FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Darrelle Revis was the only Bucs defensive back who was not challenged by his long-time nemesis, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady Tuesday. In fact, Brady never looked his direction.
A sign of respect? Not necessarily. Revis was held out of drills and team work against New England.
"That would give me some tips if I could be out here against Tom and going one-on-one because it's great competition," Revis said.
But Revis might not have to wait much longer to compete.
He said it's possible he could play in the Bucs third preseason game, Aug. 24 at Miami. That would put Revis three weeks ahead of the Bucs' timetable for his recovery from ACL surgery, which targeted his return for the regular season opener against the New York Jets.
Revis said he would benefit from playing in the preseason.
"I think that's a good thing to do," Revis said. "Like I said, we've also got to take it day by day, but as I progress and keep on getting better, which I am doing, that's a possibility of me playing that (preseason) Week 3.
"We'll see. I can't give you an answer right now. I've got to talk to (general manager) Mark Dominik and Coach (Greg) Schiano and we have to hash it out that way. It's a process. The quotes that Mark said, it's all predicated on just my strides everyday, just going out here doing one-on-ones off to the side, just getting that pop back in my left leg and driving back to the ball on routes. I think that's the key and that's the improvement we've been seeing each day."
On Monday, Revis passed a milepost of sorts when he competed in a seven-on-seven red zone drill and was beaten for a touchdown reception by receiver Vincent Jackson. Revis fell to the ground but had no issues with the knee.
The Bucs decided to let Revis accompany the team to Foxborough for three days of workouts with the Patriots before Friday night's preseason game.
Revis has been reluctant to guarantee he will be ready to play in the season opener against the Jets, his former team. He is equally cautious when predicting whether he will play against the Dolphins.
"I'm still going to say it's too soon," Revis said. "I'm getting excited as well. I know Mark is and Coach Schiano is as well. It's day to day. I did seven on seven (Monday) and it's just taking precaution but also improving and just trying to get back out there and be with my teammates."
While playing in the preseason would boost Revis' confidence and likely put his mind at ease about the injury, Schiano reiterated it's not a requirement for the seventh-year pro.
"That's been the same conversation all along and I don't know if he's going to get any reps in the preseason," Schiano said. "I think the reality is he is a veteran guy who knows what he can do — he's coming off a knee injury, he's never had that — so if we're going to err at all, we're going to err on the side of caution. He's doing more and more, but you don't want to put the cart before the horse on that thing. It's just step by step. I've said, he doesn't need to play in the preseason to play in the opening game, at least in my opinion."
When asked if a decision had been made about Revis playing against the Dolphins, Schiano said, "No."
Revis said whenever he returns to the football field, he expects to perform at the same level as he did before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
"I think I'll be fine," Revis said. "I think at the end of the day, you've got to go through the ACL process and waiting, and, 'Hey, let's do these drills and these exercises, let's be patient, let's not get on the field yet, let's get on the field.' I'll be fine. Trust me. I'm back to my old self. I'm getting there. It's just a confidence and just trying to get that knee drive and breaking on balls."
Even so, slow and steady is how Schiano wants the Bucs to proceed with Revis — even if it means him missing the Jets game.
"Hopefully he'll be ready opening game," Schiano said. "But again, I keep saying, if he isn't, he isn't.
"This is a long-term thing. This is a guy we're planning to be a Buc for a lot of years. We'll make sure to do what we can to make sure that he's ready when he steps foot on that field."