“One Of Those Tough Decisions We Have To Make”

August 9th, 2022

Their battle is on, says Todd Bowles.

Joe loves every inch of this reality.

Gift-giving has ended in the Bucs’ secondary. This year there’s intense competition for jobs where there wasn’t previously. And good health through Aug. 9 has ramped up the battle.

It’s been a strong training camp for cornerbacks Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting, Bowles said following practice today, and the duo is fighting for a starting outside corner job opposite big-money veteran corner Carlton Davis.

“One of those tough decisions we have to make,” Bowles said of the Dean-SMB competition. And it’s all that much more intense with newcomer free agent Logan Ryan in the mix for the nickel cornerback gig.

It’s at least possible that Dean or SMB, Super Bowl contributors and dudes in their contract years, will be on the bench most of the season. (Joe didn’t say likely, only “possible.”) And Joe believes that’s fueling one hell of a fiery competition. There’s an awful lot on the line.

Injuries decimated the Bucs secondary last season. There’s a little more quality depth now and, maybe, a little more motivation.

46 Responses to ““One Of Those Tough Decisions We Have To Make””

  1. Rotten Apple Says:

    SMB needs to go down the road

  2. Hodad Says:

    I really believe Logan Ryan has the slot job wrapped up. Winfield will play there also, but the thing is both players can line up either at safety, or slot and ball out. Ryan has already had some picks playing there in camp, more than we ever heard from SMB in the past. Dean, and SMB better worry about McCullom replacing them both on the outside.

  3. LVMYBUCS Says:

    I cant stand Dean after last years cry baby routine he could hit the road for all I care

  4. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    My money is on Jamel Dean…unless SMB takes a big leap forward.

    I could care less about a player complaining. Mike Evans was considered a whiner at first.

  5. SB~LV Says:

    I don’t really know or care

  6. ModHairKen Says:

    Jamel Dean, when healthy, is the most talented DB on this team.

  7. Maniac Buc Says:

    Dean and SMB are competing for free agent contracts. Neither will be back next year more than likely. McCollum has the inside track in that job in 2023 if he develops properly. With Neal, Ryan, Winfield, Edwards, SMB, Dean and Davis, there are so many combinations possible. Neal can even come down and give White or David a breather at MLB. Everyone will play and everyone will stay fresh. It will all sort itself out.

  8. GOB Says:

    Dean Dean Dean. The decision shouldn’t be that difficult. He has way more upside than SMB. I’m expecting a breakout year for Dean, and the bucs may regret signing Davis long term, instead of JD. If he has the kind of year he’s capable of and I’m expecting, he’s almost assuredly gone. You can’t find guys with his combination of length and speed.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    You can never have enough CBs or WRs…….I’m a bit tired of all the talk about next year already……
    It’s fantastic that we are drafting so well we can’t retain all of our picks……Whitehead & Cappa this year…..who will it be next year….Nelson, Edwards Dean, SMB?
    This is a sign of picking & developing good players….

    Ease up on the 23 talk….let’s focus on 22.

  10. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Read a report yesterday on NFL dot com that Neal And Ryan/Edwards at Safety with Winfield Jr. at nickel. Anyone see this?

  11. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Bye bye Bunting.

  12. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Good problem to have.

  13. 2022 Year of the GOAT RETURN Says:

    long season we need all the depth we can get…

  14. GOB Says:

    Dewey, I saw that too. I’m sure it’s a possibility. Ryan has lost a step, but has over 200 snaps at three different positions. At FS, he could have more of an influence on alignment, and positioning the other DBs. I’m not opposed to him in that role.

  15. geno711 Says:

    What seems to be missing in this article about the Bucs corners is that all of SMB, Davis, Dean and Ryan will get lots of snaps.

    Name me an NFL team that does not lose one of their cornerbacks for part of the season. It was not just the Buc’s last year. All of the NFL teams need guys.

    If SMB or Dean is sitting at the beginning of the year, fine with me. That means Logan Hall was better than the two best corners from the 2019 draft. That creates depth on this team in a passing league.

    Something really needed.

    3 years ago on this site, commenters were complaining that the Bucs actually were picking SMB and Dean and Edwards. Thinking for some reason that a team just needed two good corners in this passing league.

    The Patriots and Packers tend to have 4 or 5 corners every year that can play decent ball and it seems they end up playing them.

    I like the fact that if we have to go to a reserve it might be Jamal Dean instead of a bottle of cologne. (Pierre Desire)

  16. geno711 Says:

    Ryan Logan. Not Logan Ryan.

  17. Brandon Says:

    If anyone hates Dean, then they hate excellent players and need to hit the road themselves. Stupid fans say stupid things and should probably start rooting for the Jets.

  18. Don’t make a scene 35 Says:

    Got to be Dean
    Especially since I expect him to have better hands and 6-8 picks this year

  19. Mort Says:

    Ryan should be the nickel. If he isn’t, they better have a really good reason. Dean and SMB will both play a lot. Dean can’t stay healthy for 17 games, and SMB will be on the field a bunch as a result.

  20. sasquatch Says:

    geno711 Says:
    August 9th, 2022 at 2:57 pm

    Ryan Logan. Not Logan Ryan.


    Uh, no sir. The man’s name is Logan Ryan.

  21. TBChucky Says:

    Amen Brandon. Dean graded out as our best corner in coverage last season according to PFF.. I expect him to have a great season and make it hard for the Bucs to let him walk..

  22. Joe Says:

    Amen Brandon. Dean graded out as our best corner in coverage last season according to PFF..

    Uh, oh.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Dean should be a top 5 shutdown CB in the NFL.

    But he’s a pretty boy like SMB.

    I like tough CBs like Carlton Davis.

    Dean and SMB are both soft like Brent Grimes.

    Dean needs some of Brady’s fire, passion, and anger to reach his potential.

    He’s a mamas boy and pretty boy.

  24. Lt. Dan Says:

    I like it..”rich people problems”

  25. gotbbucs Says:

    They’ll all play….alot.

  26. Don’t make a scene 35 Says:

    If u look at the body of work both have put up 3 yrs in NFL
    Don’t know how u can come to any other conclusion
    Dean better tackler , allows far less receiver separation , much faster , bigger
    23 softer hands so far
    Also think Jamel having played in The SEC gave him so many reps against the best receivers out there many of them successful Pros now
    Vs Central Michigan
    Bit I’m biased for sure
    Hope SMB balls out for us however it shakes out he is a cool cat

  27. Duane Says:

    ride out the hot hand. Both will be better with the improved supporting cast. Dean likely gets the start, with SMB coming off the bench for every position. Ryan likely to get these guys straight this season.

  28. GOB Says:

    geno, yes. the Patriots and Packers have had great success with UDFA DBs. Belichick with JC Jackson, and Malcolm Butler. The Packers turned Williams into a pro bowler. It’s kinda like the Steelers with WRs. They just have a knack for it.

  29. Listnfrmafar Says:

    They both stink.

  30. Defense Rules Says:

    Have to disagree Listnfrmafar. They’re both very good actually, and will both get plenty of playing time this season, even with Logan Ryan thrown in the mix. Problem is that the Bucs will only be able to afford to keep one of them (they’ll BOTH get very nice contracts IF they stay healthy all year).

    I personally like Jamel Dean, and feel like he can be a Top-10 CB in this league. I think that he’ll have a very good year, but that so many other teams will want Dean that we’ll end up keeping SMB because of money.

  31. adam from ny Says:

    i see the back end as going to be very good this year…

    i see all three young guys really coming of age…

    and the addition of the vets a big plus…

    just imagine if we have one of the best secondaries in the nfl…

    it’s a possibility to fathom

  32. Rod Munch Says:

    We are a long ways from the days of Ryan Smith and Chris Conte being top players in the defensive backfield — and being the worst defense in football every year because of it.

  33. Don’t make a scene 35 Says:

    Listening to a BA press conference last year when Dean banged up
    I got the feeling Bruce challenged Dean to get tougher and the whole hurt vs injured
    Think he responded well
    Go Bucs

  34. Goatfarmer Says:

    Force everyone in the secondary who was there at the end of the Todd Bowles Bowl to watch the end-of-game consecutive Kupp catches on continuous loop for 12 straight hours. Including Todd. With their eyes taped open.

  35. Listnfrmafar Says:

    DR, if I had to choose I would take Dean also. Top 10, you’re reaching buddy. Did you watch the last Rams game? SMB is soft.



    Some fascinating insight.

  37. unbelievable Says:

    I’ve always like Dean more at outside vs. SMB as well. He’s taller, faster, and has more natural instincts for defending passes (though maybe not for catching interceptions). That said, feeling pretty good about who they get to choose form for each starting position group:

    Outside corners: Davis, Dean, SMB

    Nickel corners: SMB, Edwards, Ryan

    Safeties: Winfield, Edwards, Ryan, Neal

  38. unbelievable Says:

    ^ And Winfield could play the nickel role too, of course.

  39. Mike Johnson Says:

    Many of our cuts are gonna be gulped up by quite a few teams. Bucs got a lot of tough decisions to make.

  40. SlyPirate Says:

    They’ll keep all the CBs. Too many injuries last year not to. Love the competition. Love the depth.

  41. AlvaFan Says:

    Dean was embarrassed by Dallas in last years opener. He’s got talent but his work ethic is questionable

  42. sasquatch Says:

    ^ Who says his work ethic is questionable? Nobody has reported that before. Are you an insider at OBP? Or do you just make up sh!t?

  43. Brazen Zebra Says:

    It don’t matter. The Bucs are gonna win the Super Bowl no matter who’s in the secondary

  44. Goatfarmer Says:

    Calling a man’s work ethic questionable from your couch is pathetic, Elva. Easy to do but pitiful. Hypocrite much?

  45. AlvaFan Says:

    Thing was bully goat. He wasn’t ready to play. When the starter goes down it was his responsibility to be prepared to play yet there he was without a clue getting burned repeatedly. Work ethic goes beyond talent. The best are prepared when they’re needed. He should have been

  46. Statguy Says:

    SMB wasn’t healthy last year. Dean can be healthy and the fastest guy on the team and still find a way to be out of position or draw a PI call