Watch: Head Coach Greg Schiano on Darrelle Revis's progress, and more
There was another 'Darrelle Revis Development ' at Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp on Monday, and like the developments that came before, it was good news.
For the first time since training camp began, Revis took part in the seven-on-seven passing drill with the rest of the Buccaneers' defensive backs and pass-catchers. Truth be told, this was just another prescribed and scheduled step in Revis's thoroughly planned-out return from last year's knee injury, and thus shouldn't be considered major news. Still, every time the all-pro cornerback takes another step forward in his recovery, it fuels the already strong belief that he will be on the field for the Bucs' 2013 regular-season opener on September 8.
Revis will accompany the Buccaneers to Foxboro on Monday to begin a series of joint practices with the New England Patriots, but he won't repeat his seven-on-seven exposure this week. Head Coach Greg Schiano said that the team's prized 2013 trade acquisition would go back to doing his own coverage drills on a separate field on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
"That's good for him," said Schiano of Monday's extra work. "We planned on doing that just to get a little taste of it, because he feels like he can do it. We did it down there in the red [zone] area, so [there were] no 60-yard sprints or anything. So, we'll just keep building."
While Revis will be on Monday's plane flight to the Northeast, several of his teammates will not due to mostly minor injuries. A small group that includes guard Davin Joseph (knee), kicker Lawrence Tynes (toe), cornerback Danny Gorrer (groin) and wide receiver Chris Owusu (ankle) will remain at team headquarters along with a portion of the Bucs' medical personal in order to focus on rehab and strengthening exercises.
"I think it can be very productive and when we come back, we hope those guys are ready to roll with the time that they've spent, just rehabbing and conditioning," said Schiano.
Both Joseph and Carl Nicks, a pair of Pro Bowl guards the Buccaneers hope will form one of the best interior lines in the NFL this year, are returning from injuries that ended their 2012 campaigns early. Both are considered on track to play in the season opener, like Revis, but Nicks (toe) may make his 2012 debut a little earlier than Joseph. Schiano said on Monday that the current plan is to give Nicks a small dose of action on Friday night in Foxboro, assuming no set-backs in the interim.
Schiano, Joseph and Nicks discussed those issues and others after practice on Monday.
Head Coach Greg Schiano
(On the benefits of practicing with New England)
"Well, I'll tell you, this time of year, if nothing else, in the monotony of going against yourselves every day, there will instantly be a different energy. And, an opportunity to go against really good competition and not tackle to the ground. Doug Martin can run the ball against a really good defensive front but not have to be slammed into the ground. So, we get seven-eighths of real play for Doug, and that's just one example. To be able to go against that kind of speed and a different team for three days, it's all good."
(On if the team is more excited for the joint practices than for regular practice)
"Markedly. I think last year it was great in that [there was] no nonsense. Coach [Belichick] and I make it very clear to our teams, there won't be any nonsense, or you're not going to be practicing, you're going to take it in. We're here to get better. Sometimes you hear stories of teams [where] it gets out of control. That's not going to happen."
(On how much working with New England will be giving away information before their game in the regular season)
"Certainly, we'll be guarded with things, and so will they, right? We're just trying to get better, they're trying to get better. That part of it, that's the big advantage. What we do up there and what they do and what we do Friday night and what they do, they'll be some of the same things we'll do against them in the season, but there will be a lot of different things as well. Some of that may be overrated at times."
(On who will be the starting punt returner)
"I'm not sure it's cleared up yet. Eric Page is probably the leader right now. We'll see. [Branden] Smith did some good things. We know Owusu put it on the ground, but that doesn't mean it's the end of the road, either. We all have our missteps so we'll just keep working through it, see where it ends."
(On how linebacker Jonathan Casillas has looked during training camp)
"Jonathan is a good addition, he's been a good addition. Plays with a lot of energy, [a] physical guy, he can run, a run-and-hit player. [He has] been good on [special] teams, one of the reasons we signed him. He's in a competition with Dekoda [Watson] right now. It's a really heated competition. They're getting after it. Again, a tough decision there will make us a better football team. It's not like either one of them aren't going to be here."
G Davin Joseph
(On the preseason)
"Preseason's important. I don't ever take preseason lightly. I think it has its purpose, but at the same time it's preseason for a reason. Coaches have to work on what they want, what they need to, even the sideline guys, players, everybody. Whether you're a one or two, you have something to work on, so it's still in the works. But, you've got to take away the positives – the positives from a night like last Thursday – and really try to build on that."
(On the excitement of working with guard Carl Nicks)
"Oh, yeah. I'm excited, I'm anxious, but like I said, I have to stick with the plan. Some days I wake up feeling excellent, I've still got to stick with the plan. Some days I wake up I don't feel so great, I've still got to stick with the plan. But, when it starts to count and as we start to get on a roll, I believe it can be an exciting season, but we've got to put the work in. I think we're all looking forward to that. We don't want to count our chickens before they hatch, but I think we can definitely make an impact this year, especially in our division."
(On the timeframe for getting back into fully practicing)
"I think we've got to review at the end of this week and see how we're doing from there. Going off the last five days or so, there's a high chance that I'll get back to working real soon."
(On what a healthy offensive line means to the team)
"You know, it has to be something, right? I have to add something. I think I would look at consistency. I mean, from going week-in and week-out and having a very tough schedule this year, we look for consistency with our offensive line and we're really looking at a very composed group that you can count on week-in and week-out."
G Carl Nicks
(On his feelings about this team and especially the offensive line)
"We could be very special. I have high aspirations and goals for this team. Offensive line is where it's going to start at and I know when me and Davin get back out here, we are going to do a good job."
(On if his injury may limit him during games)
"No, I don't think so. I think with the rehab program I've got and the way they have me rest, work, rest, work, I think I'll be fine."
(On if the idea each week will be to just get him to game day)
"Yeah, I don't know about just get me to game day, but maybe I'll just take it easier during the week. I'll still practice but just probably not every play."
(On if the injury affects his stamina)
"Absolutely. I mean, you have to be healthy to be in shape, so that's the struggle I'm kind of dealing with now, but within time I think it will clear up, my stamina will get better and [it's] back to work."