TAMPA — Bucs CB Darrelle Revis said his groin strain is "way better," and he practiced Friday in a limited capacity for the first time this week. But he is listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Carolina.
"It will probably be a game-time decision," Revis said. "I'll probably have to get out (on the field) a little earlier and try to run and see how I feel when I cut and when I move. It's better. It's way better. Hopefully, the rest of (Friday) and (Saturday), I'll get a lot more rest and move forward to Sunday."
Revis, who missed the second half of last weekend's 24-21 win at Detroit, held the Panthers' Steve Smith to four catches for 42 yards in the Bucs' 31-13 loss Oct. 24 at Raymond James Stadium. While Smith has not had as many as 70 yards in a game this season, Revis said he's still the player who gets the Panthers going.
"We feel that he's the key guy," Revis said. "He has a lot of emotion after catches sometimes, and we want to take that away from him."
The Bucs are sure to get at least one key member of the secondary back when S Dashon Goldson returns from his one-game suspension. Goldson, out last week for a helmet-to-helmet hit, missed the first game against Carolina with a knee injury.
"Hopefully, that will put some fear in the offense as well," Revis said.
If Revis can't play, it would have a drastic impact on his team's game plan.
"Any time you have a guy like Darrelle, it's pretty drastic. And any time they have a guy like (Smith), there are certain things you want to do," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. "And … this is a well-coached football team. So it's not like they're going to just give you the looks you've seen. They're going to have new looks, so they're going to have things you didn't practice. That's where game-time specific things become more complicated.
"The good thing is Dashon is back, so you've got a guy who's seen a lot of football in his time. And the one thing when you have those experienced guys, they kind of figure it out."
The Panthers (8-3) have a league-best seven-game win streak; the Bucs (3-8) are riding a three-game win streak.
"That would be good to knock them off," Revis said. "Don't get me wrong. They're playing lights-out. (Quarterback) Cam Newton is playing great this year. They're rolling on offense and defense. We're not shying down. We played against another great team a few weeks ago in Seattle, and we hung with them well (in an overtime loss). We feel we can beat this team and try to get our fourth win."
MUSH RUSH: Setting the edge and containing Newton will be a key. That means the Bucs' defensive ends have to careful not to get too far upfield and provide escape lanes. But that can slow down the pass rush.
"Sometimes, 90 percent is better than 100 percent if that makes sense," Schiano said. "Because a lot of times, 100 percent is all or nothing with this guy, and all is great, and nothing can be real bad. So you have to have a little more control and a little more lane integrity in your pass rushes."
INJURY UPDATE: G Carl Nicks (toe) is out of Sunday's game. LB Mason Foster (concussion), LB Adam Hayward (foot), G Davin Joseph (knee) and G Jamon Meredith (ankle) are probable.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.