Bruce Arians Suggests Defense Crumbled Without Jamel Dean

December 14th, 2021

Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians.

Sunday night, Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians confessed that after Jamel Dean became sick and had to leave with what Arians called “wooziness,” the Bucs had to juggle defensive personnel and Buffalo took advantage.

Sunday night, Arians said the defense had to be “mix and match” with different defenders depending on the circumstances and the specific defensive call. The implication here is that with Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Dean all on the field together, they could handle whatever defensive coordinator Todd Bowles called.

Without one, Bowles would have to constantly tinker with the personnel. And of course, Buffalo countered accordingly.

There is no question the Bucs defense is very average or below average when it doesn’t have its three starting corners, Davis, Dean and SMB.

Today while appearing on the “Dull Patrick Show,” Arians again noted how changing up the defense with Dean out affected the defense as a whole, when asked about gagging away a 24-3 lead.

“Part of it was Jamel Dean’s [illness],” Arians said. “We played a lot of man-to-man early and that helps the pass rush. … The pass rush gets home. … When Dean got hurt, we played more zone.”

When the Bucs play zone, Arians suggested, quarterbacks are able to get rid of the ball quicker all but neutering the pass rush.

So what can we expect this week from the slimy Saints? Well, without mentioning Dean’s name, it sounds like the Bucs are wary of his availability.

“We started 10 different secondaries,” Arians said of injuries this season. “Don’t know who we will start this week because of injuries and who will be available.”

Again, this defense is night and day different when it has its starting corners. When one is out, it’s almost as if some evil IT clone reactivated Mike Smith’s access card allowing him to slip back into the building.

36 Responses to “Bruce Arians Suggests Defense Crumbled Without Jamel Dean”

  1. chris l Says:

    i dont get how/why this has not yet been fixed yet. it isnt like were the only team that has secondary injuries.

  2. SteveK Says:

    Hope Licht can pull another “Perriman” and sign a DB to contribute towards a “w” for some more depth.

  3. Bobby Buc Says:

    honestly, if we get through this sunday with the saints, i wouldn’t be concerned for the rest of the season

  4. zzbuc Says:

    Whatever the reason was, the problem starts when we start playing zone…..We are bad playing zone…..

    And also players were with no legs…..

    When the game was near the ending, BA called time out, and everybody was surprises, TV catched TB12 asking…what happened?
    Obviously defense need some rest…..

  5. Buddha Says:

    The 49ers and the Ravens have been savaged by injuries to their secondary. They are also struggling.

  6. Joe Says:

    i dont get how/why this has not yet been fixed yet.

    It’s simple (at least to Joe). Joe writes this so often but it is as true as a football field is 100 yards long (not counting end zones).

    “Backups are backups for a reason.”

    Backups are not as talented as starters, otherwise, they would not be backups. When you put backups on the field, they are not as talented as the starter(s). Therefore, they cannot do things as well as a starter can. Thus, teams are better able to take advantage of a backup’s lesser skills.

    In the post-trade deadline, salary cap era, there is no “fixing” someone’s lesser talents. You have to try to work around them or hide them. And in the NFL it is awfully hard to hide lesser corners.

    The best way to overcome backups playing on defense it to score a lot of points.

  7. Joe Says:

    They are also struggling.

    Yeah they are.

  8. PassingThru Says:

    The defense started struggling well after Dean left the game.

  9. Listnfrmafar Says:

    When has he played a full game? If Cockrell took his place then absolutely a different level. DR probably knows this but how many teams would Dean start on?

  10. godlovesbucs Says:

    Here is the major problem. Edwards and whitehead were out.

    Adams was the starting safety, and he blitzed a lot (man coverage single high safety).

    Dean went down and some things happened. That forces SMB to play outside. He is good as a spot cb, but not good at outside corner. Not a knock, he is just not versatile. Huge downgrade in man press ability from dean to SMB.

    Cockrell comes in to play slot cb. Huge downgrade in slot cb ability from SMB to cockrell.

    So you now run zone, where at times you have SMB on outside with cockrell at slot and Adams safety behind them. Lack of cohesiveness and understanding each other in coverages. Leads to blown coverages.

    Dean alone isn’t the issue, it’s a combination of 3 guys being down and having others play out of position.

  11. D-Rome Says:

    Agreed that backups are backups for a reason. This is why I hate that “next man up” mantra. It’s nice to say but it’s simply not true most of the time. There have been times where a backup turns out to be as good or better than the starter but that’s few and far between. Usually see that with running backs.

  12. BradyBucs Says:


    This is a bit silly.

    Even a backup in the NFL was a star in college.

    There’s no excuse for not sticking with man-to-man if it’s shutting down the Bills.

    If Dean goes out and has to be replaced by someone, you let that replacement play man to man. Until the same guy gets beat multiple times in a row, you stick with the scheme that’s working.

  13. Joe Says:

    Even a backup in the NFL was a star in college.

    The NFL ain’t college.

    If Dean goes out and has to be replaced by someone, you let that replacement play man to man.

    And there is a good chance that guy gets arse roasted repeatedly and you get the eff beat out of you.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    GodLovesBucs … ‘Here is the major problem. Edwards and whitehead were out.’

    B-I-N-G-O! I like Adams as a backup (normally), but Whitehead is a LOT better, especially at playing the run. And if Edwards (and Whitehead) was available, he’d be playing Nickel with Davis & SMB outside when Dean went down. Secondary would’ve been fine with Winfield, Whitehead, Davis, SMB & Edwards in there.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Listnfromafar … ‘how many teams would Dean start on?’

    Talent-wise, Jamel Dean could start on a bunch of teams in the NFL. His problem is availability; he keeps getting knocked out of games. Doesn’t take long on good teams for someone to step up and win the job permanently when the one he’s replacing keeps getting injured.

    Jamel’s already been through more (injury-wise) than most NFL players experience in a career (starting with injuries in high school, then college, then pros). But he’s a tough mudder, and keeps bouncing back. Reminds me of that old Timex commercial … ‘Takes a lickin & keeps on tickin’. Gutsy young man & the Bucs are lucky to have him IMO.

  16. Izod Says:

    This is all about risk management. You don’t want your first teamers to aggravate injuries, but you also need to win games. Many teams are facing the same issues this time of year at different position groups.

    It’s part of the NFL. Personally, I’d rather invest more heavily in quality DBs than WRs. When you have a QB who can find open receivers, you don’t need a roster full of All Pro WRs…. he can make the Cyril Graysons, Breshard Perrimans, and Scotty Millers of the world look All Pro.

  17. Buc You Says:

    This begs the question, if we’re getting eaten alive in Zone, how much worse would those guys be with some sort of Man combo with a 2-high Zone?

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    PassingThru … ‘The defense started struggling well after Dean left the game.’

    Yea verily. Dean only got 17 defensive snaps, and went out less than halfway through the 2nd qtr. Defense stood tall for the rest of the half, and even through the 3rd qtr & partway into the 4th (it was 27-10 with only 9 mins to go in the game). And then again at the end of the game in regulation & into Overtime.

    Bucs’ defense was gassed on the Bills 1st drive in the 4th qtr (that made it 24-17). That drive went 75 yds in only 6 plays: pass short right (4 yds), pass short left (10 yds), Penalty on JTF (5 yds), run off left tackle (18 yds), run off left guard (23 yds), pass short left (15 yds) … TOUCHDOWN.

    After that the Bucs’ offense went 3-and-out (in LESS than 1 minute) & Bills got the ball back at the Tampa 46 after Pinion’s short punt (kinda short field?). Defense held on for 9 plays on that drive, and did great stopping the run (2 yds on 2 runs), but got eaten up on Allen’s short passing (5-for-7) … Result: TOUCHDOWN.

    When the Bucs’ offense got the ball back, it was 5-and-out this time, and they only ate up 1:48 on the clock. Personally I was proud of the Bucs’ defense after that for holding Buffalo to just a FG. There were a number of very good defensive plays on that last Bills’ drive. They stood tall when they needed to stand tall .. including in Overtime. That’s what champions do in my book.

  19. Rod Munch Says:

    Rewatching the highlights from the game and one guy keeps showing up on the Bills highlights… COCKwell. The guy stinks. He’s just too slow. He seems to know the plays, it’s not like he’s caught out of position, he’s just too slow to do anything about it. He is a deep depth corner, and you can only put so many bodies out there, but my God, he’s awful.

    My suggestion to Licht… and it goes back for years and years… don’t draft or slow slow corners. Sure, fast guys like Ryan Smith are also terrible, but generally your hit rate with faster guys is higher than with slow guys, because you can teach a stupid fast guy, there’s at least hope, but there’s nothing you can do with a smart slow guy, you can’t make him faster.

  20. Listnfrmafar Says:

    DR, how is it possible D was gassed on first series if 4th qtr? Offense had ball with just about 2 min left in 3rd qtr. Played into 4th and kicked FG with 11:20 left in the game. Bill’s scored with 9:07 left. It wasn’t until the end of the qtr when the shat hit the fan. They had plenty of time to rest between 3rd & 4th qtr. I don’t get the LB stunting on Allen’s left tackle side that not only allowed Allen to run but Singletary as well. Bill’s saw something and Bowles didn’t adjust. Why???

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    Rod …You wouldn’t be talking about VHIII would you?

  22. DBS Says:

    That is the always excuse. The defense is tired. 6 playes and the Mike Smith defense showed up. 6 plays 75 yards TD and they are totally worn out.

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    Listfrmafar … Bucs’ D was on the field for 19 plays in the 3rd qtr to only 13 plays (2 drives) for our offense. That was 3 Bills’ drives and the Bucs D held them to 7 pts (out-on-downs, TD, Punt). Then the sh1t hit the fan. That’s what I meant by ‘gassed’ (not very much left in the tank after the 3rd qtr). Both LVD & White played 100% of the snaps (78) & got a feeling that their lingering injuries probably impacted their speed somewhat by that point in the game.

    BTW, I agree wholeheartedly with you about those runs. Not your typical Bucs’ run defense. And if I recall, JTS was in there on at least 1 of those 2 big back-to-back runs. He got gobbled up.

  24. BoiseBucsFan Says:

    It’s simple (at least to Joe). Joe writes this so often but it is as true as a football field is 100 yards long (not counting end zones).

    “Backups are backups for a reason.”

    But Joe, doesn’t BA proclaim he has a staff of Incrediable teachers who can get the most out of players. I get your point, but it’s also fair to say backups are still NFL players (the best in the world). With the massive staff of “teachers” and all the resources available to a NFL franchise, 10 weeks is more than enough time to fix this problem. Just my friendly opinion.

  25. Ed Says:

    Quarterback pressure was good in the Bills game, Josh Allen is a freak, he is big and he is tough and he is fast. When he takes off, he is like a running back, not a scrambling QB.

    The reality is that his running style will catch up to him. When NFL linebackers and safeties see quarterbacks running with no intention of sliding they put some extra juice on the hits. Nothing dirty, just hard hits. If Buffalo wants to destroy the career of Josh Allen, keep running the QB draws and designed runs.

    Lets look at the history of these great athletic QBs that run head first, Mike Vick, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen all miss games with injuries. If you want a career in the NFL like Tom Brady, Drew Brees or Aaron Rogers, don’t try and be a running back!

  26. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Ed, isn’t Hill the same guy?

  27. Jeffbuc Says:

    How great is this joe bucs fans. We are having a big discussion about how bad are defense was in the 4th quarter of a win. To take are record to 10-3. 5 years ago we’re having heated discussions with other fans about who they think we should draft with our top ten pick in December. But yet here we are just as passionate about both discussions. Great day to be a buc fan. Where we can complain about the defense after a win. And add to it a cupcake schedule remaining. 5 years ago we would be begging for 2-2 against the saints,panthers,jets, panthers. Now we’re talking about 14-3.

  28. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Bucs have won only 2 games this year where they didn’t have to score 30 or more points. Pat’s & Eagles and Eagles was 28 points. 3 of them were blowouts, Bears, Miami & Giants. So all you Bowles lovers there is clearly a defense problem. ALL 3 losses under 30 points.

  29. William Walls Says:

    How quickly our expectations have grown.

    It was just last year that we were really hoping our young secondary would grow to become an average unit by the final month of the season. Now we expect all-pro performance across the board in every game.

  30. Joe Says:

    But Joe, doesn’t BA proclaim he has a staff of Incrediable teachers who can get the most out of players.

    Great teachers but not magicians. You can make a guy smarter, you can’t make a guy do (fill in the blank) better physically. If a guy can’t execute, he cannot execute.

    Again, backups are backups for a reason.

  31. unbelievable Says:

    It’s sad that they just don’t have depth behind those 3 guys.

    Every time any 1 of them is out, we play soft zone and get picked apart. It’s kind of crazy when you think about it- neither Dean, nor Davis nor SMB is incredible are their own (though they;re all above average). But when they all are on the field the defense plays better, for sure.

  32. unbelievable Says:

    *is incredible on their own

  33. TampabayDJ82 Says:

    The AINTS are a shell of what they were last time we played them .. The Bucs D was ready for Winston , then he got hurt and they had no idea 💡 what the other guy was/wasn’t able to do.. And I don’t think the running back of a QB in T.Hill will be able to beat our BUCS !! We won’t lose again this season !! And to all the FAKE BUCS FAN’S , I can’t BELIEVE you all STILL FIND SOMETHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT !! If the Bucs win the Super Bowl again this year , I will remember ALL OF YOU THAT DOUBTED THE BUCS AND CRIED ALL YEAR OVER A TEAM WITH THE BEST RECORD IN FOOTBALL 🏈 AND THE BEST OFFENSE WE’VE EVER HAD.. GO BUCS

  34. Defense Rules Says:

    Listnfrmafar … Kind of a one-sided look at the Bucs’ offense & defense it seems. For one thing, Bucs put their money big-time into our OFFENSE & we should EXPECT that to pay off. Just look at the super-stars (including many 1st or 2nd round picks) that we put out there week-after-week, all led by the greatest QB of all-time (not exactly home-grown BTW).

    For another, our offense has stayed relatively healthy thus far, especially our QB, OLine & RBs. And our WRs have so much depth that we’ve always had at least 3 ready to go each week. And none of our offensive starters are exactly ancient (OK, except for the GOAT). Even some of our rotational guys on offense could start on many other teams.

    Our defense has been in quite a different situation this year as you’re aware. Many more injuries, much less quality depth for one thing. Not to mention that every takeaway our defense has gotten (25 thus far for a #5 ranking) have benefitted the offense in one way or another (they got the ball back for starters). Yet on the other hand, every giveaway by the offense (15 thus far for a #11 ranking) has ended up being a mess that the defense has gotten to either clean up or get charged with the points that were surrendered.

    Remember the Cowboys game when the Bucs’ offense turned it over FOUR times? Bucs defense surrendered 1 TD & 2 FGs on those giveaways (2 of those on short fields), to the Cowboys #2-ranked offense. Plus that same Bucs D forced 1 takeaway that gave the Bucs offense the ball at the Cowboys 35-yd line that ended with a Bucs’ TD. And yet all some fans do is cry that the Bucs’ defense gave up 29 pts in that game, and we only won because the Bucs’ offense scored 31 pts. Got it; I understand the logic.

  35. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    I’ve been supporting Dean since he came to this team!! He was awesome in college even after getting both knees operated on… Dude is one of the most underrated corners (along with Davis) in the NFL … In every single game he’s had to come out the defense crashes… Like I said I have been a supporter of him since the “Joe’s” were saying toss him to the curve after the Seattle game…. But man, all these injuries are sure starting to make him look weak… Woozy?? C’mon man you have to pay through certain things!! Every time he’s injured and has to leave a game he comes back the next week!! He has a low threshold for pain obviously… But man when he is healthy go back and look at some of his tape from this year and last, he shuts people DOWN!! He’s not as good with the smaller speedy cut guys cuz of his height and long legs but average size receivers dude shuts them down!! So does Davis!!

  36. Eddie Marz Says:

    And with that said, their still tied with the best record in The NFL. I’m just glad that it appears none of these injuries are season ending. Makes getting the top seed that much more important.GOBUCS!