. Now guys who don’t show up? Don’t ask me about them. I’m not talking about them. Because I’m talking about the guys who show up. Hopefully, we’ll see how that goes.”