Lay Off O.J. Howard

September 26th, 2017


When the Bucs got curb-stomped Sunday in Minneapolis — look at all the defenders that got hurt — it made Joe want to hit the panic button.

But on O.J. Howard? Hell, no.

But there it was, creeping into Joe’s Twitter timeline and in various comments on this here website; the Bucs made a mistake not drafting Dalvin Cook over O.J. Howard.

Joe can’t go there.

Look, Joe lobbied for Cook who Joe believed — and still does — was the most dynamic running back in the draft. But when Howard fell to the Bucs, it was understandable why they selected him.

This guy, Howard, is no Moe. Howard in due time will be a true monster.

Yes, Bucs fans are impatient because Howard hasn’t made a significant impact yet. But Joe during training camp talked to former Bucs tight end Anthony Becht, who of course loves Howard. However, Becht told Joe he did not expect Howard to do anything in his rookie year because the position is so difficult for a rookie to learn and master.

Then Joe was reading the latest from data-driven, limousine-ridin’, jet-flyin’, kiss-stealin’, data-analyzin’, Bucs-film-studyin’ Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times. He noted how rare it is for rookie tight ends to show up.

To expect seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown two games into a career isn’t realistic. Only 10 tight ends have reached 600 receiving yards in their rookie season, with the Seahawks’ John Carlson the last to do so in 2008.

So Joe started doing some hunting and pecking to see what some of the game’s better tight ends did as rookies in yards receiving.

Travis Kelce: zero yards.
Cam Brate: 17 yards.
Delanie Walker: 30 yards.
Eric Ebron: 248 yards.
Kyle Rudolph: 249 yards.
Martellus Bennett: 283 yards.
Jimmy Graham: 356 yards.
Greg Olsen: 391 yards.
Tyler Eifert: 445 yards.
Jordan Reed: 449 yards.
Zach Ertz: 469 yards.
Rob Gronkowski: 546 yards.

Howard, through two games, has 29 yards receiving, more than Brate and Kelce’s rookie seasons combined.

So please, Howard is hardly the scapegoat for the Bucs’ ills at running back.

45 Responses to “Lay Off O.J. Howard”

  1. BoJim Says:

    Becht is way right. Howard’s learning to block and receive at the NFL level. He’s one of the least of the Bucs problems.

  2. doolnutts Says:

    Sure Cook will be a good player… But as we have seen year after year there are plenty of RB’s to take. Howard is a RARE type of T/E that in time can be truly dominant.

    We weren’t going to fix all our problems in a single season. It is very foolish for everyone to act like we were going to solve our problems in one season. Not to mention Dougie has not even returned yet. If he falls short I fully expect us to address running back in the draft or FA….

  3. D-Rome Says:

    O.J. Howard was the right pick. End of story.

  4. sorryitriggeredyou Says:

    my goodness who would would be laying ON this guy? Give him a break! jeeeesh

  5. Baz Says:

    THANK YOU! I’ve seen on here and Twitter people saying Howard is a bust, why did we draft him, etc etc… Morons.
    Then they tried to compare Cook’s production with Howard’s lack of it, saying we should have drafted Cook because he’s obviously better. No, the positions demand VASTLY different levels of preparation and production, as shown by Joe’s list of rookie TE’s production above.
    Howard will be fine, stop being idiots by jeering our first round pick TWO DAMN GAMES into his career. Go Bucs!

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Howard was the right #1 pick…..period.

    The mistake was not taking an available RB in round 2……Oh wait….we need a pass rush so why not DE?…….So RB in round 3…..oh wait…..we got Godwin & Beckwith…..Oh well, there’s next year for a RB.

  7. No_Bucs_Given Says:

    People are crazy. If anything we’re not playing or using OJ enough!!!

  8. Waterboy Says:

    OJ was the right pick. I love Cook but honestly felt like him being close to his hometown of Miami may have been too much for him right now. Minnesota seems to be the right environment and a good fit for him. Plus RB’s tend to have early success but short careers so we’ll see in a few years how this debate shakes out.

    As far as OJ where the heck was he at in the game plan? Rhodes was on Evans, Desean was covered by Trae Waynes so OJ should’ve been able to beat Newman, Brock or a LB but they only threw to him 1 or 2 times.

  9. D-Rome Says:

    .So RB in round 3…..oh wait…..we got Godwin & Beckwith…..Oh well, there’s next year for a RB.

    I think Godwin was a great pick. We all saw last year what happened without talented WR depth and Godwin is very talented.

  10. c-spann Says:

    I think people are frustrated that he is not even being used. He is a mismatch for any def. he needs more targets, period!

  11. Waterboy Says:

    So far my only disappointment in the draft is Evans. I’m even fine with the McNichols pick because he was a 5th rounder and pretty much performed like one which is why he’s no longer here but I’d expect a 2nd rd pick to be ready to hit the field almost immediately unless he was a 1st round talent that fell to the 2nd due to a college injury and he’s still recovering.

  12. Guzzie Says:

    You want to bash on a pick how many plays did 2nd pick Justin Evans play? Kareem Hunt, Dontae Foreman, Alvin Kamara were available, and Cook n Mixon were only a few picks above, our team mindset is never draft for the future, it’s draft for last years problems and ignorantly not addres obvious future problems, for example relying on a 34 year old corner to not get hurt!! VH3 just isn’t very good, but not many corners can hold up without any pressure

  13. Bucsfanman Says:

    @doolnutts- Well said! People forget how void of talent this team was just a few short years ago.
    I dare say that it was Case Keenum, not Dalvin Cook who beat us.

  14. Ghost in the Ruins Says:

    Tim Wright barely missed that 600 yards mark in 2013 with 579 yards his rookie year. O.J. can do it, but it would be the exception tot he general rule and not the norm.

  15. Bucfanbf Says:

    I agree Joe
    Howard was the right pick at that spot especially since everyone thought he would be long gone at that point.
    As usual people panic and start making stupid comments like we are witnessing now.

  16. Rads Says:

    Jameis was doing fine when he was taking what the defence was giving him. Humphries and Godwin were open all day. Howard was open in the flats a few times that I saw. Jameis was simply trying to do too much on most plays.

    It’s unacceptable to hear all the Bucs talking about the “need” to abandon the gameplan because of being behind early. That mentality ruined our chance of a comeback.

  17. Frank Pillow Says:

    If folks want to have a meltdown, pls look to the J. Evans pick vs. available running backs post Cook (see Hunt, K.). For more meltdowns, put a microscope on VHIII and the Bobby Aguayo picks from last year. Howard isn’t the issue.

  18. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    You pick Laremy Tunsil in 2016 instead of VH3 who was not that great in coverage, then there is no need to draft OJ in this draft, maybe get an edge rusher or cook, but then get some RB like Hunt, mixon, foreman, but licht’s 2016 draft is looking like a complete whiff thus far, and in 2016 the bucs were not in a spot to draft for luxury, like a K or corner the bucs needed and still need players up front on both sides of the ball and do not have that yet

  19. Lord Cornelius Says:

    OJ was the pick. No regrets at all. Let’s revisit this in 3 years when he’s the best TE in the league.

  20. Maze Says:

    Only a damn fool would criticize about this draft pick already

  21. Maze Says:

    And homer Joe might want to check out this guy in Kansas City playing running back

  22. Kevin Says:

    Haven’t heard anyone lay on OJ. He’s doing fine for now and might become great.
    The whole offense will be OK once Doug comes back. Defense has the problems.

  23. Joel Says:

    He will also most likely (as a TE vs a RB) have a longer career.

  24. Eric Says:

    We shall see.

    Proclaiming he will be great does not make it so.

  25. Pickgrin Says:

    Howard was the best TE prospect to come out in many years.

    His blocking skills are already well developed and have been utilized since day 1. His receiving skills need development as does his route running – but when a 6’6″ -250lb TE has displayed decent hands with good playmaking ability, supreme athleticism for his size and runs a 4.51 40 – you have to expect that he will get more than his fair share of balls coming his way once OJ gets comfortable.

    Winston loves throwing to big targets over the middle. Once Jameis and OJ get their chemistry working – we will see great things from this young man in the passing game.

    Those saying we should have picked Cook over Howard are FOOLS. There will be at least 1 or 2 RBs with something similar to Cook’s skillset coming out next year and every year thereafter. But it will be quite some time before another TE with OJ Howard’s skills and potential comes down the pike.

  26. destinjohnny Says:

    oj was open alot in that game
    3 didnt have time to scan.

  27. tnew Says:

    OJ80 had a very good game. When you isolate on him, its hard to complain on what he did as a receiver he excelled as a blocker. But the whole Dalvin Cook thing. If we would’ve had Dalvin Cook (who fumbled before the goal line on the first score) and the Vikes had Rodgers, we still lose this game by 10.

  28. tmaxcon Says:

    too bad our receivers don’t get to jack their numbers up against the wasted first round bust vh3

  29. tmaxcon Says:

    The whole offense will be OK once Doug comes back. Defense has the problems.

    the same doug that has sucked more than he has been good. the same dough who screwed his teammates over. the same doug who can’t stay healthy because of poor lifestyle choices… oh yeah that unreliable piece of crap doug… lol you are nuts

  30. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Jason Licht blew it, since Licht got complete control of football operation. This franchise has been a side-show with the draft picks and and personnel moves.

  31. 813bucboi Says:

    j.evans was the wrong pick….should’ve drafted demarcus walker at #50 instead of a safety….you build a team thru the trenches….GO BUCS!!!

  32. Mike Johnson Says:

    Howard Was NOT..the right pick. We should have drafted a Defensive End. Out ptoblems don’t lie in receving and blocking, they lie in the Lack od a pass rush. Even Ole ray Charles could have seen it, No pash rush? No Win! New Buc fams seem bent on our offense winning a championship. Stick with what your history says. How did we win our first ring? STOUT DEFENSE.

  33. unbelievable Says:

    Thank you Joe. Howard was the right pick.

    I’ve been trying to tell fans since the draft that you have to temper expectations for a rookie TE, but no one wants to listen. Fans around here are so impatient (and some of that is understandable). But Howard was drafted for the long term.

    The mistake was not addressing DE at all, or a RB until the 5th. We could have easily taken guys at those positions AFTER drafting Howard.

  34. Mike Johnson Says:

    Still pee-ing on yourself I see Unbelievable.

  35. Pickgrin Says:

    So much stupidity being spouted about our draft picks!

    Licht is now in a position of drafting the most talented football players and so many are bitching because he didn’t draft for the “need” they perceive.

    Good teams draft BPA whenever possible. Bad teams chase needs in the draft and often times wind up with sub par talent in that pursuit- aka “busts”.

    Idiots – the lot of you! (nod to The Kevin there)

    Hmmm – OJ Howard or Taco Charlton?? Duh.


    We got 4 very good football prospects this draft in Howard, Evans, Godwin and Beckwith. 2 are already starting and the other 2 have established, experienced starters in front of them but are already contributing in reserve and ST roles just 2 games into their rookie year. All 4 are likely to be solid starters or better within a couple years.

    Get some perspective whiners.

  36. firethecannons Says:

    VH# was first round draft pick and is an example “drafting based on needs” as compared to drafting for best player available

    VH3 sucks

  37. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Jason Licht draft picks sucks as bad as him.

  38. 813bucboi Says:

    Licht is now in a position of drafting the most talented football players

    WRONG!!!….we still have the same needs as last year….de,rb,cb,lb,t/c….we still have the same needs….we could’ve gotten an linemen instead of trading up for Roberto and we could’ve gotten demarcus walker instead of Justin evans….but we head into this draft looking for the same thing we needed last year…and this time we will be stuck drafting for need….GO BUCS!!!!

  39. tnew Says:

    You guys that say OJ80 wasn’t a great pick just aren’t watching him play. He is making a difference on nearly every play he’s in the game. Passing on him would’ve been a major error at that point in the draft time will tell. All of you guys arguing that this was a mistake based on three games… might I put this little point out there:

  40. Dreambig Says:

    Anyone else notice OJ running all by himself down the left side of the field when Jameis threw that last pick into triple coverage? Can’t blame that on OJ.

  41. Rod Munch Says:

    Lots of bandwagon riders that don’t know a thing about football are always quick to say “I TOLD YOU SO” when they really have no idea what they’re talking about. Anyone talking trash about OJ, they should just be laughed at as they literally are just hacks that don’t have a clue about football.

    Anywho hacks here’s a quick primer for you…

    OJ Howard is a TE… that means tight end, and no that is not based on the physical attributes of his rear end, that’s just the name of the position he plays, it’s sort of like a big WR that also plays on the offensive line at times. Anywho the position of TE is very complex, it requires that you know many of things that the offensive line has to know AND you have to know many of the things that WRs have to know – so it’s almost like you’re having to learn two positions at the same time. Rarely do rookie TEs make big impacts early – or if they do it’s only because they know just one aspect of the game, be it blocking or in the passing game.

    So anywho check back about halfway through next season, that’s when we’ll know if OJ is any good or not. People making up their mind before then, well, you’re a dope and you opinion has zero value.

  42. LakeLandBuc Says:

    People are not saying that O.J isn’t a good player..They are saying that the Buc already had a 25 year old rising TE, who lead the league in touchdowns by a TE. There was many, many more important needs. Also the Bucs could have traded down, and picked up a top RB and a decent CB, OT, DE etc. Was OJ the BPA? I don’t know, I do know that, we had many needs. A trade down would have filled some of those needs.

  43. Brett Says:

    Jameis goes to the guys he knows. That has been his trend since FSU. The OJ Howard transition will take place later.

  44. BucTrooper Says:

    So when the Bucs are in “win now” mode they draft a player that will be good in 3 years.

    You can’t write this stuff.

    Every excuse is insulting to the fan base. They blew the pick. Plain and simple. And that pick shoved that mistake right up the Bucs’ tailpipe on Sunday.

  45. Dreambig Says:

    Well said LakelandBuc.