The Buccaneers currently have 89 players on their offseason roster, including RB/KR Jeff Demps, whose status hasn’t been fully clarified since the team acquired his rights from New England in a draft-weekend trade. Of the other 88 players, not one was missing when the Buccaneers gathered for the first of their 10 allotted OTA practices on Monday.
That’s impressive, of course, but not entirely unexpected. The OTAs are voluntary but usually draw most of the roster, at least in Tampa. The most recent collective bargaining agreement reduced the amount of time a team can practice during the offseason, so most players want to make use of all the field work they can get.
Of those 88 players on hand at One Buccaneer Place on Monday, 85 were in practice gear and on the field for the full 100-minute session. Starting offensive guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks spent that time with the team’s trainers as they near the final stages of their recoveries from knee and toe injuries, respectively. And Darrelle Revis, the prized cornerback for which the Buccaneers traded their first-round pick a month ago, split his practice time between mental reps on the sideline and rehab work on his knee with the medical staff.
The Bucs have expressed confidence that Revis will be on the field for opening day this September – coincidentally in New York against his former team, the Jets. To get there, they have to help him finish his recovery from last September’s injury and they have to get him comfortable in Tampa Bay’s defense. Thus, the splitting of time between observing and rehabbing during OTA practices.
“Darrelle is learning the system, he’s watching certain things and then he’s doing other things so it’s kind of a split deal there,” said Head Coach Greg Schiano. “But in all things, having him ready at the beginning of the season, that’s the main goal. He’s got to learn the schemes, learn the techniques and the verbiage.
“I think we’re in a good place, we’ve got a long way to go but I think he’d tell you he’s feeling better every day and doing more every day. Step by step, that’s how we’ll get there.”
As it turns out, NFL Network has already been following Revis’ step-by-step progress since his injury last season, with Chief Correspondent for Player Health and Safety Andrea Kremer chronicling his comeback. Kremer’s series, entitled “Project Revis” has continued following the cornerback’s move to the Buccaneers, and on Monday night the latest episode will air on the Network.
Kremer traveled to Tampa for the latest Project Revis installment and had an opportunity to speak to Revis, Schiano, General Manager Mark Dominik and Director of Sports Medicine and Performance Todd Toriscelli. The results will air Monday night on NFL Network’s Total Access Show, which begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.