There’s no way of knowing just how much better the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have handled Tyreek Hill and the Kansas City Chiefs if they had Jamel Dean on the field. However, according to early reports coming back from their bye week, we shouldn’t have to speculate about any ‘what ifs’ pertaining to Dean and the Minnesota Vikings’ passing game.
According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, not only has Dean returned to practice, he’s cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol well ahead of this coming Sunday’s match-up against the Minnesota Vikings.
#GoBucs WR Chris Godwin underwent a minor procedure this morning to have pins removed from his broken finger. CB Jamel Dean has been cleared from concussion protocol and will practice today.— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) December 8, 2020
Big news of course as the Bucs just went through a concussion recovery process with stud left guard Ali Marpet. Marpet’s recovery cost the sixth-year pro three games with the Bucs going 1-2 during the stretch.
Dean suffered his own concussion against the Los Angeles Rams, while Marpet was still in the league’s recovery program himself, and subsequently missed the following contest against the Chiefs.
Without Dean, the Bucs defense surrendered a season high 456-yards passing to Patrick Mahomes II and the Chiefs offense. It was just the third time in 2020 the Bucs secondary had allowed 300-yards passing or more with the previous two coming against Jared Goff and the Rams the week prior, and then Teddy Bridgewater and the Carolina Panthers back in Week 2.
Week 12 without Dean also led to just the third game this season where the defense didn’t register an interception with the previous two coming against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. The Chiefs contest also matched a season low in passes defensed as the Buccaneers got their hands on just two Mahomes pass attempts. Again, the previous low came against the Saints, in Week 9.
Of course with concussions nothing can ever be certain, but the fact Dean has cleared concussion protocol is a big step as the Bucs get set to host Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson and the Minnesota Vikings.
Another bit of injury related news from Stroud’s tweet updates the status of wide receiver Chris Godwin who has been playing with pins in his left hand since suffering an injury against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Godwin missed Week 8’s win over the New York Giants because of the procedure, but has played in four games straight since, contributing 24 receptions, 283-yards, and one touchdown in those appearances.
While unconfirmed at this time, the use of the word ‘minor’ in describing the procedure would lead this writer to believe there were no complications and doesn’t expect Godwin’s status for Week 14 to be impacted barring aggravation or new developments.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking to get healthy at just the right time coming out of their Week 13 bye week as they sit at 7-5 with the 6-6 Minnesota Vikings coming to town this weekend.
UPDATE: There was also this update from The Athletic’s Greg Auman, pertaining to left tackle, Donovan Smith.
Bucs appear to be very healthy coming off their bye — today’s a bonus practice so no injury report, but Jamel Dean and Donovan Smith both out there working today.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) December 8, 2020