TAMPA — A confused and disgruntled Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan base has wondered for weeks now why $16-million cornerback Darrelle Revis has played so much zone coverage.
The reason, according to Revis, is he wasn’t healthy enough or in good enough shape to play press man coverage.
Revis said Friday he has lacked the explosion he needs from his surgically repaired left knee and the stamina necessary to play man schemes, forcing a change in his personal game plan.
“It’s a process,’’ Revis said of his recovery from a torn ACL, “and I’m not all the way there yet. And when you’re not all the way there, you’ve got to change your game up and that’s what I had to do.’’
Revis was concerned opponents would realize he didn’t have the power to play press coverage and adjust by running deep speed routes, which he lacked the stamina to defend properly.
“You need that buildup (of stamina and strength), and I wasn’t getting that,’’ Revis said. “I wasn’t even feeling comfortable running from press coverage to (defend a) go (route). It’s just something that’s going to take some time.’’
Revis and team trainer Todd Toriscelli focused the past two weeks on rebuilding the explosion Revis needs in his legs, and he is starting to feel the results.
“I’m finally starting to get back to being myself,’’ he said. “The last game (against Carolina), I pressed (WR) Steve Smith every chance I got. So, I’m getting there. I just have to keep on strengthening my leg and getting it stronger.’’
Bucs coach Greg Schiano noticed the difference in Revis’ play in recent weeks.
“He’s had like two-and-a-half weeks of great practice and he played lights out against Steve Smith the other night,’’ Schiano said. “And Darrelle is the consummate pro.
“I have nothing but faith and belief that he knows what he can do and can’t do. And that’s why we give him a lot of latitude on technique, on how he wants to do it, because he knows better than anybody.’’