Jamel Dean Happy Playing Man Coverage Again

November 14th, 2023

Comfort zone.

Probably way too much this year, Bucs coach Todd Bowles had his two best and priciest corners, Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean, playing more zone coverage than they would like.

Both guys excel at getting in the grilles of receivers.

The reason Bowles went to a zone more often, he explained, is because others in the secondary (no names mentioned) couldn’t play man coverage that well so he decided to roll more with zone.

That reasoning had all sorts of holes in it. First, why dilute your best corners so lesser players might stay on the field? That made no sense to Joe.

And why not play — in basketball terms — matchup defense? Davis and Dean could play man and the rest can play zone.

Well, after an airing of grievances and input from his players in a defense-only meeting last week, Bowles went back to the bread-and-butter defense that worked the past few years.

The result? Dean was put on Tennessee receiver DeAndre Hopkins. And he didn’t do squat. Dean held him to 27 yards on three catches. Hopkins was targeted eight times.

“You know, it’s a good feeling, because that’s basically my strength,” Dean said of playing man and playing tight. “To be able to execute my strength against a great receiver [was] a confidence feeling.”

The Titans are not the 49ers. But dang, don’t you want your better players to play in a defense that maximizes their skills?

Joe hopes Dean and Davis only play zone sparingly the rest of the season.

19 Responses to “Jamel Dean Happy Playing Man Coverage Again”

  1. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Somebody put Mike Smith’s playbook on Bowles’ desk and he didn’t notice for 8 weeks.

  2. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Say it ain’t so. The ghost of smitty lives on at Bucs place? That’s gotta explain it. Someone please exorcise that thing!

  3. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Dean is soft.

  4. BucsFanSince1996 Says:



    Bowles has deservedly earned the reputation of being a very good DC. It’s incomprehensible though as to why he’s been using his high-paid corners in a way to minimize their strengths.

  5. orlbucfan Says:

    Whatever works. Bowles needs to do these meetings more often, Bucs’ strength has always been the Defense. Canales oughta do it with his squad, too. Why not?

  6. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Bowels is an excellent DC but man he makes some bone headed calls. Like what you just typed Joe. It’s hilarious and ridiculous that these fans who comment say his defense is outdated or sucks. They have no clue what they are talking about we don’t win the SB without Bowles and his D shutting downs A-Rod Bree’s and mahomie. Play to your players strength Bowles come on man

  7. Usfbuc Says:

    Don’t understand Bowles mind at all. Supposed to be a good DC but misuses defensive players for half a season.

  8. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Who’s been knocking on that hard head?

  9. adam from ny Says:

    blanket ayuk and make him disappear this weekend…

    deal with the usual suspects…

    mccaffery – who we always seemed to shut down with carolina…

    debo – yeah he’s a problem

    kittle – just contain the mofo

  10. THETRUTH Says:

    That is why you have to question Bowles as head coach, it shows he is not in touch with his players if it takes a venting meeting to find out from them what they prefer or do best. HE HAS TO GO

    but wait no that it worked you will see the go back to 15 yard cushions

  11. SlyPirate Says:

    To level set. We learned this lesson last season. Not sure why/how Bowles forgot. Not sure why the team didn’t remind him.

  12. Jason Says:

    And why not play — in basketball terms — matchup defense? Davis and Dean could play man and the rest can play zone.

    I don’t know what the football version of the box and one is, but I’d love to see us use it. Just saying.

  13. JBBUCS_06 Says:

    wonder now much of this zone was due to our newly signed steal of a safety Neal #23?!? hmmm???? Dee Delaney #30 at Safety surely doesn’t have an issue playing man as a backup CB himself.

    BUT it thins the secondary w/ CD#24 and Josh Hayes both missing the game. Will see how well the injury situation is.

  14. Brandon Says:

    BA’s Red Pen Says:
    November 14th, 2023 at 9:10 am
    Dean is soft.


    You’re soft and your IQ is tiny.

  15. Global G Says:

    @ Jason I would think it would be Cov 1 or Cov 2 with man underneath coverage unless he is referring to LBer’s not being able to play man.

    But its kinda hard to run man on the outside and zone on the interior of the defense. That would leave huge areas of the field open.

  16. JimBobBuc Says:

    Yeah, man is best for Dean and Davis. No matter what we play in the backend, we’ll get beaten up without a pass rush.

  17. Proudbucsfan Says:

    This is evidence that Bowles is as stubborn as anyone in the history of the NFL. Who did Bowles learn from? None other than Bill Parcels the most stubborn coach in NFL history. Guess who the other stubborn active parcels crony is ? You got it, Bill Belichick. It took Bowles 9 games to figure out that something was wrong including his players bringing it to his attention. This man should not be the Buccaneers head coach. The best players on this team are only getting older, play to there strengths, man coverage and lots of blitzing on defense, on offense air it out and push the ball down field. It’s been so obvious even to the fans.Todd Bowles needs to go, unless he had an epiphany and is changing his way of thinking.

  18. Rod Munch Says:

    “Probably way too much this year, Bucs coach Todd Bowles had his two best and priciest corners, Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean, playing more zone coverage than they would like.”

    The Bucs have literally been playing zone over 90% of the time this season, often over 95% of the time. It’s not like they’ve been slightly more biased, they’ve been nearly exclusively a zone defense.

    Now that they had some success, you’d expect them to come out more aggressive for the 49ers – but I guarantee you that will not be the case. Bowles is much more worried about getting blown out, than he is concerned about winning, so he’ll come out in that super soft zone defense once again in order to be ‘safe’ and to try to keep it close — when it fact they’ll just get blown out again anyways. If you’re going to go down in San Fran, at least go down swinging, not sitting back in a soft passive zone.

  19. Don’t make a scene 35 Says:

    Damn my guy needs to catch that pick in end zone like a strong rebound under the hoop not let Hopkins strip it so easy
    We know he can cover up WR #1s like D Hop
    But come down with that ball bra !
    Go Bucs