Is Jamel Dean the X-Factor for Buccaneers vs. Tyreek Hill?

Jamel Dean, playing at an elite level under Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Jamel Dean, playing at an elite level under Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Jamel Dean could change this matchup for the Buccaneers.

Carlton Davis has quickly solidified himself as one of the top man corners in the NFL. Despite any missteps in the game versus the Chiefs the first time in a horrible scheme, this fact remains, but the Bucs will have to rely on someone else to flip the script versus the fastest player in the NFL. Fortunately, the Buccaneers will have Jamel Dean this time.

In the first matchup with the Chiefs, Tyreek Hill posted video-game numbers. Thirteen receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns is one of the most incredible performances by a receiver ever, but Todd Bowles helped out significantly.

Why the Bucs put their slowest corner in single man coverage without a high safety over the top confounds the mind. Davis is excellent at the line of scrimmage and tying receivers up, but closing speed is far from his strong suit.

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Everyone who has ever watched Davis and Hill knew exactly how that game would go when the defense came out without a safety over the top of Hill. The Bucs did a disservice to Davis that night, and they were depleted in the secondary, but the rematch in the Super Bowl should go different.

Hill is easily the fastest player in the NFL today and probably the fastest player in league history. The Bucs don’t have a ton of speed in the secondary to counter this, but Jamel Dean’s absence in the first game did hurt. As the fastest corner on the roster, Hill could be Dean’s priority for the majority of the game.

Dean’s speed still doesn’t compare to Hill’s, but it is a much closer match than Hill and Davis. The Buccaneers need to play to their strengths, and while the whole Chiefs’ roster is a track team, Carlton Davis is better used somewhere else.

While Dean hasn’t been as productive this season as he was last year, his performance when healthy indicates that he can at least slow Hill down. The Buccaneers will already have to do everything in their power to limit Patrick Mahomes’ opportunities, and Dean will have to carry his weight as one of the top corners on the team.

This matchup will be extremely difficult for the Buccaneers, regardless of the personnel. Still, the combination of Dean returning from injury and additional safety help will keep Tyreek Hill from running wild like he did last time.

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