The Starter At Corner Opposite Carlton Davis? Todd Bowles Knows.

August 29th, 2022

Bucs CB Jamel Dean.

With the exception of Ryan Succop, Bucs coach Todd Bowles yesterday was reluctant to name anyone who has won a starting gig.

Of course, most fans can name the starters; few if any slots up for grabs. One position was, and that’s the full-time starter at corner. The Bucs consider the slot corner to be a starter because he will be on the field so often, but that’s not a full-time starter.

So playing opposite Carlton Davis, will it be Jamel Dean or Sean Murphy-Bunting? Bowles said he knew but the winner didn’t know, so Bowles was keeping that intel in-house.

“Obviously, I have a starter in mind at this spot, but we’ll discuss it with the coaches later,” Bowles said. Dean and SMB “had very good training camps when it came down to it, but we have one guy in mind that played very well, so we’ll talk about it amongst ourselves,and we will come out with a starter.”

Well, if we use the 2020 season as a guide, where injuries were not much of a factor, SMB might be the frontrunner here. In 2020, SMB had 882 snaps on defense compared to Dean’s 708.

Last year, injuries totally threw off the snap counts. SMB blew out his elbow in the season-opener against the Cowboys and was lost for nine starts. When he did return, SMB’s tackling was an issue and this showed up most glaringly at the worst time, the playoff loss to the Rams.

Now if you continue to try to guess the frontrunner opposite Davis, Bryan Knowles of Football Outsiders seems to think Dean will be that guy.

Jamel Dean was forced into a more prominent role due to injuries in the secondary and handled himself well. In the five weeks where [Carlton] Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting were both out, Dean allowed just a 46.1% completion rate and 5.5 yards per target despite often having to match up with the top receivers on the field.

Knowles also wrote that Dean can’t stay healthy and SMB can’t stay consistent. Six in one hand, half-dozen in the other

SMB was one of the heroes of the 2020 playoffs. He had three picks in three NFC playoff games and his pick against choke artist Aaron Rodgers late in the first half at midfield in the NFC Championship game directly set up Scotty Miller’s glorious touchdown bomb that proved to be the winning score.

However, as Jerry Glanville once said, the NFL stands for “not for long.” As great as that postseason was for SMB, that’s almost two years ago.

26 Responses to “The Starter At Corner Opposite Carlton Davis? Todd Bowles Knows.”

  1. Brandon Says:

    There should be no question, Dean is actually our best and most feared CB on the roster. No offense to Davis, but Dean is better and has proved it.

  2. Austin Says:

    I mean stats dont lie, Dean is a Dawg, still like SMB

  3. Dooley Says:

    SMB has a higher football IQ than Dean and I’d bet that’s partly why he’s gotten the early nod to be the projected starter. Doesn’t mean it stays that way for the entirety of the season.

  4. geno711 Says:

    I think it will be Dean.

  5. gus georgiou Says:

    If its SMB, we will be in trouble. Other than that decent run in the playoffs the one year, he has been a bust. Can’t cover anyone and damn well can’t tackle anybody.

  6. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I prefer Dean over Bunting.

  7. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Mr Bean is obviously better. Is he going to come out every time he gets nicked up like last year?

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Dean is better than SMB but not Davis… have to consider that Davis is usually lined up against opponents # 1 WR……

    We have a pretty good secondary now that we have added Logan Ryan & Keano Neal….and they have all gotten more experience.

  9. BillyBucco Says:

    I think Dean is more physical and has this defense down now.
    If he can stay healthy, he is capable of a Pro Bowl season.

    With a contract year for Dean, it would be a shame to not even start.
    Can’t remember the site or stats exactly, but at one point both Dean and Davis were in the top 5 pf passes deflected/defensed over a 3 year period.

    Believe it or not 15-20 in a season is phenomenal.
    Most NFL receivers are open at a point in their route.
    Getting a hand on a pass is hard in the NFL.

    With that being said, Dean gets way more deflections than SMB.
    I like SMB, but he hasn’t PROVEN anything to me yet.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘Knowles also wrote that Dean can’t stay healthy and SMB can’t stay consistent.’

    So the hit on Jamel is that he can’t stay healthy, yet he’s played in 1 more game than SMB since 2019 when they were both rookies?

    Dean SHOULD get the nod hands-down. His completion percentage allowed is a measly 53.7% compared to 69.2% for SMB. Jamel has only allowed 1,036 total yards in 3 years (10.0 yds/completion), compared to 1,734 yds allowed for SMB (12.8 yds/completion). Jamel’s also only allowed 6 TDs in 3 yrs vs 13 TDs allowed for SMB. Sorry, I don’t see all that much of a contest there for OUTSIDE CB.

    Nickel CB is a different story, and that’s where SMB should get the nod. Unfortunately for SMB there’s a fly in the ointment named Logan Ryan who I suspect will see a lot of time on the field at BOTH safety & nickel. Our Secondary has much better DEPTH than last year.

  11. Maniac Buc Says:

    I find out everyday on this site that the bar to be a bust for Bucs fans is really low.

    I like Dean, but SMB as a bust is laughable…

  12. Pryda...Sec147 Says:

    Dean has all the tools to be a #1 smb I think he is good at Nickle

  13. dmatt Says:

    Don Gardner is hungry, he’s out for Dean or SMB’s job.

  14. Buc92’ Says:

    Dean all day, smb is just smarter bt wayyy to soft & never in position to make a play on the ball, so what good is the smarts … They need to stop disrespecting Dean year in & year out he’s proved his game


  15. Dreambig Says:

    Don’t know if it means anything but SMB was on special teams in the 2nd half against Indy, standing upright watching others tackle the punt returner. My guess is Dean has won this battle.

  16. Drebucsfan Says:

    I believe maybe we’ll start Ryan, he’s had the best camp ad Todd has raved about him since he’s been here. Winfield plays slot while Neal plays safety along with along with edwards

  17. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Dean needs to help out the pass rush, and not laying far off the WR, and just let Dak pick on him again.
    That neutralizes the pass rush.

    Hopefully Dean has a much better game this time

    Anyone care to watch the tape of last years game by the DB’s against Dallas, if you rank horror shows, it would rank right up there with Fri the13, and Dak was Freddie Kruger tormenting Dean.

    The heck with stat babble, lets see a good game played.
    Stats are good, but not to be used to put makeup on some ugly play, when we all saw otherwise.
    I hope the CB’s actually start to jam receivers at the line and mess up Daks timing and fight some, not just lay off soft stuff.
    I know you need to mix up coverages, but laying off all the time is crazy. This is not the 1980’s and garbage prevent defense of the era.

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  18. matthew veal Says:

    No known starter gets you a high rating for your roster.

    Stay healthy, my friends!

    The opposite is not so good

  19. Duane Says:

    Dean has more upside, but kinda feels like he never plays to potential. I like SMB better because at least I know what to expect. I gotta believe SMB will be better with 2 working arms this season. Either way, having one as a reserve is much better than what we had last season.

  20. Cobraboy Says:

    “Starter” is meaningless in situational football, especially when 5-6 DB’s are on the field at once.

  21. Francisco Guzman Says:

    Secondary is still the biggest concern with this team. They will face very good passing attacks early. They gotta learn how to cover. Can you honestly say they got better in the offseason? They brung everyone back that got toasted.

  22. Don’t make a scene 35 Says:

    Looks like the Joe Bucs fans have decided!
    It’s just Dean !
    Go Bucs

  23. 99 55 47 20 Says:

    Hey Jamel!

  24. Pickgrin Says:


  25. TampabayDJ82 Says:

    Either way they will both be on the field almost every play. It just depends on who’s on the outside and who’s playing the nickel/slot corner. Throw in some Logan Ryan and we can do some great things. Health is everything though. Go Bucs

  26. Maniac Buc Says:

    @DJ82, neither will be on the inside, so it does matter. The new slot corners are Winfield and Ryan.