Watch: Mark Barron on working with Dashon Goldson
On Wednesday, Darrelle Revis took part in a drill that required him to cover receivers as they ran through a route tree, a scheduled step up in the veteran cornerback's deliberate return from last September's season-ending knee injury. He had no difficulty with the drill, but Head Coach Greg Schiano cautioned that an important part of the evaluation process would be seeing how Revis felt on Thursday morning. If new movements led to stiffness the following day, Revis might need to slow down.
Thus, it has to be seen as yet another positive sign that Revis not only practiced again on Thursday but also took part in that same drill. Now the team will see how their prized trade acquisition from the Jets feels after two straight days of such work. Though Revis has a scheduled day off coming up soon, he might be ready to take another step forward.
"He did the passing tree again today and we'll see how he feels tomorrow, stacking two days in a row," said Schiano. "It's clear, logical steps. You do all of your footwork drills on air, meanwhile you're getting the mental part of the walk-throughs. Then, you step it up another notch and go against a receiver, without a ball, without an end result which could make you do something [unexpected]. As soon as he does this for a little bit, then you step him up against a receiver, with a quarterback and a result. Then you get him into teamwork, and then you get him into 'thud' teamwork where he's hitting somebody."
Those last few steps will be very important, though the Buccaneers remain as optimistic about them as they have for the rest of Revis's recovery.
"That's the thing, when you press and you torque, your hands are on a guy, and your legs are twisting, that's different than running footwork drills, or just covering a guy on air, shadowing the guy," said Schiano. "I think there's steps and we've just got to keep taking those steps. That's why when people say 'Will he play in the preseason, [or] won't he?' How do you know? Because any one of these thresholds, could – I'm hoping not, and we don't expect it to – but could push back on you, and then you've just got to slow down. We're not going to rush it."
Schiano also shared relatively good news on defensive end Adrian Clayborn on Thursday. Clayborn missed about half of Wednesday's practice after suffering a groin injury, but Schiano said that the injury does not appear as serious as he had originally feared. Clayborn's recovery will likely be measured in days, not weeks. However, tight end Luke Stocker is not progressing as quickly as the team had initially hoped from the calf injury he suffered at the start of camp. Schiano described calf injuries as particularly difficult to pinpoint a recovery time.
As for practice itself, it was highlighted, perhaps, by a pair of two-minute drills in the final period, both of which appeared to be successes for the offense. Quarterback Josh Freeman led the first drive, which got into range for a potential game-tying field goal, and rookie Mike Glennon led the second drive, which found the end zone.
Schiano schedules most of his practices with two-minute work at the end, knowing how critical that situation is during the regular season, and how many different scenarios can present themselves in crunch time.
"If you don't do them you don't get to live through them, and you live through them in the game for the first time," he said. "Even doing all of them that we do, we'll live through some on Sundays that haven't come up out here on the practice field, but we're going to keep doing it. You look at it – and I never want to exaggerate – but it's just about half the games come down to either stopping a two-minute drill or running a two-minute drill to win. We make sure we're prepared."
And they do it at the very end of practice for a very logical reason.
"We do it at the end on purpose because that's when it's going to happen in the game, when you're exhausted, tired," Schiano elaborated. "[We find out] who can fight through the mental part of it and the physical part of it and go out and perform."
Schiano and several Buccaneer players spoke after practice on Thursday as the team began a second week of training camp work. They touched on such topics as rookie cornerback Rashaan Melvin's level of play, the developing roles of safeties Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson and the upcoming opportunity to face a different team.
Head Coach Greg Schiano
On if he is anxious to see how all of the new faces on defense mesh as a unit:
"Yes, but I'm not sure we'll see that until opening day with everybody. We may or we may not, so I may have to wait a little bit, but the glimpses I get, I like the way it's coming together chemistry-wise as well as [in our] execution."
On if DT Akeem Spence might provide more of a pass rush than former Bucs DT Roy Miller:
"I don't want to compare him to Roy Miller, because Roy's not with us, but I do want to compare him to the evaluation I gave him out of college. He definitely is a better rusher than I thought he was off the tape, so that's good. He's not seasoned by any means. He's got to really work to get the technique down, but he's got some first-step quickness that I didn't see on his college tape."
On his evaluation of cornerback Rashaan Melvin:
"He's a good player. He's got physical tools, he works very hard at his preparation mentally, he's got a good temperament, and I think he's got a good chance to become a good player. Now, that's a lot of pressure on an undrafted rookie, but every day he goes out there and practices, [and] does a good job, if he can start stacking those on top of him, he's got a chance."
On if safety Mark Barron hit a rookie wall last season:
"I think he did. Yeah, I think you can see where he hit it a little bit. I think he came busting through it. I do. I think he made some plays at the beginning of the year and he made some plays at the end of the year. The Atlanta game-winning play was a big play for us and for him. I think he kind of took that and ran with it. He's a guy that's not a rookie anymore. You can see, just the way he carries himself, the way he prepares, practices. He and Dashon [Goldson] are going to be a good one-two punch back there."
S Mark Barron
On safety Dashon Goldson's adaptation to the Tampa defense:
"Everything is going good so far, I'm learning a new position and he's learning a whole new defense, so everything's going good. He's picking up on everything quick and he's a great leader, so he's adapting very well.'
On how motivated he is for the secondary to be better than last year:
"Yeah, most definitely. That's our main goal when we come out here every day is to get better. Last year that's not what we wanted, that's not what we wanted from ourselves, so every day we come out here we're working to get better."
On impressions from the secondary through this much of training camp:
"We've got a lot of guys making plays, especially those young guys. We've got [cornerback Rashaan] Melvin and [cornerback Johnthan] Banks that have been stepping up the last few practices and we've just got guys all over the field making plays, so it's looking good and we're expecting a lot from ourselves."
On how he feels being one of the team's top jersey sales:
"Everybody likes to see fans wearing their jersey, so I'm happy about that, but at the same time it's not one of my main focuses."
On if he embraces coming down in the box more with this defensive scheme:
"Yeah, most definitely. We've been doing a lot of things where I've been down [in the box], so hopefully that will work out well for us. I have done a lot of that. I would say I'm comfortable everywhere, but I have done a lot of that, I have a lot of experience with that, so I'm yeah, I'm comfortable with that situation. I like every part of the game. I just like making plays regardless if I'm in center field or in the box."
S Dashon Goldson
On the challenges of developing chemistry with Darrelle Revis as a pair of leaders when Revis comes back full-time:
"We do play two different positions, so I'm sure he has a lot more insights at the corner position than I do, but at the same time we've played some big games and I think we've done well [enough] in this league for us to be vocal and help the younger guys out."
On if he's ready to hit somebody else in another jersey after a week of training camp:
"Definitely. Right now we're just trying to tune up our game and we've still got a lot of work to do. Coach is doing a lot of edits on both sides of the ball, all phases actually. So, we're just trying to get that down. It's more of a mental thing around here in this league, especially with this team."