Guessing Game

May 12th, 2017

“See if you can figure this out.”

Before the draft and very publicly afterwards, the Buccaneers salivated over O.J. Howard the way Joe does Rachel Watson.

There were so many talented players in the draft, even players the Bucs could have used more in other positions. So why did the Bucs have such an erection for tight end O.J. Howard?

Joe’s not suggesting Howard lacks talent. He may be the second coming of Ozzie Newsome, a rare talent. On Wednesday, defensive coordinator Mike Smith shed light on why winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter and AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht panted over Howard so.

In short, Koetter can now use Howard to play Jedi mind tricks on defensive coordinators, which in turn can create massive mismatches.

“It allows you to, as an offense, it allows you to be able to present formations that look like the run formations,” Smith said of using two-tight-end sets with Howard. “You can pass out of them, and they can be pass formations that you can run out of, and then it creates a mismatch.

“But having to defend two tight end formations, it is very difficult because of the amount of looks that you can get. … You’ve got a whole lot more flexibility in terms of what you can present to a defense when you’ve got two tight ends.”

The key here is that one of the tight ends, Howard, may be just as good of a blocker as he is a receiver. Luke Stocker, who is a fine blocker, isn’t much of a receiving threat. Defenses aren’t scared of him.

The opposite is true for Cam Brate, last year’s NFL leader in touchdown catches for a tight end. Most teams would donate a nad to get a guy like Brate. When he’s on the field, though, teams aren’t much scared of him blocking.

In other words, the offense can be predictable with Brate and Stocker on the field.

With Howard, provided he blossoms like most believe, the opportunities are endless. He’s just as likely to lock up a linebacker in a run play as he is exposing a seam over the middle for an explosive play.

And we all know how much Koetter likes explosive plays, maybe more so than he likes Howard, which is saying a lot.

52 Responses to “Guessing Game”

  1. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Yeah, Loved what Mike Smith had to say on the subject of a dominant 2 tight end offense. It was music to my ears. And echoes what I have been saying on the subject for months.


    “Blake_bucsfan Says:
    February 18th, 2017 at 5:15 am
    Tbbucs3. The point that myself and others are trying to make, is that if WR is our Number 1 priority, and all the top level guys are gone, then getting a Top flight TE is the next best thing.

    We Need #WeaponsForWinston and Modern day TE’s certainly have the propensity to be weapons.

    That’s without even mentioning the Versatile run/pass options out of dominant 2 TE set.

    Can you imagine our No huddle with ME13, DJax, Cam, O.J. and either Quizz or a talented young RB ( of which there are many to be had on day 2 of the draft )?

    I can. And it would be scary good.”

  2. Stanglassman Says:

    It echoes what all of us were saying in Jan. and Feb. e

  3. Rrsrq Says:

    @ Blake

    I remember those debates, I believe you and I were the few who was like take Howard if he is there regardless of Cam Brate, he makes the receiving core and offensive line better…

    How ya like us now 👍🏾

  4. Stanglassman Says:

    … Before the combine and OJ shot up the mock draft boards seemingly out of reach at pick 19.

  5. Stanglassman Says:

    The few? The only one on here who didn’t want OJ seemed to be JBF. He said we didn’t need him because we had Brate and it would take him off the field. Remember the trade Brate article.

  6. Stanglassman Says:

    Nobody suddenly got smart because OJ dropped to 19 it was a no brainer pick. We were all debating realistic options and Dalvin was one of them post combine. Nobody knows if who the pick or trade down choice would have been. Show me a post predicting OJ to the Bucs after the combine and I’ll be impressed.

  7. Jeagan1999 Says:

    I’ve been saying the same since January! Howard is a matchup nightmare. In the past, we’ve used the run, to set up the play-action passing game. Now it’s the opposite. Opposing defenses will have to respect the fact that Howard, Brate, Evans and Jackson are all on the field at the same time….by staying deep and not stacking the box….which opens up running lanes for our backs. Defenses will have to pick their poison! All Coach Koetter has to do is keep them guessing (by way of play calling) and keep up the protection for Jameis, and we will be able to dictate coverages! Expect to see a ton of “12 personnel” packages this season. And don’t be surprised if our running game doesn’t reap some of the benefits of our newly potent passing threats!

    Should be a fun year!

  8. tnew Says:

    This young man is going to fit in just fine.

  9. Wombat Says:

    I definitely wanted OJ at 19 over Cook, but as the draft drew near his stock went through the roof. Hopefully there will be a few GM’s who will be asked in the future “why the hell did you pass on Howard!!” Why he fell to us is a mystery, but we had a need at TE. Koetter is a two TE kinda coach, and it can be used as max protect for the long ball, which hopefully we can blow the lid off that finally!!!!

  10. Destinjohnny Says:

    We passed on some studs to take Evans at 2 and a just beckwith at the 3.
    I remember feeling the same way when we took charles sims over trai turner
    And asj over Jarvis laundry

  11. Fred E. Bucs Says:

    In my business, OJ is what we call a “force multiplier.” He adds so many other options for the offense, and as Joe points out…the mismatches that will come will be huge. I am really looking forward to seeing OJ and DJax…where DJax is lightning fast and OJ is unusually fast…both in on pass plays, with OJ as a downfield blocker, knocking stuff underneath out for DJax to take it to the house. I’m looking forward to seeing double coverage on Mike Evans leaving OJ open across the middle to do his finest Greg Olsen imitiation. Or Evans and two tight ends in and Cam Brate gets the ball on 2nd down and doing his normal thing. Endless possibilities. Holy crap…this offense…and yes…this defense perhaps (really like adding Mclain)…with our “new stadium” and re-energized fans is going to make some dang noise in Tampa that reaches Pelosi-land. I predict the Patriots lose four games in the regular season…on their way to the playooffs…and one of the losses will be on our (former) nemisis, Thursday night.

  12. Casual Observer Says:

    Don’t forget about the new Canadian TE in the mix as well. He is as big as OJ and nearly as fast. Apparently can block and catch too. With coaching, he might be another steal; another two-way weapon.

  13. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Still would sign Gary Barnidge to mentor this kid.

    Possible Depth Chart
    Cameron Brate | Antony Auclair
    O.J. Howard | Gary Barnidge

  14. Eric Says:

    Go across the league and coaches will be remarking on the steal they got in the draft and how much it is going to help.

    Howard appears to be a great pick, but Rosey predictions make me nervous as a bucs fan. Light at end of tunnel has so often turned into oncoming train.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Its not just the addition of Howard….how about Djax added to the mix. This will have a tremendous impact on our run game.
    Finally we have a complete offense at Tampa Bay.

  16. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    When I first heard about OJ and his skills then watched his film I knew if we got him our entire offense would improve. I was never on that Cook bus because he simply would not affect this offense the way OJ would. He was worth moving up 10 spots. We were very fortunate that after the 10th pick Licht was patient and then he fell to us. Once the pro game slows down for him and it becomes instinctive this offense will truly explode.

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It’s not simply the addition of Howard that creates problems for Defenses….it’s the addition of Howard and Djax……this will have tremendous impact on our ability to run. We finally ha

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We finally have a complete offense at Tampa Bay….

  19. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Yo casual can you imagine having two TEs who can block and are great downfield options as well? Brate and Stocker will have a hard time getting on the field.

  20. LUVMYBUCS Says:


  21. The Buc Realist Says:

    Word on the street was that the Bucs were going to grab the other TE from Miami if O.J. Howard came of the board!!!! Glad to see the offense becoming balanced and explosive!!!!!!!

    Though some had the answers over a year ago!!!! Flash back Friday continues

    The Buc Realist Says:
    August 2nd, 2016 at 9:28 am
    Fans will say that WR then TE will be the biggest “need” for the 2017 draft!!!

    “The Buc Realist” or “The Buc Prophet” !!!!! you be the judge!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!

  22. Gencoimports Says:

    If you look at Gronk and Jimmy Graham’s numbers their rookie seasons, neither set the world on fire. It wasn’t until their 2nd season did they start to catch 80-85 balls.

    So, if Howard only catches 30-40 passes this year, we may not see the full benefits of these mismatch formations. Defenses might gamble, not fully respecting him as a receiving threat.

    Hopefully Howard proves this wrong, and adjusts to the NFL faster than other stud TEs.

  23. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Just curious Realist where you heard the Bucs were taking a TE come hell or high water. As far as I can tell nobody outside of OneBuc seems to have any idea of who was next on their wishlist after Howard. I read all things Bucs and I haven’t seen or heard anyone say definitively which direction the Bucs were going if Howard was off the board.

  24. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Don’t even bother TouchDown, it’s useless when people are legends in their own minds. When people think they’re smarter than anyone else they tend to love the sound of their own voice just like their president the ultimate snake oil salesman.

  25. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Gencoimports the one thing we have that will help him is our very own F A M E I S J A M E I S who doesn’t care if you’re a rookie or a vet if you’re open he will feed you!

  26. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    (WR) Mike Evans had Vincent Jackson
    (CB) Veronon Hargraves had Brent Grimes

    Currrently, we don’t have a true veteran Y-Tight-End to mentor this kid.
    That’s why I keep harping on us to sign Gary Barnidge.

  27. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    *Vernon Hargraves

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Realist, you REALLY have to get over yourself. Every other thing you post nowadays digs back into your own JBF archives. Yesterday’s gone. New stuff … we need new stuff. By the way, virtually no one thought OJ would be there at #19. And I can’t think of anyone since the draft who’s said ‘Oh what a bad pick’. No Buc Prophet for you. Stick with Realist.

    Oh and now that we’ve got all these awesome new toys, let’s not forget that the game is still played mano-a-mano. Lots of ‘dream teams’ proved to be anything but. Bucs as a T-E-A-M still have oodles of work to do to pull it all together. Best thing we have going for us right now IMO is a fantastic coaching staff & a starting QB who knows how to lead the parade.

  29. Buc50 Says:

    DavidBigBucFan99 I couldn’t have said it any better

  30. Guzzie Says:

    LIVMYBUCS….it’s Hargreaves buddy

  31. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    I learned so much from that 22+ minute Mike Smith presser. It was fantastic.

  32. Duke Says:


    It was never a T.E. or bust . Why, because at the end of the day only one team has first dibbs. Everybody else has scenarios for the possibility that the player they are targeting is taken off the board before they have the opportunity to pick.
    That’s common sense and really shouldn’t have to be pointed out.

    Now, to the T.E. question. I’m a firm believer in if wish to divine a team’s intention look at who and when they have scheduled for private visits to the team facility. In this case, the Bucs first few private visits were scheduled with all of three top T.E. prospects. Howard early was mocked to the Bucs but that changed quickly as Howard shot up the mock boards.

    Another strong azzz indicator was comments made by DK before the draft where He went on at length to describe the need for a T.E.. This of course was overlooked immediately by all most everyone as the Cook Welcoming committee was already at a fevered pitch. Or hysteria if you consider the state of premature euphoria that swept up Tampa Bay Fans and Media types.

  33. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    LUV I have a question I know you’ll have an answer. I’m curious to know what’s the difference between a player being released and contrast to a player being waived???

  34. 813bucboi Says:

    Realist, you REALLY have to get over yourself. Every other thing you post nowadays digs back into your own JBF archives…..

    AMEN BROTHER!!!!…..LOL…..

    Dirk has the pieces in place to become more creative with his play calling….make it happen….GO BUCS!!!!

  35. Duke Says:


    It’s May for heaven’s sake, it’s ok to think positive we’ll be undefeated for another 4 months.

    I didn’t see Lovie as that light at the end of tunnel. Rather,
    I saw Lovie as the guy, who after a long journey in a packed rail car, tells me to hurry along and enjoy a refreshing shower.
    When I can clearly see smoke coming from the field, He replies, “anyone who knows….blah blah …….blah.

  36. Kobe Faker Says:

    Block, block, block…..

    Screw that! Yes the 2 te hands down at the edge of LOS is fine, but the new NFL normal puts these great separating route running RAC TEs on the slot and wide to isolate against weak pass covering linebacks and safetys. The jordans, kelces and gronks are motioned to make explosive plays receiving

    Gronk is the best blocking TE but he is out wide most of the time

    I have a feeling koetter is going to make him a luke stocker with a tan

    “DIRRRKK, Im watching you!”

    Kobe Faker

  37. webster Says:

    This line of thinking offensively is only news to the joes. Many posters who did not have an erection for dalvin cook continued to say the same thing as mike smith and we were just as excited as the bucs when oj was picked. It was funny to see joe write articles like “why are so many fans trying to get rid of brate.” That was funny because no fan wanted that. We wanted to add to that and adding OJ made perfect sense.

  38. webster Says:


    What are you talking about? You cant be serious? You know i see posters attacking you all the time and i never jump in but dawg, you cant be that clueless? You think the bucs drafted a tight end in the first round just to be a blocker? Have you not heard the bucs discuss splitting this guy out wide due to his skill set? Come on man. Enough is enough!!

  39. Bucfan951 Says:

    Howard the blocker and Goodwin the blocker… I’m liking what licht is putting together. Pass the kool aid.

  40. Kobe Faker Says:

    I know Dirk like the back of my flat behind

    As HC he is a conservative timid playcaller. When the heat is on, he goes turtle. We will more like the jacksonville jaguars when he was OC

    Drug Martin, didnt go any where and will not go anywhere because DM is Koetters Maurice jones drew flashback safety net

  41. Pickgrin Says:

    Wanna see my dead on Rhealist impersonation?

    Look at me – Look at me! I’m smarter than everyone else. I have insider information. I know more about football than all you sheeple. Joe even scours his recent archives for new story ideas.

    Pickgrin Says:
    May 3rd, 2017 at 10:34 am
    A talent like OJ Howard creates all kinds of opportunities for the Bucs offense.

    No more tipping the defending team off regarding run or pass just by glancing at the TE. Seriously. How many passes did Luke Stocker haul in last year? How many good blocks did Cam Brate make inline? Having either one in allowed opposing defenses to predict run or pass on the upcoming play with about 95% accuracy just by identifying 84 or 88 in the huddle. Its a bigger deal than most realize.

    Having a good blocker like OJ Howard available to help the Tackles chip the defensive ends or pick up outside blitzers on “passing downs” will give Winston more time to find an open target.

    Having a big, athletic, pass catching target that runs as fast as our fastest running backs will create mis-matches vs LBers, Safties and nickle CBs every time Howard runs downfield.

    Running 2 TE sets with both TEs being excellent blockers and/or both TEs being very capable receivers as we will regularly start doing is going to open up the playbook in ways we can’t even yet imagine. A creative offensive mind as good as coach K is will thrive with such a luxury that very few teams have or can prepare against.

    Thank you Jon Robinson for going Defense with pick #18. That was quite the gift. I don’t know how Licht knew he would – but he knew….

  42. mrcajones Says:

    @love from @webster….”you can’t be that clueless” answe the man please….

  43. mrcajones Says:

    @kobe. ……..answer….#innin spell check

  44. mrcajones Says:

    F<c&&in…..spell check

  45. The Buc Realist Says:


    Not bad!!! too bad you did not say that back when ASj was still on the roster!!! Then you might have something!!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    May 24th, 2016 at 8:32 am
    I hope that next years draft is deep with WR and TE, because that will be the Bucs biggest needs that will be appearent into the offseason!!!! All the TE’s seem to be good at one specific thing, I would like (and the front office and team) is a little more diverse in the position especially!!! And more speed at WR!!!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    November 6th, 2016 at 12:33 pm
    While DS76 had a very rough 2 games. I think that this can be fixed by drafting a very good TE that can both catch and block so he stays on the field thru most snaps!!! If We had such a TE it will help the O-tackles by chip blocking and funneling the speed rushers right to DS76 or DD69!!!! The TE can then still run a pass route or block in the second level!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!

    pickgrin with the right assessment!!! But The Buc Prophet said it months and months ago!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!

  46. Capt.Tim Says:

    There were a lot of us, who were preaching the virtues of The Two TE set.
    Koetter loves it. Jameis loves it
    Both for good reasons

    Having Brate and Howard is a luxury I didnt see happening. It will change this offense, every bit as much as the Desean Jackson Addition.

    Any time you add a player, who creates an almost insurmountable mismatch, you’re putting another hand closer to the Lombardi.

    This should be fun to watch

  47. Pickgrin Says:

    That’s hilarious that I was making fun of you Rhealist and yet you were still compelled to take it seriously and try to “one up” me. LOL – thanks for the “assist” Oh Holiest of football visionaries and prognosticators.

  48. webster Says:

    Just read an article on the internet and i wont type where out of respect for the joes. The theme was oj was the bucs priority period. Cook was nowhere in his stratosphere is how i comprehended the article.

  49. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Pickgrin- You are missing about 37 exclamation points fyi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. Blackmagic00 Says:

    @bucsfanman, you made me spit my monster all over my desk with that exclamation comment. That’s hilarious.

  51. biff barker Says:

    Having a big, athletic, pass catching target that runs as fast as our fastest running backs will create mis-matches vs LBers, Safties and nickle CBs every time Howard runs downfield.

    It’s this.

    This is a smarter pick because a guy with all the tools can make any RB look better.

    Hope the Canadian kid Auclair turns out, love to see a jumbo package w/OJ. The only thing better is to add a 250 pound short yardage back.

  52. DavidBigBucsfan99 Says:

    Kobe there’s an old proverb; it’s better to let people think you’re a fool than to open your mouth (or put your thoughts to a Bucs board) and remove all doubt. Not calling you a fool cause you make sense at times and are entertaining but that last post got you on the edge of foolishness. You should read pickgrins post about the benefits of having a great dual threat like OJ.

    You call Koetter a passive play caller? Don’t you remember the schlacking the Doityboids gave us 3 years ago? That was Koetter calling those plays. Did you forget the Hall of Fame TE he coached? Did you forget that last year his only true offensive weapons were Fameis and Evans? You must have making that statement. You’ve fallen and you can’t get up old man!