TAMPA — Rookie CB Vernon Hargreaves made a splash with two interceptions in Saturday's preseason win against the Jaguars, then in Tuesday's joint practice with the Browns, the Bucs' first-round pick intercepted Robert Griffin III twice in 7-on-7 work.
Hargreaves has started working with the first-team defense, both at outside cornerback and inside at nickel, and LB Lavonte David said his recent surge went hand-in-hand with the former Wharton High and Gators star simply building self-confidence.
"His confidence skyrocketed since Day 1. Skyrocketed," David said. "All you need, for a rookie, all you need to do is just make some plays, make plays here and there, and your confidence boosts and your game takes over. That's what's been going on. You can tell he's carrying himself different now, has a little swagger to him.
"He's making plays and that's the reason we got him. He's doing what he's supposed to do."
GETTING CLOSE: The Bucs' fourth and fifth receiver jobs remain largely up for grabs with two preseason games remaining, but Donteea Dye, holding down the kickoff return job and making plays on offense, is making a case to stick around through final cuts.
"He's battling. You can see not only his work at wide receiver, but he's doing good things on special teams," coach Dirk Koetter said Wednesday. "When you're talking about your fourth and fifth wideouts, they have to play on special teams as well. He's making a good case."
In Wednesday's practice, Dye stood out during two-minute work as part of the No. 2 offense. Mike Glennon connected with Dye on four straight passes, taking the offense inside the 10, though the drive stalled there due to a rash of penalties.
THIS AND THAT: The team wrapped up its second day of joint practices with the Browns, and Koetter said he felt the offense improved after having "no juice" in Tuesday's drills. … There was no kicking period, so rookie K Roberto Aguayo, who missed three kicks in Tuesday's practice, only handled kickoffs during a special teams period. … WR Evan Spencer remains out with a knee injury, and LB Daryl Smith has now been sidelined a full week with an undisclosed injury. Neither is likely to play in Friday's preseason game against the Browns. Rookie LB Devante Bond left practice with a hamstring injury and returned as a spectator for the rest of drills.