TAMPA, Fla. - Darrelle Revis likely will make his debut for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the star cornerback's old team, the New York Jets.
Although there's been no official announcement, the three-time All-Pro has been practicing without any reported setbacks and teammates are confident Revis will start Sunday's season opener.
"We're going to have all our pieces, finally, and it should be good," defensive end Adrian Clayborn said Monday. "We'll see."
Revis is recovering from knee surgery that sidelined him most of last season with the Jets. The Bucs gradually increased his workload in practice during training camp, however the seventh-year pro did not see any game action during the preseason.
Coach Greg Schiano is not concerned.
The objective since late April, when Revis was acquired in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the draft, has been to not rush the rehabilitation process in hopes of having him ready to face his old team.
"As long as there are no setbacks" that remains the plan, Schiano said.
Revis and All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson were brought in this off-season to bolster a secondary that nearly set a NFL record for passing yards allowed in 2012. Revis was given a new six-year, $96 million contract, and Goldson received a five-year, $41.25 deal in free agency after helping San Francisco reach the Super Bowl last season.
Rookie Johnthan Banks, a second-round draft pick competing for the cornerback job on the side opposite Revis, feels the secondary has played together enough in practice to be effective as a unit in the opener.
"We've been together since OTAs and we know what Revis can do," Banks said. "He's been practicing with us the past two weeks. We pretty much know each other. It will grow as the season goes."
The Bucs reconvened for practice Monday after having the weekend off. Schiano said it's too early to tell if another projected starter, guard Carl Nicks, will play against the Jets.
Nicks missed the final nine games of last season and is recovering from surgery on his left big toe. His comeback stalled last month when he was diagnosed as having a MRSA infection in a blister on the side of his left foot. He hasn't practiced since.
Like Revis, Nicks did not play a down during the preseason.
The Bucs are exploring a number of different options, including the prospect of moving centre Jeremy Zuttah to left guard, if Nicks is out. Tackle Gabe Carimi and backup centre Ted Larsen are other possibilities.
"We have guys on our roster, we'll just choose one of them. They all can play guard," Schiano said.