With news that Carlton Davis III is still injured and will miss the game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Buccaneers will again start with Jamel Dean at corner.
The rookie, Dean is blessed with great natural talent but was victimized by Seattle last week in the passing game. Whilst fans might be apprehensive about the rookie seeing extended playing time against Arizona, Bruce Arians seemingly doesn’t echo those concerns and spoke after the loss against the Seahawks to say that Dean,
“For a young guy, that’s what you have to take, and as a coach, that’s what you have to take. You have to take what he did really well and build on it because he’s going to be a heck of a player. He’s a big, long, physical guy. He had Metcalf, that wasn’t an easy matchup, but he handled it pretty well. That long one at the end, we had zero coverage. Somebody’s got to get home and hit the quarterback; that’s not his fault.”
Regarding the performance of Jamel in red zone defense,
“Jamel got thrown in there. He won some, he lost some. Just technique stuff down in the red zone. He had a tough matchup, but I think he’s a guy that’s got enough confidence that he’ll bounce right back. I think he’s going to have a hell of a career in front of him. Losing Carlton pregame hurt, but he jumped out there and held his own for a while.”
What should add a touch of confidence to fans is that defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles added,
“I think it will benefit him a lot mentally because when he did the right thing, he did it well. As the game went on and they got faster in the fourth quarter, he had some things that he’d like to have back that he can learn from, from an experience standpoint, that we’ve been working with him. I think that game will carry him the rest of his career and probably fuel his career.”
Bowles was even asked if any bad games stuck in his mind over his career, possibly the media implying about Dean’s performance. This was shut down as Bowles replied,
“I don’t know if games stay with me, but in my career, a lot of bad plays stay with me. I remember a lot of bad plays, but my first game wasn’t like that. I wasn’t exactly thrown in there like that. I had time to mature and develop, so I can’t recall that from that regard. But like I tell all of the rookies, ‘After your first day, you’re not a rookie anymore.’ When you’re thrown in there, you’ve got to be ready to play. You study, and you hear everything. Obviously, it’s different when you’re playing a game in the atmosphere up there. I’m not going to make excuses for Jamel Dean. He will learn from it. He made some good plays. He had some plays he’d like to have back. As I said, he will grow from it. He understands that, and he is determined to be good, so that’s the good part about it.”
As we’ve seen some progression from the rookies on defense, coaches and fans alike will be hoping to see that Dean continues to improve and be the player he was expected to be when drafted.
One thing is for sure, if Dean loses out in the early exchanges, it could be a long day for the former Auburn corner.