Murphy-Bunting Is Re-climbing The Ladder

November 20th, 2020

Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting had a rough stretch in his primary gig of covering wide receivers.

He lost his starting outside corner gig this season after the Bucs walloped the Raiders, and he’s been basically the Bucs’ nickel cornerback almost exclusively since then, yielding the starting job to Jamel Dean.

Joe’s film review reveals that Murphy-Bunting looked significantly improved against the Panthers, and that’s not counting his heroic special teams tackle of a kick returner deep in Buccaneers territory.

So Joe asked Bucco Bruce Arians yesterday about the Murphy-Bunting revival and whether it’s enough to get him back to his starting role. Arians wouldn’t go there on making a lineup call, but he emphatically acknowledged that Murphy-Bunting has his “swagger back” and is back on the rise.

Monday night’s game against the Rams brings the challenge of receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, as well as a short-passing game the Bucs aren’t used to seeing. Joe has no doubt that Murphy-Bunting will be tested.

Before this season, Joe wrote many times that of the Bucs’ three young cornerbacks who were gifted prime jobs, Jamel Dean, Carlton Davis and Murphy-Bunting, two must make significant leaps for the Bucs to be a playoff team. So far, Davis has made the jump, while Joe can’t call that yet for Dean and Murphy-Bunting.

Hopefully, they have a strong stretch run and make the second-year improvement common among excellent players. Murphy-Bunting seems back on track.

25 Responses to “Murphy-Bunting Is Re-climbing The Ladder”

  1. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Dean needs to step it up. He cost us two TDs last week.

  2. gbobucsfan Says:

    Is Davis fully healthy? That long pass vs the Panthers, he seemed to come up limp. I know he came back in the game but wonder if he is 100%?

  3. Goldenbuc Says:

    I’ll make my opinion after this game, as he will be playing against top 5 slot receivers.

    I did notice he hasn’t been as much out of place lately tho.

  4. 813bucboi Says:

    SMB takes a step forward and Dean takes a step back…lol…

    imo SMB is better suited for outside CB….

    Dean cant keep his eye out of the backfield and double moves get him every time…Dean has intriguing size and speed at CB but FS might fit him better….

    Dean and edwards at safety with winfield in the slot….SMB and CD on the outside…

    it is what it is tho…..they’ll all continue to improve…

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  5. Jmart2470 Says:

    Can we please get an article about how America’s Quarterback and future hall of famer Winston can’t even get a start above Taysom Hill?!

  6. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    SMB needs to step up because dean is terrible; if daniel jones was any good he would have had 6 tds and 600 yards on dean alone; mcvay and goff will find dean and double move him to death…hope bowles remembers he can blitz on monday nights

  7. Robert Says:

    Man coverage, watch for slants and drop white back a couple yards

  8. Robert Says:

    Dean changed the game against the packers…. back off him

  9. DBS Says:

    Roasted, toasted and burnt. Bowles better figure out how to cover for them because they will be the targets they go after.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    So…..Jameis wasn’t Tampa’s QB going forward….apparently not New Orleans’ QB…..but still America’s QB……running out of cities…..

  11. pewter941 Says:

    Bunting hasnt really been the same since his groin injury.

  12. DBS Says:

    Ok. So Payton must have at least watched last years Atlanta game. And so does he not trust Americas ATM to start against them?

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    Davis: 14 PDs, 4 INTs, 2 TDs, Targets: 70 with 40 completions … 57.1%
    Dean: 7 PDs, 1 INT, 2 TDs, Targets: 52 with 29 completions … 55.8%
    SMB: 2 PDs, 1 INT, 4 TDs, Targets: 49 with 40 completions … 81.6%

    No idea why some JBFers are so down on Jamel Dean. He’s gotten zapped a couple of times, but so has Davis & especially SMB.

    And oh ya, Davis has 6 penalties for 87 yds (actually more yards IMO), SMB has 2 penalties for 10 yds, and Dean has zero penalties. Something to be said for not keeping your opponents’ drives alive with penalties.

    And oh ya again, forgot to mention that PFF rated Jamel Dean as the #2 CB in the NFL through the week 7 of this season (couldn’t find anything newer), second only to Jaire Alexander of the Packers. Davis was rated at #13 and SMB wasn’t rated in the Top-25.

  14. Youngbucs Says:

    But wait I thought the cult followers said ignore the depth chart. They said the soiled messiah was the 2.

  15. rsjcheapseats Says:

    Adam Schefter
    Jameis Winston will not be part of any offensive packages Sunday vs. the Falcons, per
    . The Saints’ QB now is Taysom Hill.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    I hope the Falcons beat Taysom Hill into a pulp. He has quickly become the Saints player I hate the most. Mostly because he makes every single Bucs defender look like a pathetic little girl who is afraid to tackle when he plays.

    As for the cornerbacks- it’s been interesting watching Dean and SMB both rise and fall. The first 6 games or so Dean was looking much better, but his last few outings have been rough. SMB was trending down in the last 5 or 6 games, but played better against Carolina.

    Hopefully Bowles has an answer for the short passing game. And hopefully that answer isn’t soft zone with a 4 man rush that never gets to the QB. Ugh, we miss Vea a lot.

  17. DBS Says:

    Clean House will now tell everyone that Payton is an idiot and knows nothing about football. The Saints will get what they deserve.

  18. cmurda Says:

    @813 Safety for Dean? No way man. Dean’s tackling skills are far too meh to play either safety position. His speed is also too elite to play safety. you can’t waste him. He’s in the right position. He’s an outside corner who could be a shutdown CB with his speed if he can master the rest of the craft. The physical gifts are there for Dean. He reminds me very much of an old Brian Kelly but Brian was far more polished. Don’t get too down on Dean. He turned the corner after the Seattle game last year and he’s been pretty decent. Now, he has to put in the work to become great.

  19. stpetebucsfan Says:

    It seems to me that SMB has simply been inconsistent. Some great plays and some awful plays. I think perhaps he gambled too much and will learn when to take the chance and when to play defense.

    I also suspect that some of the same type thing that happened to JW…such amazing gifts that he could compensate for mistakes at every level but the NFL where ball he thought he could thread got picked instead.

    Let’s face it…the NFL is not the MAC and Central Michigan. SMB could dominate there because he was physically gifted enough to erase mistakes…he was far better than his competition.

    In the NFL he’s still nobody. He does seem to have enough talent to be a decent NFL player. Once he figures out the speed of the NFL he’ll be fine.

  20. unbelievable Says:

    Well said cmurda

  21. BradyBucs Says:


  22. Brandon Says:

    People calling for Dean to be benched don’t actually understand football.

  23. adam from ny Says:

    CD3 has made a big jump in year 3…

    next year either bunting or dean, or both, will make the jump….

    and that’s important because next year is the year we win the superbowl

  24. teacherman777 Says:

    We dont have a 4th CB!

    Did you see what happened when Scandrell came in the game?

    He looked terrible!

    If we lose any of our top 3 corners, we are screwed!!

  25. Hopalong Bucco Says:

    Todd should send SMB home with a tackling dummy to sleep with!!!