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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs begin offseason workouts short on cornerbacks

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Published:   |   Updated: April 16, 2013 at 06:42 AM
TAMPA -

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano admitted on the first day of offseason workouts today that the Bucs are still running a little short of starting-caliber cornerbacks.
 
It’s no wonder then that rumors of a Bucs trade for Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis continue to swirl around his team.
 
Amid an ESPN report the Jets have put the brakes on a potential Revis trade, Schiano declined to address specifically any Revis trade rumors. He did make it clear, though, the Bucs are interested in any player they believe can make them a better team.
 
“Whenever we can get better we’re going to do it,’’ Schiano said. “I don’t care if it’s midnight, it doesn’t matter. If we have a chance to get better and we can get better, we’re going to do it. That’s our philosophy.’’
 
Schiano’s comments came as the Bucs gathered at One Buc Place for the start of their offseason workout program, which will run through the team’s mandatory minicamp in mid-June.
 
All but one player – recently re-signed cornerback Eric Wright – was in attendance. Wright was excused to be with his wife, who gave birth to a baby girl on Sunday.
 
“Eric Wright and his wife had a baby yesterday so it’s all good,’’ Schiano said. “Everybody’s excited to get back to it, and I include myself in that group when I say everybody.’’
 
The group that gathered Monday looked a little different than the one that departed in January after a 7-9 season.
 
Veteran cornerback Ronde Barber, who still has not announced whether he will return for a 17th NFL season, was not there. Neither were defensive end Michael Bennett and defensive tackle Roy Miller, two key starters lost in free agency.
 
But some other key pieces, including safety Dashon Goldson, wide receiver Kevin Ogletree and defensive tackle Derek Landri, all of whom were acquired in free agency, were there. Their presence, Schiano said, is notable.
 
“We were very selective with the way we went through free agency, and so there are some guys in this building that maybe aren’t household names yet that need to improve and that we need to develop as coaches,’’ Schiano said.
 
“Not every guy has to be a first-round pick or a high profile free agent signing, but at the end of the day you need to add those pieces up and play winning football, and that’s our goal.’’
The Bucs will need to correct their shortage of starting caliber corners if they hope to reach that goal this season. Re-signing Wright brought them closer to achieving their objective, Schiano said.
 
“Eric Wright is a starting-caliber cornerback talent,’’ Schiano said. “He just had some bad luck last year. But I think he is going to come in here and is going to work hard and will perform well.’’
 
The Bucs signed Wright to a five-year, $37.5 million contract during free agency a year ago, but he never played up to their expectations. Back problems and a sore Achilles tendon contributed to Wright’s poor play, but most costly was a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.
 
That violation prompted the Bucs to void Wright’s $7.75 million guaranteed contract for 2013. Tampa Bay re-signed him to a one-year, $1.5 million deal, but Wright was the only starting-caliber corner the Bucs signed.
That’s one reason Tampa Bay continues to be mentioned in Revis trade rumors why many believe the team will invest early and often in cornerbacks in the NFL draft April 25-27.
 
“There are always going to be areas that need to be addressed,’’ Schiano said. “You can stack up Lombardi Trophies all you want, but when you evaluate the tape you realize you still need this and you need that.
 
“As an organization, we’re building a team and an organization to the vision of what kind of men do we want in here, what kind of players and people do we want here. And I’m pleased that we’re going in the right direction.
 
“It’s one step at a time and sometimes you don’t get everything you want. It doesn’t always unfold the way you want it to. But I’m pleased with the direction we’re headed.’’
 

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