FOXBOROUGH, Mass — Bucs rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks might not have been picked on by Tom Brady, but he was picked apart. Under game conditions, the Patriots quarterback can make any veteran defensive back look like a stooge. But when he has no pass rush, it's not even fair.
Banks was beaten deep twice by receiver Aaron Dobson despite tight coverage in one-on-one drills early in Tuesday's practice.
He had a coverage bust and gave up a touchdown to receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, an undrafted rookie from Cincinnati, during a red zone period. But Banks ended practice by knocking away a Brady pass in the end zone.
"It was different. You can have those guys covered and he gets the ball in there," Banks said. "It was totally different. It's good experience to get out there and get some work against a different quarterback. It was fun."
At least Banks doesn't lack for confidence. The second-round pick from Mississippi State fared well in the Bucs' 44-16 loss last week to the Baltimore Ravens and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco, who played two series.
Banks, projected to start opposite Darrelle Revis, had five tackles and a pass defensed despite playing only in the first half. But this week, he's learning how NFL QBs can fit footballs in tight windows. Banks wasn't alone. Brady took turns beating defenders.
"That's the big difference," Banks said. "You can be right on guys and these quarterbacks, they'll get it in there. We were on our guys and he was fitting it in there. There's a big learning curve. It's good to be out there with them."
Schiano said Brady provided exactly the kind of challenge his defense needed.
"I think it's really valuable," Schiano said. "You're talking about a first-ballot Hall of Famer to go out and (ply) your craft against; that is a good challenge. The good thing is, there isn't a pass rush in a lot of those drills. He's not going to get hit, so the ball's going to get thrown every time so you can really challenge the defensive backs, which is right up our alley right now."