Bucs CB Myron Lewis is focused on having a big offseason regardless of if there is a player lockout. Lewis discusses his offseason plan and what he’s learned from veteran mentor Ronde Barber.
In the immediate days following the 2010 NFL Draft, new cornerback Myron Lewis was being penciled in as the Bucs’ nickel cornerback for the 2010 regular season. The third-round pick Lewis brought imposing size and speed to the Buccaneers defensive backs room. Tampa Bay had starting cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber returning, but after Elbert Mack struggled as the nickel corner role in 2009, the team was looking for a potential up grade in Lewis.
The competition that was expected to come from Lewis never got started as Lewis suffered an abdominal injury during the rookie mini-camp in the weekend after the draft. From there Lewis had hamstring and other injuries that kept him on the sidelines for much of training camp, the preseason, and into the regular season. In that time second-year pro E.J. Biggers laid claim to the nickel corner spot. When Talib was suspended and eventually placed on injured reserve, Biggers got the start at left corner while Lewis and Mack rotated in as the nickel corner.
In 2010 Lewis played in 10 games. He recorded 10 tackles with four passes broken up and zero interceptions. This offseason Lewis has been at One Buc Place getting a head start on preparing for his second season. When asked, Lewis had a specific point of emphasis for his offseason progress.
“Footwork. As a DB you always have to have good footwork. That’s the thing you want and you got to work on your feet,” said Lewis. “That’s the number one thing to work on: your feet.”
While Lewis did not have much of an impact as a rookie, the team feels that he has a long bright career ahead of him at the NFL level. At 6-foot-2, 203-pounds Lewis is projected to form one of the biggest cornerback groups in the NFL over the long-term with Talib (6-1, 205) and Biggers (6-0, 180). Lewis plans on working out with his teammates even if the players are locked out of the team facilities in March.
“You know all of us have to get together to work on the little things to get better,” said Lewis. “Of course in the offseason we are all going to be together and work out together.”
One player that Lewis plans on leaning on during his first NFL offseason is Barber. The Vanderbilt product Lewis connects with Barber on a mental level that other players can’t reach. Lewis said he has learned a lot about football from being around Barber, who is expected to return to Tampa Bay next year for his 15th season.
“Breaking on routes. Watching film. Certain looks and splits in certain formations that teams come out with,” said Lewis. “In the league everybody runs similar plays. It is about how to get to it and what to look for. After 14 years he knows everything. He’s like the father of the defense. It is good to get all that information from him.”
The respect is mutual. In the December issue of Pewter Report’s digital magazine Barber praised Lewis skill set and thinks that the sky is the limit for him. When asked about Lewis and Biggers long-term, Barber had some interesting things to say about last year's rookie.
“I’ll start with Myron, who can be amazing with some things. He has a skill set that even Aqib doesn’t have,” said Barber. “He has long arms and long legs and he can track guys down the field unlike anybody on our team. Raw is not the right word because the guy can play. He has some development that he needs to do and he’ll do that. The best training that I know of is on the field and actually playing – not scrimmaging or practicing. I got good because I got a chance to play my second year. By the time I got to my third year I had it down. I look at him and his skill set will get a chance to develop quickly once he gets more of a chance to play. He’s already made some strides.”
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