NFL Team Report - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - INSIDE SLANT
Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis was on the radar of Tampa Bay Bucs general manager Mark Dominik the day the Jets cornerback suffered a torn ACL last September.
The somewhat surprising revelation was made during a report by Andrea Kremer for the NFL Network.
"Quite frankly, it started when he blew out his knee," Dominik said of his thought process. "I actually went into (personnel director) Dennis Hickey's office and I said, 'That could be a reason why he leaves the Jets.' Because I knew what his contract situation was. So, when he hurt his knee, I thought, 'That's going to be an out possibility."
The Bucs began trade talks with Revis, who was scheduled to become a free agent after the 2013 season, at the league meetings in March. A good bounce for Dominik was the Jets' hiring of John Idzik as their general manager. Idzik worked a few feet away from Dominik for six years in the Bucs' front office.
Tampa Bay eventually traded the 13th overall pick in 2013 and a conditional third-round selection in 2014 for Revis.
Apparently, Dominik never shared the impulse with Revis. When informed of how early the Bucs started thinking about acquiring him, Revis said, "That's just mind-boggling."
Meanwhile, Revis has resumed his recovery under the direction of the Bucs medical staff.
He did some light running and cone drills on a side field during the Bucs OTAs this week with trainer Todd Toriscelli.
Revis obviously still has a long way to go. The Bucs aren't backing off their projection that Revis will be ready for training camp and play in the preseason. Then again, his contract is not guaranteed, so they're hedging their bets.
--Bucs coach Greg Schiano spent the first day of OTAs trying to dial down the rhetoric surrounding starting quarterback Josh Freeman.
Over the weekend, Schiano told the National Football Post that rookie Mike Glennon "can an play quickly" if the Buccaneers need him.
"But our situation will be only if he's needed," Schiano said. "Or if he wins the job. Look, I'm not against that."
Following the Bucs' first full-squad workout with coaches, Schiano insisted for at least the third time this offseason that he remains committed to Freeman as the starting quarterback.
"From the day we arrived, our whole program is that it's going to be competition," Schiano said. "Now we haven't always been able to have that because you can only get so many guys on your roster. That's what we believe in. It's the most competitive sports league in the world. Look, there's someone who wants my job. I know I'm competing with an invisible ... it's somebody. I know if I don't get it done, somebody is going to come and take my job. So it is competition. I love it.
"But we have our starting quarterback. It's Josh Freeman. I'm not looking to find a new one. But I do like to have quality depth at every position and when you get that, just naturally these are the most competitive guys on the planet and it raises everybody's level."
When Schiano was still head coach of Rutgers, he attempted to recruit Glennon, who told him he wanted to play in the ACC, not the Big East. But the Bucs made Glennon the third quarterback taken in the NFL draft. Glennon was selected 73rd overall, after Geno Smith and before Matt Barkley.
The Bucs have made no real effort to sign Freeman to a contract extension, preferring that he play out his contract.
But there is a perception nationally that Freeman is not Schiano's quarterback. Glennon may be.
"I'm just trying to be honest with them when they ask the question," Schiano said. "I told you guys from the beginning, I'm going to shoot you straight. I just try to tell them the truth that I believe in competition, but also that Josh Freeman is our starting quarterback. Maybe I should just not say anything and then it wouldn't be an issue. But Josh knows how I feel and you guys know and I know Mike Glennon does, too. I told him the day I drafted him. I don't sweat it."
NFL Team Report - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - NOTES, QUOTES
--Defensive end Adrian Clayborn's second NFL season ended with a torn ACL suffered after just three games.
Clayborn spent his rehab time focusing on rehabbing his knee and adding muscle to his upper body. Coach Greg Schiano said Clayborn looks like a different person as a result and that his work "is really going to pay benefits" when he gets back on the field.
Clayborn's knee is sound enough to get clearance for all activities, but Schiano said that the team is taking it slowly with him.
"Adrian is doing well in his recovery," Schiano said. "We are going to keep him out of team periods right now, just for safety. Could he do it? Yeah, he could do it but there's no reason to right now. Maybe as we get into June, we'll give him some, when I visit with (head trainer] Todd (Toriscelli) on some on that. I like where he is and what he's doing."
--As the Buccaneers held their second workout in this week's OTAs Tuesday, they already learned a key lesson -- keep it cool.
The Bucs had their first fight in team drills Monday when rookie defensive tackle Akeem Spence got into a scuffle with center Jeremy Zuttah.
Spence tried to go full speed when OTAs are supposed to have only limited contact.
"I thought we did a much better job than we did last spring of taking care of each other, holding each other up, all that stuff," head coach Greg Schiano said. "Other than the one exception with the rookie and Zuttah, and I think that got cleared up right away.
"But it's critical we hold each other up, to move side-by-side so we can execute plays, but stay off the ground. Keep our head gear and shoulders out of it, just put our hands out and kind of work with each other so guys can execute plays. I thought our guys did an exceptional job of that. That's something we've got to continue to do all spring. That will keep us healthy."
Schiano has reason to be concerned and may want to have his players throttle it down. Otherwise, the Bucs could risk a fine or the loss of a few OTAs.
"It's very tough. It's not only do we want it for safety, but it's mandated by the rules. We can lose OTAs, you can get fined, there's a whole bunch of stuff. We're very, very clear about it. We show examples, we really try to get the guys to understand. Now, when you put 22 guys that are going against each other and something happens, you correct it."
--Cornerback Darrelle Revis watched practice with the coaches, and also worked with trainers. The first two corners with Revis not ready are Eric Wright and rookie second-round pick Johnthan Banks.
--Guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks did not participate in the OTAs Monday. Joseph is coming off a torn patellar tendon in his knee and Nicks was limited to eight games as a rookie. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn did return Monday. Clayborn suffered a torn ACL in September.
--Rookie Akeem Spence, drafted in the fourth round, got the majority of the snaps as the starting nose tackle and seems on track to win the job. Coach Greg Schiano called him possibly one of the NFL's strongest players, and Spence showed his toughness and resolve when he got into a dustup with guard Jeremy Zuttah. The two had to be separated, something that required multiple players to accomplish.
--Dekoda Watson took Monday's snaps with the first-team defense at strong-side linebacker. That's a position battle that likely will continue to shake out over the course of the spring and summer, however. Jonathan Casillas, a free-agent acquisition from the Saints, is Watson's primary competition.
--Coach Greg Schiano said his team will likely practice with the Patriots during training camp, like they did last year.
The two teams worked out together a couple days in Tampa before a preseason game last August, and it appears they may do it again in Foxborough leading up to the Aug. 16 exhibition. A few members of the Bucs staff will head to New England this next week to discuss some off-field coaching logistics. Schiano, however, said he will not be going. The teams also play against each other in Week 3 of the regular season.
"We're going to probably practice together again this training camp," Schiano said. "We'll kind of go over things we did, what we liked, what we didn't like. It's nothing major."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's May, so we need to write about something." - Bucs coach Greg Schiano on the perception that QB Josh Freeman is not his guy.
NFL Team Report - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
A closer look at the Bucs' picks:
Round 2/43 - Johnthan Banks, CB, 6-2, 185, Mississippi State
Banks is a tall, physical cover corner in the Richard Sherman mode that fits well in the Bucs' defensive scheme. He had 16 career interceptions for the Bulldogs, tying a school record and was the Jim Thorpe Award winner in 2012. Will learn a lot playing alongside Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson.
Round 3/73 - Mike Glennon, QB, 6-6, 220, North Carolina State
Glennon is a big-armed cornerback who fits nicely into the Bucs system. Sat behind Russell Wilson at North Carolina State for three seasons but ranks third in school history with 7,411 passing yards. Glennon will give the Bucs an insurance policy if starter Josh Freeman falters or is injured in 2013. Recruited by Greg Schiano to Rutgers five years ago.
Round 4/100 - Akeem Spence, DT, 6-1, 307, Illinois
Spence is an exceptionally strong player with a quick first step. Started all 38 games he played for the Illini. Bench pressed 225 pounds 37 times at the NFL combine. Had 3.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in three seasons. Will help replace Roy Miller at nose tackle after he signed with the Jaguars as a free agent.
Round 4/126 - William Gholston, DE, 6-7, 278, Michigan State
Gholston was among the best players on the No. 1 defense in the Big 10 the past two seasons. While he only produced 10 sacks in three seasons, he has an astounding 30 tackles for losses and is capable of playing either defensive end position. Had 10 passes defensed in 2012. Will be in the rotation as a third-down pass rusher.
Round 5/147 - Steven Means, DE, 6-4, 250, Buffalo
Means is a versatile player who endured two head coaches and three coordinators at Buffalo. He can play defensive end in a 4-3 or linebacker in a 3-4 package. As a senior, he had 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for a loss. Means was not invited to the NFL combine but drew scouts' attention for his athletic ability. Projects as an outside pass rusher and can block kicks on special teams.
Round 6/189 - Mike James, RB, 5-11, 222, Miami
James is a versatile runner who will back up Doug Martin after the team traded LeGarrette Blount to the Patriots Saturday. James rushed for 621 yards and six touchdowns and had 344 receiving yards and three touchdowns with 30 catches. Also played special teams and fullback.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (5)
--TE Dallas Clark proved he could stay injury free but doesn't get the separation he once did. The Bucs have an interest but believe Clark will try to reunite with Peyton Manning in Denver.
--CB Brandon McDonald was pressed into service with the suspensions of Eric Wright and Aqib Talib but eventually lost playing time to younger players. No interest in re-signing.
--WR Roscoe Parrish came over from the Bills and did a decent, if unspectacular job, returning kicks. No interest in re-signing.
--WR Sammie Stroughter is a former seventh-round pick who has been injury prone. Bucs will try to upgrade, but with no slot receiver, he may receive some interest.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED
--DT Akeem Spence (4/100): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--DE William Gholston (4/126): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--DE Steven Means (5/147): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--RB Mike James (6/189): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--LB Jacob Cutrera: Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.
--LS Andrew Economos: UFA; terms unknown.
--QB Dan Orlovsky: FA had been released by Buccaneers; $905,000/1 yr, $65,000 SB/$365,000 guaranteed.
--DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim: RFA tendered at 1.323M with third-round pick as compensation); terms unknown.
--LB Jonathan Casillas: UFA Saints; $3M/1 yr.
--TE Tom Crabtree: Not tendered as RFA by Packers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--RB Jeff Demps (trade Patriots).
--S Dashon Goldson: UFA 49ers; $41.25M/5 yrs, $22M guaranteed.
--P Chas Henry: FA; terms unknown.
--DT Derek Landri: UFA Eagles; $2.75M/2 yrs, $1.25M guaranteed.
--RB Brian Leonard: UFA Bengals; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--TE Zach Miller: FA; terms unknown.
--WR Kevin Ogletree: UFA Cowboys; terms unknown.
--CB Darrelle Revis (trade Jets).
--WR Steve Smith: UFA Rams; $715,000/1 yr.
--G Roger Allen (released).
--WR Arrelious Benn (traded).
--DE Michael Bennett: UFA Seahawks; $4.8M/1 yr.
--CB E.J. Biggers: UFA Redskins; terms unknown.
--LB Quincy Black (released/failed physical).
--RB LeGarrette Blount: Potential RFA; $1.75M/1 yr, $350,000 reporting bonus; traded Patriots.
--G/T Derek Hardman (released).
--DT Corvey Irvin (released).
--DT Roy Miller: UFA Jaguars; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--T Jeremy Trueblood: UFA Redskins; terms unknown.
--RB Danny Ware (released).
--S Ronde Barber (retired)