Darrelle Revis doesn't yet know if he will play any snaps during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' four-game preseason, but he does know why it has become a hot topic in recent days. The imminent sense of his return to the field is stimulating for anyone who belongs to or roots for the Buccaneers organization.
"I'm going to still say it's too soon to make that prediction],” said Revis. “I’m getting excited, as well. I know [General Manager] Mark [Dominik] is and Coach [Greg] Schiano is as well, but it’s a process. It’s day-to-day. [I did seven-on-seven yesterday, and it's just taken precautions but also just improving and trying to get back out there and be with my teammates."
Revis's latest step forward on the practice field on Monday, right before the team took off to the Boston area for a week of joint work with the New England Patriots, was followed by Dominik's suggestion that the Bucs could consider giving the veteran cornerback a preseason tune-up. This isn't a completely new idea, but it does turn a more narrow focus into a dual set of targets. The Bucs' overarching plan is to do what is necessary to maximize the chance that Revis will be on the field for the regular-season opener on September 8. That's one target; now the other is August 24, when the Buccaneers will play their third preseason game at Miami and where Revis could conceivably get his tune-up.
"That's been the same conversation all along, and I don't know if he's going to get any reps in the preseason," said Schiano. "The reality is, he's a veteran guy who knows what he can do. He's coming off a knee injury; he's never had that. So if we're going to err at all, we're going to err on the side of caution. He's doing more and more, but you don't want to put the cart before the horse on that thing. Let's just [take it] step by step. Like I've said, he doesn't need to play in the preseason to play the opening game, at least in my opinion."
Revis, too, remains committed to that process.
"It's all predicated on my status every day, just going out here doing one-on-ones off to the side, just getting that pop back in my left leg and driving back to the ball on routes," he said. "I think that's the key and that's where we've been seeing the improvement."
For about a week, Revis has been taking part in a drill with three other players, as quarterback Adam Weber has been throwing passes to young receivers Terriun Crump and Chris Denton on a far field. Revis has not only looked strong – and at times, masterful – in those drills, but he has suffered no setbacks from the expanded work. Monday's work in the seven-on-seven passing drill at One Buc Place also went off without a hitch and he was no worse for the wear when the Bucs took the field in Foxboro to work out in tandem with the Patriots. As planned, Revis did not take part in the one-on-ones against the New England receivers, but he felt fine.
More importantly, Revis thinks he's on track to pick up right where he left off last year, as the player widely acknowledged to be the best cornerback in the NFL.
"Yeah, I think I'll be fine," he said. "I think at the end of the day, you've got to go through the ACL process and the waiting and, 'Hey, let's do this; let's do these drills; let's do these exercises; let's be patient; let's not get on the field yet; let's get on the field.' I'll be fine. Trust me, I'll be fine. I'm working, I'm back to my old self, I'm getting there and it's just the confidence, trying to get that knee drive and breaking on balls."