Bucs in Boston: Tampa Bay takes on New England in spirited practice
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Bucs coach Greg Schiano and Patriots coach Bill Belichick got exactly what they hoped for out of the first of three joint practices here in New England.
After a spirited and highly competitive practice at the Gillette Stadium practice fields, the two colleagues could feel good that their plans went as intended.
Tom Brady threw darts through the Bucs secondary. Josh Freeman rifled off passes while evading the likes of Vince Wilfork. Meanwhile, Mike Williams tangled with former Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib.
It was the sort of thing you only get on game day in the NFL, the unique arrangement between the clubs giving both teams game-like scenarios from which to improve.
“You want to go out there and win, especially when it’s against another team,” Williams said. “When you practice against each other, you go out and try to get done what you need to get done. But when you go against another team, you definitely want to win.”
Going against Brady provided an education for some young Bucs. With cornerback Darrelle Revis kept out of contact drills as he rehabs his left knee injury, the Bucs deployed rookie Johnthan Banks as their top cornerback.
He had some rough moments against Brady, but the net effect is positive, Schiano said.
“It’s real valuable,” Schiano said. “You’re talking about a first ballot Hall of Famer. To go out and play your craft against that is a good challenge. The good thing is that there isn’t a pass rush in a lot of those drills, so the ball is going to get thrown every time. You can really challenge the defensive backs, which is right up our alley right now.”
The Bucs and Patriots play on Friday night, the second preseason game for both clubs. But before that, they’ll have two more days of good work on Wednesday and Thursday.