Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting cornerback Alterraun Verner is hopeful that he can make finally his preseason debut this weekend against the Bills and get back to playing his ball-hawking brand of football. He missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, a relapse from an injury he suffered during minicamp.
“It’s definitely progressing. It’s one of those things that it’s kind of hard to tell unless you’re actually doing something. I mean, just walking around and stuff, it’s no problem, but actually full-go, having to make a quick reaction, that’s something I can’t tell until I’m actually at practice.”
Verner was back practicing with the team today, at least for the 30-minute portion of it that was open to the media. Head coach Lovie Smith has said that he’d like to get him involved in this third preseason game, considered the most crucial of all.
“The guys that line up in the first group, there’s a reason why they’re there,” said Smith. “So for our players, if they’re going to play against Carolina, we need to see them right now. If they’re not out there, we’re in a hole a little bit. So for Alterraun Verner, it’s important that he get out there and start playing our defense, seeing his role, just getting comfortable…that’s why we’re excited about getting him on the football field.”
Verner echoed Smith’s comments about the importance of taking reps in the third game, and admitted to being frustrated that he couldn’t be out there with his teammates for the first two.
“It’s definitely frustrating. Just as a competitor, I want to be out there with the guys. You spend so much time [in] OTAs together, and then seeing some of the things happen and knowing what [the coaches] want from us, you can get a lot of mental reps but there’s something different about being in the game and just making a tackle, or hitting somebody and doing things, so it’s definitely been frustrating, but all due to them wanting to get me better. But once I get out there, no looking back.”