TAMPA — Bucs running back Doug Martin doesn’t have a concussion. The training staff knew right away last Friday in New England. They didn’t hold up fingers for him to count. Instead, it went this way:
“Doug, how many Revises do you see on the field?”
“You’re good to go.”
That is totally made up. But so, too, is any statement, made as if it is fact, that Darrelle Revis will definitely be in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive backfield in Week 1 against his old team, the Jets.
No one knows. That includes Revis, Greg Schiano and, yes, Bucs GM Mark Dominik, despite Dominik telling ESPN last week that Revis might play this Saturday at the Dolphins.
Back to Revis, here and now.
His knee didn’t swell after practice Monday, only his smile.
“I think this is a huge step today,” Revis said.
He was out there in 11-on-11 team drills, for the first time, in the huddle with his teammates.
“Just getting out there and just running,” Revis said. “I’m getting the calls ... up-tempo type of stuff I was in there doing. It was a huge day for just being out there, moving around, and not even having any problems, no soreness at the end of practice, no swelling, so it’s a huge step forward.”
So, the Jets or not the Jets?
“I’m confident,” Revis said. “It’s day to day, but I’m confident.”
I don’t expect to see Revis play in the preseason.
It’s not about exhibitions.
It’s about Week 1 — and the practices that lead up to it.
Any setback and it’s curtains for Week 1.
“We’re not trying to hide any secrets here,” Revis said. “It’s either I’m ready or I’m not ready. I think everybody has a good grasp of that.”
Revis’ steps Monday caught some eyes, including those of Dashon Goldson, who with Revis is expected to teach the Bucs’ secondary the secret of fire. Goldson said he saw real flashes.
“He looked better than we thought he’d be,” Goldson said. “He showed some good things out there. ... He read the quarterback pretty good and broke on the ball. It was surprising to see.”
What’s not surprising is Revis’ easy confidence. It’s the kind you find in his kind of star package.
Understand, he couldn’t start if the NFL season started Sunday.
“I don’t think he would want to play right now,” Schiano said. “He hasn’t done enough. That’s why those (11-on-11) drills are crucial.”
It’s the practices, stupid.
But Revis’ confidence could power a city, or a team. Someone brought up the idea of playing this weekend at Miami, in the very stadium where he tore his ACL 10 months ago.
“I never thought about that. It’s a great question,” Revis said with a laugh. “It’s a nightmare you brought up. You know what, if that’s the case that’s the case.”
I don’t think this guy has nightmares.
It’s easy to question how someone could go into a season without any preseason games.
Only Revis has done it. In 2010 with the Jets, in a holdout, he missed all the preseason games.
Of course, he strained a hamstring early in that regular season. Also he wasn’t coming off knee surgery ...
“I think the biggest thing is practice, just getting your reps, getting your legs under you,” Revis said. “... The game is the game. And I have a lot of experience in that area. I’ve played in a lot of games.”
But without much contact leading in?
“Oh, yeah. Like I said, I’m a confident player, I’m an aggressive player,” Revis said.
Is being there Opening Week everything? I mean, logically, why is the guy here if he can’t start the season? And wouldn’t a weaponless Jets offense be a great warm-up for Revis, ease on in, buffer-wise, before Drew Brees and the Saints, Tom Brady and the Patriots and balls flying everywhere? Sounds logical.
But who says logic applies with Revis? He’s the best at what he does. You don’t get there by being scared. He might be fine with beginning against Brees and Brady, the challenge, bring it on.