TAMPA — A Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan base weary of watching four-time Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis line up off the line of scrimmage in zone coverage schemes may soon get its wish to see Revis play a little more man to man.
Bucs coach Greg Schiano spent the weekend contemplating personnel and schematic changes on both sides of the ball, and one of the changes he plans to make on defense suggests more man and press coverage work for Revis.
“We need to make sure we’re accentuating our best players, putting them in the best position to make plays better than we have,’’ Schiano said. “That’s something I’ve looked at hard, and I know our coaches have looked at it as well.’’
Tampa Bay traded its 2013 first-round draft pick and a third-round pick in 2014 to the Jets in April for Revis, who quickly signed a six-year, $96-million deal with the Bucs that includes no guaranteed payouts.
Since then, the Bucs’ use of Revis, who has been employed about half the time in zone schemes, has become an area in which Schiano and his staff have been most criticized.
Fans and some NFL analysts have suggested the Bucs overpaid for Revis because they say the team is wasting his talent by using him in zone coverage. For his part, Revis has mostly steered clear of the controversy.
He asked to meet with Schiano early in the year to say he was not the source of a story that suggested he was unhappy with how he was being used, but offered only tepid support for the team’s game plan following the loss to Carolina on Thursday.
“I don’t know,’’ Revis said when asked if the team believes in the game plans the coaches are preparing. “I don’t know. We’ve got a game plan every week and we’ve just got to stick to the game plan.’’
That plan might be about to change.
The real McCoy
Revis wasn’t the only defensive player offering tepid support for the Bucs’ game plan last week. DT Gerald McCoy did the same, and Schiano’s scheme changes appear to be aimed at getting more out of McCoy, too.
McCoy ranks second in the league among defensive tackles in pass rush productivity with 20 quarterback hurries, seven quarterback hits and two quarterback sacks, according to ProFootballFocus. But Schiano believes he could be producing more.
“Gerald is playing at such a high level and the guy’s around him aren’t all playing at his level and that, I think, is generally frustrating for Gerald,’’ Schiano said.
“He’s beating guys with one-on-one rushes over and over again, and if you get the quarterback off the spot and the other guy isn’t there, well... I mean, usually you get the sack because he’s got nowhere to go.
“And that’s what I was saying about playing to our strengths better and making sure we’re more precise when we do get a chance to isolate our strength because Gerald’s done a very good job.
“There aren’t many guys in the NFL who can block Gerald McCoy one on one. It just doesn’t happen. So, if we can create those one on ones, then we have to help him. Now, he has to finish, too, but we also have to help him around it.’’
The Bucs expect to have S Dashon Goldson and LB Dekoda Watson back for Sunday’s game at Seattle. Goldson missed the Carolina game with a sore knee and Watson, who has split time at strongside linebacker, left the game early with a shoulder injury.
“They’re bumped still, but I’m encouraged about them,’’ Schiano said. “They’re going to be day to day, but I’m encouraged and I think they’ll all be able to play come Sunday.’’