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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Darrelle Revis' strengths a perfect fit for Bucs defense

Cornerback Darrelle Revis is widely considered the NFL's best cover man.


Cornerback Darrelle Revis is widely considered the NFL's best cover man.



For years, the Bucs were known for their traditional zone-heavy defense, based mostly on the Tampa 2 style implemented by former coach Tony Dungy and his coordinator, Monte Kiffin.

But with the arrival of coach Greg Schiano in 2012 came a dramatic shift in Tampa Bay’s defensive approach. Schiano’s defense calls for significantly more blitzing than the Bucs have employed (Kiffin rarely called blitzes, while Raheem Morris used them sparingly).

And, as a result, Schiano’s defense calls for cornerbacks to be pushed to their limits, utilizing extensive press techniques and single coverage that leaves them in one-on-one matchups, often with just one deep safety.

This is hard to do when your cornerbacks are late-round draft picks and college free agents, as was the case late last season.

Enter Darrelle Revis.

The acquisition of the NFL’s best cover man, one who thrives in the style of defense the Bucs want to play, makes Schiano’s defense much more functional. Schiano knows the kind of stress he puts on his cornerbacks. That’s why, for the Bucs, getting Revis arguably is more meaningful than it might be for some other teams.

“It’s extremely valuable,” Schiano said. “(Revis is) a corner that likes to play that stuff, too. I’ve had a history of coaching against him way back in college and being able to watch, and I know that he can do everything that we ask our corners to do and more. So, I’m very excited.”

This was a significant part of the calculation when the Bucs considered making this deal. While Revis is a player who would shine in any defensive system, the style the Bucs play will maximize his talents. They’ll clearly get their money’s worth if Revis’ knee is healthy, as the Bucs predict, and his abilities will make some of the gambles Schiano and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan take less risky.

If this works as intended, the payoff for the Bucs will be enormous. Revis is the perfect player for the Bucs. It’s not just that he’s talented. It’s the fact that his skill set is the ideal fit for the Bucs defense, a unit that needed help in the worst way.


[Last modified: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 11:30am]


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