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Bucs' secondary sets the tone with two takeaways

Cornerback Johnthan Banks, right, intercepts a pass thrown by quarterback Josh Freeman, intended for wide receiver Kevin Ogletree (85).

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Cornerback Johnthan Banks, right, intercepts a pass thrown by quarterback Josh Freeman, intended for wide receiver Kevin Ogletree (85).

TAMPA — Bucs safety Dashon Goldson said he expressed to his teammates Friday that the secondary has to set the tone, with the goal of at least two takeaways per game.

They did just that in Friday's practice, with rookie CB Johnthan Banks and CB Michael Adams each racking up interceptions. Banks, the athletic 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, showed great anticipation in coming off his man in zone coverage to make a leaping pick of QB Josh Freeman during a 7-on-7 period.

Adams later raced over the middle to pick off rookie QB Mike Glennon.

"As a secondary, we want to get our hands on as many balls as possible," Goldson said. "I think today was a good showing of what we can do. We've still got a long way coming, but a lot of guys stepped up big-time today, made plays when they needed to."

As Goldson, the former 49ers All Pro, says, the Bucs have their hands full in week in the NFC South, facing QBs like the Saints' Drew Brees and Falcons' Matt Ryan. Tampa Bay may lean on a rookie in Banks, who is competing for the corner spot opposite to Darrelle Revis, and he's impressed so far.

"Johnthan Banks is doing a good job, on and off the field," Goldson said. "In the team room and meeting room he's paying attention, understanding the game of football and he's putting himself in position to make plays."

Coach Greg Schiano said he was encouraged by the plays the secondary made. But Schiano points out, since it's their own offense they're going against, he likes it to be pretty even competition throughout camp, which it has been in the first few days.

But the Bucs are starting to see what a solid secondary can do.

"It feels good that you have an extra half-second or second to get to the QB," DE Da'Quan Bowers said. "It makes a big difference."

REVIS ISLAND: Revis continued to take on more activities, including participating in 7-on-7 drills Friday. Though Schiano said some of the drills were teaching periods, which were "half speed," Revis looked good, making contact at the line, going one-on-one with WR Vincent Jackson a few times.

LINING UP: Rookie DT Akeem Spence worked out with the first team, a role Gary Gibson had Thursday; the two are competing for that nose tackle spot. LB Dekoda Watson got first team reps, with his chief competition, LB Jonathan Casillas, walking off the field early due to an undisclosed injury (likely cramps).

PENN POWER: LT Donald Penn has established himself as one of the league's better left tackles, making the Pro Bowl in 2010. But Penn said he feels like still has something to prove, likely partly due to scrutiny he's received over his weight.

"The way you all talked about me, sometimes I feel like I haven't done nothing in this league," Penn quipped. "I let it go, I'm a fun easy-going guy. I do got a little chip on my shoulder, I know it's going to be tough on the people I'm playing against, because I don't like critics. I like to prove critics wrong, I've been doing it my whole career."

Penn, who said he entered camp five pounds lighter than what the Bucs required, has impressed Schiano with his work ethic, temperament and maturity.

"He's in the best shape since I've known him," Schiano said. "And I like his attitude."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com.

Bucs' secondary sets the tone with two takeaways 07/26/13 [Last modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 3:24pm]
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