Two-and-a-half seasons into his career, the jury is still out on Bucs CB Jamel Dean. There have been struggles, but when Dean is at his best, he looks like a quality starting cornerback in the NFL. That was the case on Sunday against Miami, as Dean recorded five tackles, broke up two passes and snagged an interception. With Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting on injured reserve, the Bucs desperately need Dean to step up.

In the fourth quarter, that’s exactly what Dean did. With the Bucs holding a 38-17 lead, Dean snatched a Jacoby Brissett pass after it bounced off wide receiver Jaylen Waddle’s hands. The turnover set up the Bucs final touchdown of the game. Two weeks ago, Dean was in a similar spot against the Rams, but dropped the interception.

“It’s a great feeling knowing I can make up for that easy interception I dropped in Week 3,” Dean said. “I set goals for myself. I said I was going try to get five [interceptions] this year. So now I can just say that’s one out of five I got so far.”

Dean’s big play was his first interception since his game-changing pick-6 of Aaron Rodgers in Week 6 of the 2020 season. The third-year corner is now up to four career interceptions, after recording two as a rookie. Considering the injuries to Davis and Murphy-Bunting, Dean will likely play every snap until one or both of them are back. That means plenty of opportunities to reach his goal of five interceptions. And the Auburn product believes that playing alongside veteran Richard Sherman will help him get there.

“Watching Richard Sherman, I’ve always looked up to him as a kid and I always tried to mimic my game after him,” Dean said. “Now, being able to watch him live, it’s helping a lot because I am more of a visual learner. It’s good having vets that can give us tips and pointers on what to expect and how to watch film. It’s just showing us the ways. We didn’t have that going into our rookie year. So, now that we’re getting it, we have something to build from.”

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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fredster
11 days ago

That Rams game was horrible. That early int could made difference. It was right in his hands. Anyways Dean worries me I hold my breath when any QB has time with all these CB’s especially him.

Last edited 11 days ago by fredster
Naplesfan
Reply to  fredster
11 days ago

Meh … the Rams game wasn’t “horrible” as in a beat down – it was just a loss on the road. We were hurt in that game mostly by a failure to pressure and rush the quarterback (a single sack), and by penalties (7 on the Bucs vs. 1 on the Rams), and a modest third down conversion rate (6 of 13 vs. 10 of 15), despite TB-12 passing for a ton of yards (411). When the pass rush is nearly non-existent, the DBs catch hell and it really is unreasonable to expect the DBs, especially a very young group… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by Naplesfan
drdneast
Reply to  Naplesfan
11 days ago

Agreed. But except for a couple of plays the Rams made it very difficult to mount a pass rush with the ball coming out on three step drops and not going further than 10 yards from the LOS. Two busted coverages was what lost the game and I don’t remembber Dean being involved in either one of them. What I do remember from that game was an obvious PI in the endzone by the Rams when they blocked the CB out of the play for a TD.

drdneast
Reply to  fredster
11 days ago

fredster, if you give any NFL QB time the CB is going to have trouble. The best pass defense starts up front, not in the back.

Action Jackson 72
11 days ago

I asked my Magic 8 ball about Dean it said “Signs Point to No.”

Captain Sly
Reply to  Action Jackson 72
11 days ago

Well he’ll have to do for now because the Bucs have no other options outside of somebody named ‘Desir’

Naplesfan
11 days ago

Carleton Davis seems to be the consensus best of the young defensive backs on the Bucs. But he has one more year of play in the league than does Dean, and he really didn’t produce much until his third year, which is where Dean is now approx. a little less than one third of the way through that season. So people should hold their fire on Dean until the end of this season and see where he’s at relative to the others. DBs rarely perform anywhere near their peak performance until their fourth or fifth season in the league, because… Read more »

drdneast
Reply to  Naplesfan
11 days ago

I don’t know about fourth or fifth season but I do know these Negative Nancy’s out here act like a pack of hysterical hens if a CB gets beaten around here. Just like they do when a certain LT makes a mistake. I know of only a few CBs in the history of the NFL who have never been badly beaten before.

scubog
Reply to  drdneast
10 days ago

You’re right about that Dr.D. Folks should watch other team’s CB’s and LT’s with the same critical eye. They’d soon realize our guys aren’t as bad as they thought. Sitting through 0 dash 26, when even a good Dave Green punt was cause for a high five, I’m much less cynical.

MCBRICKEL
Reply to  Naplesfan
11 days ago

Ronde Barber didn’t come-in to his own until year 3.

WVBuc
11 days ago

The concept our secondary seems to rely upon would have yielded a first down if the receiver had made the catch on the play Dean made his interception. Lots of cushion most of time, waiting for a miscue just like that…it’s nerve wracking when the pass rush doesn’t get home.

Spitfire
11 days ago

Dean has so much potential with the speed he possesses. It takes some CBs a few years for the reaction time and trusting their judgment to really settle in. If he sticks with it and continues to learn, he could be our best CB and cover just about anyone in the league. It’s just not gonna come in it’s own and he’s gotta work for it, but it will pay off in spades if he does.