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Joint workout benefits Bucs and Patriots

Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow, a former Heisman Trophy winner at Florida trying to hang onto New England’s roster as a backup, talks following a joint practice with the Bucs.
Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow, a former Heisman Trophy winner at Florida trying to hang onto New England’s roster as a backup, talks following a joint practice with the Bucs.
Published Aug. 14, 2013

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Bucs coach Greg Schiano and Patriots coach Bill Belichick wanted to maximize this week's three joint practices.

And if Tuesday's first workout was any indication, each should be quite happy with the results.

After a spirited and highly competitive practice at the Gillette Stadium practice fields, there was no doubt the colleagues' plans went as intended.

Tom Brady threw darts through the Bucs secondary. Josh Freeman rifled off passes while evading the likes of Vince Wilfork. Meanwhile, WR Mike Williams tangled with former Bucs CB Aqib Talib.

It was the kind of stuff you typically get only on game day, with the unique arrangement giving both teams game-like scenarios.

"You want to go out there and win, especially when it's against another team," Williams said. "When you practice against each other, you go out and try to get done what you need to get done. But when you go against another team, you definitely want to win."

Going against Brady provided an education for some young Bucs. With CB Darrelle Revis kept out of contact drills as he rehabs his left knee injury, the Bucs deployed rookie Johnthan Banks as their top cornerback. He had some rough moments against Brady, but the net effect is positive, Schiano said, citing an opportunity for learning.

RB Doug Martin, accustomed to seeing familiar defenders in practice daily, used Tuesday's practice to try some moves he has not used on opponents.

"It's a good opportunity to try your system against another team," he said. "In the one-on-one (drills) against linebackers, I can try my moves that the coaches teach me against them. It's an opportunity to go up against another team."

The Bucs and Patriots play on Friday night, the second preseason game for both. But before that, they'll have two more days of work.

The Patriots firmly believe in these kinds of workouts. They just completed a week in Philadelphia ahead of Friday's game against the Eagles. The Patriots also did this twice in 2012.

Given Schiano's affinity for Belichick, expect this to be a consistent approach for the Bucs, too.

Belichick "is a big influence," Schiano said. "When I've had the opportunity, when I visited here as a college coach and when he would come to Rutgers, just to talk football and see the game through his eyes and his visions. Like anything else, when you're around someone who's doing the things that you like to do, you have an opportunity to learn so I try to take advantage of that."

TEBOW'S CHANCES: One of the big questions in New England this preseason has been about the likelihood the Patriots would be willing to carry former Gators QB Tim Tebow on their roster, though his chances of seeing the field behind Brady and Ryan Mallett seem remote.

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Belichick said it was too early to decide, adding that there's "a lot of competition out there and we'll see how it all plays out."

NO COMMENT: Talib was happy to see old teammates, greeting them before practice. But he was a little less eager to talk about his four-plus seasons in Tampa Bay, which ended with his trade to the Patriots last year.

"I don't want to comment on nothing about being in Tampa or the Bucs," he said. "That's behind me. I'm a Patriot now."

GOOD SIGN: G Carl Nicks (foot) did extensive team work, a positive sign despite the fact he says he'll be playing through pain for the foreseeable future.


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