TAMPA, Fla. -- While everybody around him seems absolutely convinced that All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis will be ready to start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener, one person dares mention a reality check -- Revis himself.
Revis has been rehabbing from a torn ACL sustained early last season while playing for the New York Jets. His trade to Tampa Bay was hailed as a significant change in a major geographical landmark for the NFL -- Revis Island is now in Florida.
This week, Bucs general manager Mark Dominick said he is "almost certain" Revis will play in the season opener against Revis' former team, the Jets, on September 8. Coach Greg Schiano also sounds as if he is planning on it.
The only one who seems to have doubts about the readiness of Revis is Revis. Sometimes, anyway.
"I think that's too far down the road," Revis said. "Right now, we're just trying to go day by day. That is the goal. We've talked about that and I want to be there the first day, the first game and be out there ready to go with my teammates."
Not that Revis has any reason to pump the brakes on his recovery from ACL surgery. To the contrary, he said he has not had any swelling on his surgically repaired knee since he began training camp with teaching periods and walk-throughs.
Now Revis is participating in individual drills and covering receivers one-on-one. On Monday, the Bucs added quarterback Adam Weber to the mix to enable Revis a chance to make plays on the football.
"He's covering receivers right now and today we had a quarterback injected into the equation," Schiano said. "He's making plays on the football, which leads to a different amount of tangling up with the receiver. Now you're both trying to go for the same thing. We'll do that for a little bit then we'll up him to seven-on-seven, team stuff. So it's going to be step by step. There's still probably several steps before, but as long as nothing pushes us back, they're going to move rather quickly."
Despite sort of admitting there is room for doubt, Revis is still usually assertive and positive when asked if he thinks he will be ready for the regular season opener.
"I do," he said.
"Each day I'm getting better," Revis said. "The biggest thing is us looking for swelling, which has never happened. As long as it doesn't swell up on me, I'll be fine. Some things we do are intense with the DB drills and stuff, and the reps I take. But that's the biggest thing I look for, the swelling. With the volume that I do after the field after practice, you've got to make sure if it's still fine or is it swelling?"
Prior to Monday, Revis had been reacting to a receiver running the route tree sans quarterback. Now he has to make adjustments on the fly, planting and reacting to the unpredictable movement of a receiver.
"Oh no, I'm reacting to everything they're giving me," Revis said. "It's a secret between the quarterback and the receiver. I'm just reacting, mimicking what they're doing trying to cover the routes.
The next big step is getting back in getting in team activity, 7-on-7, one on ones with Vincent (Jackson) and Mike (Williams) and those guys and hopefully in the team, team run and team pass."
When will that occur?
"I have no idea," he said. "We're still taking it day by day and I feel like I'm getting stronger and improving."
One thing Revis and Schiano agree on is his role. Revis said he's told Schiano he wants to continue shutting down the best opposing receiver.
"We had numerous talks about that, me and Coach Schiano," Revis said. "I think that's the plan. He's very open to it and I think that's what we're going to do. I think that me following the top receiver will help the defense a lot to let me try to lock him down and let (defensive tackle) Gerald (McCoy) and those guys get some pressure up front and just try to hold up the receiver so they can get to the quarterback. I think that's the deal."
--Team correspondents for The Sports Xchange contributed material for this story.