Buccaneers: Why Jamel Dean is on pace for team MVP in 2021

Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Jamel Dean has become one of the most important players for the Buccaneers in 2021. 

The Buccaneers haven’t been able to count on their secondary much at all in 2021. With injuries to all of their main starters at one point or another, and with three set to miss extended time over the coming weeks, Jamel Dean has just become the most important player in Tampa.

Sure, Tom Brady makes some sense in this category for what he brings on offense, but that unit is less dependent on Brady than the defense is based on Dean to perform. Blaine Gabbert is certainly no starting quarterback, regardless of what fans glean from the offseason, but he is better suited to step into the starting role than some of the corners that have played for the Bucs this season.

The secondary in Tampa has been terrible to start the season. Almost every quarterback, even rookies, has passed with ease against this group. To be fair, most of these corners were on the team to play special teams only, but the Buccaneers still have to be ready to play with the cards they were dealt. Jamel Dean is healthy, so he is now the guy in Tampa.

The starting corner is likely the most important player on the defensive side of the ball. The pass-rushers bring importance in their own regard, but if that were everything in this pass-first game, the Washington Football team would be in a league of its own. Hint, they aren’t.

Teams lean on the pass in the NFL, especially against teams like the Buccaneers, making players like Dean so important when the rubber meets the road. Top-tier receivers won’t be able to go up against depth guys as much with Dean on the field, and the odds are high that he will follow the best opposing receivers over the coming weeks to slow offenses down.

This is a mountain of new responsibility for the Bucs’ third corner from the Super Bowl campaign, but Dean is ready. The one aspect holding him back over the years has been playing time, and now he will get plenty.

Opposing quarterbacks will still get tons of looks against the Buccaneers, but Dean at least complicates matters somewhat. Tampa has an easy stretch of games coming up, but all are must-win in a quest to make it back to the Super Bowl. If the Bucs can go undefeated in these games against weaker quarterbacks and offenses, Dean will have played a considerable role in that success, much like he did against the Eagles.

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