So Which Corner Starts Opposite Carlton Davis? Todd Bowles Not Ready To Anoint.

September 1st, 2022

Bucs CB Sean Murphy-Bunting.

The defense is pretty much set. One mystery is who will start at cornerback opposite Carlton Davis?

Bucs coach Todd Bowles said at his Thursday presser he’s not yet ready to trumpet who will get the green light. Besides, Bowles tried to say, the winner and the runner-up at that position will get a whole lot of snaps either way.

“Not yet,” Bowles answered when asked if he was ready to announce the final starting spot on the defense. “Not ready to make a declaration on it.

“They are both playing well. Between who starts and who plays everywhere else is going to be like both of them are playing anyway.”

Of course, the two corners in question are Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting. Both have plenty of starting experience. Bowles sort of warned reporters that the word “starter” when referring to a full-time corner and a more-than-part-time slot corner is just semantics.

Whoever starts, if healthy, better plan on taking every defensive snap, Bowles said.

“I try to stick two corners out there the whole game,” Bowles said. “We don’t rotate corners. We have packages where people do other things but we don’t rotate corners, normally.”

If SMB can somehow reach back and play as he did in the 2020 NFC playoffs, Joe believes he’s a no-brainer starter. If not, Dean, who sort of established himself last year as a quality starter, would likely retain that job.

28 Responses to “So Which Corner Starts Opposite Carlton Davis? Todd Bowles Not Ready To Anoint.”

  1. Ash Says:

    I want dean to be the starter but I have a feeling it’s going to be smb.

  2. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Would prefer Dean

  3. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I think SMB’s motivation is better (he loves football) where Dean seems to only be motivated by the money. That said Dean held opposing QB’s to a team best 48.5% completion rate last year. That is with 5 games without SMB or Davis III. He should start….let’s just hope he can squeeze the football this year.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Dean clearly better

  5. Don’t make a scene 35 Says:

    Be smart Todd and Rock
    35 gives us best chance to win IMO
    Go Bucs

  6. Craig Says:

    SMB should be healthy, and he is more of a ballhawk, so he will get it.

    Dean will probably be saved for those games where the Bucs need a heat seeking missile to destroy something.

  7. CrackWise Says:

    It won’t matter who he picks. They won’t be better than the 2020 equivalent.


    Dean for sure. CMB sucks.

  9. Kgh4life Says:

    The problem with both Dean and SMB, is that they have no field awareness and they’re not mentally tough.

  10. Goatfarmer Says:

    Hey Todd – ever heard of Cee Dee Lamb? There’s this thing you can do. It’s called “double coverage” on a team’s best receiver when they are lean elsewhere. That means two defensive backs cover one guy. It’s often more effective than not covering a team’s best WR at all.

    I know. Radical. Not as sexy as describing integral equations then calling zone coverage schemes.

  11. Buc92’ Says:

    Smb is a pretty boy very fragile & soft . Dean all day


  12. Dooley Says:

    3 starting caliber CBs all at the age of 25. SMB or Dean, I’d be fine with either getting the nod. SMB made us forget about Vernon Hargraves really quick in 2019 and to me Dean has taken a little longer to merry his athleticism to how he plays the game between his ears. Looked good in 2021 in place of SMB, but was also injured from time to time.

    To hear Bowles talk about not liking to rotate his CBs, to me confirms the fact that we didn’t see the scheme deployed with the same variety we did in 2020 in 201 with the constant churn of different personnel rotating in and out of the back end last year. Heading into this year, with 5 CBs & 4 safeties, I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see more of that 3 safety personnel with guys like Edwards, Logan and now Winfield being cross trained at Nickel. Especially with the suspiscion of Keanu Neal being the moneybacker flipping between box saftey, covering TE & RBs, and yes, blitzing.

  13. Bird Says:

    Open competition and both looking for payday. Its a win win.

    Dean is more talented i think but soft

  14. Marine Buc Says:

    Both SMB and Dean are competent and healthy. Based off of preseason I would guess SMB gets the CB2 job but Dean will still be on the field 75-80% of the defensive snaps anyways…

  15. BillyBucco Says:

    I think this is a hard choice for Bowles given his relationship with Dean.
    SMB flashed and then got hurt.
    I trust Bowles to make the right decision for the team.

    With Winfield playing slot, and Ryan coming in to his safety spot on nickel looks, the odd man out will play, but far less than last year.

    If SMB wasn’t the slot answer, how well will he do outside?

  16. Drebucsfan Says:

    Tbh I’m not sold on either or..C Davis is SOLID but not great the other 2 are at best average. Let’s pray the pass rush gets there first. If not, then the secondary will get exposed..Winfield is nice in the slot I’d start Ryan at outside corner opposite of Davis…if NEAL is healthy start him opposite of m edwards…smb and Dean nice depth now let’s roll!!!

  17. unbelievable Says:

    I agree with you Ash.

    I think SMB is the “smarter” player, but Dean has better natural instincts and physical ability.

  18. Lennon Duncan Says:

    SMB all day too many haters, let’s get it 💪🏿

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    They’ve both played the same number of games (within 1). Jamel has only allowed 53.7% completions against him, while SMB has allowed 69.2% in the same 3 years. Dean’s given up a total of 6 TDs in those 3 years, while SMB has been torched for 13.
    Seriously, how is this even a contest for starting OUTSIDE corner? Dean is one of the best in the NFL. And yes he even has 1 more INT than SMB (despite the fact that he drops an occasion gimme).

  20. ClwJB Says:

    SMB is the zone option and Dean is man to man –

    Seems like the gameplan week to week might have a lot to do with who starts and who pinch hits

  21. AbucAway Says:

    Indecisive or holding em close. Hopefully the later

  22. Pickgrin Says:


    Unless SMB starts making a bunch of plays and has clearly improved – which is possible….

  23. David Says:

    I feel like Dean will take it because he’s quicker but as long as they both stay healthy & both see the field, I think they’re both going to take a big jump forward.

    Between them and Winfield, Ryan, Edwards and Neal… They have a lot of guys who can play in the slot.


  24. JimmyJack Says:

    Defense Rules dont buy the hype. Who officially is declared the starter is blown out of proportion. Alls it means is you are out there for the 1st play, which is generally a running down. It doesnt mean one is a better outside corner then the other.

    When it comes down to it, and we are in a passing down, Dean and Davis are guarding the sidelines. Its been that way for 2 and a half years now and wont change.

    I expect Bunting to be the starter and when its late in the game and the other team has to throw Dean is covering the outside

  25. August 1976 Buc Says:

    If Dean is one of the best based on play in the NFL, then the bar is super low.
    Stat babble does not hide actual game film.
    Scared play is not great play.

    If he was so great then he would have had this job locked down back in the spring.

    I hope he steps up and plays a lot better than getting picked on by Dak again this year.

    Maybe go and watch games again from last year, because it was not pretty in the defensive backfield.

    Maybe Dean could actually jam the receiver at the line? At least sometimes?

    This is not about talent, Dean has plenty of talent, this is about playing with confidence and not being afraid to get beat.

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  26. Nate Says:

    What about sherman!

  27. CleanHouse Says:

    Dean is my favorite corner, hope he starts and puts it all together

  28. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    “quality starter” ?? … Dude was top ten in the league… Dean and Davis are the obvious starters! They tried starting Murphy last year and he got smoked over and over and then got hurt!! … Dean is a far better corner accept against the smaller quicker better route running guys!! … A guy like Micheal Thomas the tall, normal speed out body you type of receivers he dominates!!