70 Percent Of The Snaps But No Throws

November 14th, 2017

Gets the Peyton Barber Treatment

When general manager Jason Licht and formerly winning head coach Dirk Koetter and were high-fivin’ in ecstasy with their staffs and ownership on draft night 2017, Joe suspects they weren’t doing that because they just scored a blocking tight end with the 19th-overall pick.

But that’s what rookie O. J. Howard has become in the Bucs offense.

After Howard’s breakout game in Buffalo — six catches on six targets for 98 yards and two touchdowns — he has practically disappeared from the Tampa Bay attack. The Bucs have thrown him the ball just four times since then.

Despite playing 70 percent of the snaps against the Jets on Sunday, a pass never came Howard’s way. It was his first zero-target game of the season.

Right before the Bucs played Carolina three Sundays ago, Licht was on the Buccaneers Radio Network saying he thought Howard had hit his “groove.”

So what happened? Why has Howard gotten what Joe will call the Peyton Barber Treatment?

It’s a mystery, but it’s certainly not Licht’s fault. He’s not calling plays, and it’s a good example of why Joe has written for years that there’s only so much a general manager can do.

Take Mark Barron, for example, the Rams’ stud linebacker. Lovie Smith had no use for him, didn’t want him around, didn’t think he fit in Lovie’s precious defense. So the Bucs dealt Barron, the No. 7 overall pick in 2012, to the Rams for late-round draft picks in 2014.

Jeff Fisher, before he got fired, made Barron a linebacker, and Barron undeniably has been a stud ever since, including three interceptions this season.

Joe had no problem with the selection of Howard, but he’s only worth it if he’s used.

Tight ends don’t usually burst onto the scene. Greg Olsen, for example, was a first-round pick in 2007, when he had just 66 targets, the lowest total of his career. Howard is on pace for just 39 targets, just one more throw than what came to Austin Seferian-Jackwagon in only nine games in 2014, when the Bucs made him the No. 38 overall pick in the draft. And of course, there are plenty of tight ends who have racked up numbers as rookies.

Regardless, it would be nice if Koetter could figure out how to maximize Howard this season, and Joe’s not talking about blocking for the Bucs’ stunning rushing attack.

Let’s see why there was all that partying and thanking of the football gods back in April.

47 Responses to “70 Percent Of The Snaps But No Throws”

  1. Espo Says:

    We’ve had trouble sustaining drives. Our qb mainly looks for Evans. Cam Brate is a high percentage receiver. All these things are working against Howard. I expect to see more of him when our offense begins to click and has more T.O.P.. Unfortunately that might not be until 2018.

  2. Rrsrq Says:

    It’s pretty sad when you watch how the Panthers used Ed Dixon last night and other games, how other teams are using athletic tight ends but not us, maybe Dirk still mad because he fumbled and if he is, then….

  3. Wombat Says:

    Starting to think Koetter is becoming more conservative. Unfortunately his play calling has suffered since being HC. We need to study the trends more, and there are none better than Belichick. There highest percentage receivers are the TE’s and RB’s. Maybe, just maybe we use Charles Sims III on something other than a 3rd down play. And maybe don’t run the ball on 90% of first downs………..

  4. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Totally agree Joe
    Since Tony Gonzalez was a huge part of Atlanta offense while Koetter was there
    it is a head scratcher.
    The only explanation I can think of is the poor run blocking. Our backs usually get caught behind the LOS on pitchouts and outside runs. Stocker has also been playing more in place of Brate. Also on the play that sprung Sims for 21 yards
    Rich Gannon highlighted OJ’s blocking. On the same play, believe it was Evan Smith whose seal block also helped create that huge hole for Sims. IT just
    seems like extra players are required to make the running game effective.
    O-line needs to be beefed up bigtime.

  5. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Joe(s), I’ve been pondering the same question since preseason. Split the guy out as a receiver ALA Evan Engram….Even IF you don’t throw it to him you’ve at least caused one mismatch on defense with the potential for mismatches to trickle down to the rest of players on offense by forcing the defense to adjust. OJ is Gronk’esque in size, runs as fast as David Johnson, put-up a better three cone time than tyler lockett, and ran a faster shuttle than Mack at the combine…..the guy is a CERTIFIED FREAK that was severely underutilized in Alabama’s offense as this video alludes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlYbWrNF-9Q&t=128s

  6. mike n Says:

    OJ to me has looked lost. I think thats why his involvement has been at a minimum.

  7. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    It’s stuff like this that has basically canned Koetter already.

    Haven’t seen much of O.J. being sent out on actual routes since the Buffalo game.

    Guess we can’t do what we did in that game anymore because it worked.

  8. Hodad Says:

    Loser head coach Koetter only got his other tight end Brate one catch for 10 yards Sunday, even more puzzling. Sean Payton, a real winning coach, got both his R.B.’s over a hundred yards, and several T.D.’s Sunday. The Pats when they had two stud T.E.’s had no problem getting them both the ball. Koetter sucks.

  9. The Buc Realist Says:

    I think the TE is one of the harder positions to learn!!!!!! You have to know the full blocking of the O-line and all the audible calls, as well as the full route tree of passing routes and all the audible calls!!!!!!! You can’t be in the wrong place in either as it could interfere with a pulling guard, or you get to close to the designated WR which would pull coverage to the wrong place!!!!!! Throw in the fact how much the O-line is struggling, and it is no wonder that he is a designated blocker at this point!!!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. AceofAerospace Says:

    I bet Gruden knows how to use a tight end. I bet he even knows how to use a 2 tight end formation, especially in the red zone.

  11. Kobe Faker Says:


  12. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I honestly think our team would be better off with a west coast type dink and dunk offense. We just don’t have the O Line for the vertical attack Koetter seems intent on using.
    Just imagine if OJ Howard had wound up in New Orleans, instead of Tampa.

  13. Destinjohnny Says:

    He has been open big time when he goes out.
    If used properly he can be a lethal weapon.
    We have some many weapons now i don’t think 3 has have found a rhythm.
    The moral to the story is someone is Always open and they aren’t being hit.
    Bad reads, over throws, inaccurate pAsses etc.

  14. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Realist- You have a good point about the o-line. For me, I thought this was a luxury pick. I was sold on him after the Buffalo game but if they’re not going to use him, it makes this pick a head-scratcher.

  15. D-Rome Says:

    Take Mark Barron, for example, the Rams’ stud linebacker.

    C’mon Joe, Barron was not very good here and you know it. He was also under-performing. For every Mark Barron example of switching positions working out you can find many more where a move like that doesn’t work out as hoped for (see Marpet, Ali).

    Regardless, I think Howard’s had a great season and quite frankly I think it’s important for Howard to make his bones as a blocking TE first. Lord knows this offensive line needs it. He’s flashed in the passing game and he’s been very good for a rookie as a blocker. He’s clearly the total package when it comes to TE’s. I think his development has been one of the bright spot’s for Koetter’s staff.

  16. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    This thread just illustrates something that curious minds want to know and in this season of turmoil even more so.

    How is the relationship between Licht and Koetter holding up? I’d love to be the proverbial fly on the wall everytime these guys get together.

    Are there any rumblings at One Buc about their relationship. It would be human nature for each of them wanting to blame the other.

  17. Lakeland Says:

    The Tampa Bay Succaneers spent the 19th pick on a TE that they use primary as a blocker. No wonder they have suck for 42 years.

  18. Patrick in VA Says:

    It’s worth asking what the run game would look like if he weren’t kept in to block….

  19. Lakeland Says:

    Evan Engram
    40 REC, 443 YDS, 5 TD

    O.J Howard
    14 REC, 227 YDS,3 TD

    Two 1st Round Draft Picks

  20. Freder Says:

    I fail to understand why Koetter didn’t come right out of the gate with Howard and establish him as a major weapon but I imagine he wanted to introduce him to blocking at the NFL level. The other reason is Cam Brate, a well established tight end that out performed allot of quality TE’s in the league. Another possibility would be maybe he wanted to low profile Howard and unleash him later in the season when things heated up but it’s a little late for that! We need to see more Howard showing up right now and let him evolve into the versatile player he is.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    @mike n … “OJ to me has looked lost. I think thats why his involvement has been at a minimum.” Surely you jest Mike. OJ is a beast, and has been doing everything the coaches are asking of him I’m sure. Realist is probably correct: “Throw in the fact how much the O-line is struggling, and it is no wonder that he is a designated blocker at this point!!!!!!!!!!” (10 exclamation points included for emphasis). But still, that doesn’t mean OJ’s being optimally used. Bucs put up 15 points against the Jets Sunday … 1 TD (on a pass) & 3 FGs (thank you Patrick) … in an abysmal display of offensive power (or lack thereof). I don’t get it. We’ve got the weapons to be a high-powered offense. We’ve got 2 QBs with some decent experience who should be able to run this offense. And we’ve got an OLine that … hmmm, therein lies the problem? Well, that along with coaching that’s made this offense look offensive.

  22. Blake_Bucsfan Says:


    Far more a reflection of both the situation that both players are in, and the Playcallers use of the player.

    The Giants have lost practically all of their main weapons, hence Evan Engram received a massive increase in targets. And he is being used as essentially a Wide-out that Plays H-Back (Which is the case I made for us to draft Engram in the 1st if he was the best player available),

    Where as O.J. is objectively a more talented athlete than Engram, he is on any given day the 4th or 5th option, and Koetter just flat out shows a reluctance to use him as a receiver. If the effort was being made to get O.J. the ball, his production would be insane. But Koetter doesn’t want to stick with whats working. In favor of just trying to outsmart himself, while at the same time remaining incredibly predictable.

  23. Buc50 Says:

    It’s funny reading all the love for Gruden when he was hated by so many here. Gruden’s biggest two sins were not getting along with Rich and not drafting Aaron Rodgers. If he’s hired (which I highly doubt), he will need a GM with which he can coexist. I like Gruden but just understand the baggage that comes with him.

  24. Kobe Faker Says:

    Right behind developing Jameis, the new offensive minded HC (Gruden) is salvating the possibilities of using OJ in the passing game

    Jon is probably very close with Jays development of jordan reed. if you see how jay gets jordan reed open on every play , you will see the future of our 10 time all pro OJ

    *Its not only the playcall or the play design that makes a good offensive coordinator/play caller but most importantly which player to use

    Licht has giveth but Koetter has not taketh

    Kobe has stated 1 year ago…

    what does 31 other teams have that the Tampa Bay bucs do not have….offensive coordinator

    we need NFL experienced coaching staff to develop jameis not bunch of frat boys

  25. Easy Denman Says:

    The curious case of OJ Howard. Its a mystery that wont be solved anytime soon.

  26. 813bucboi Says:

    we need NFL experienced coaching staff to develop jameis not bunch of frat boys


    I agree….the coaching staff is suspect at best….no reason why we shouldn’t have a productive scoring offense with these 2 TE and all of our WRS…..GO BUCS!!!!

  27. Kobe Faker Says:

    in a few weeks when greg olsen comes back, Mike shula will show us how 2 te system can flourish along with ed dickson

    mike shula sucks but he is even better than our benny franklin

  28. Onebucdude Says:

    I say we go 5-11 maybe. I still have no confidence in this offense and the play calling. Two touchdowns in 3 games is embarrassing with all the talent.

  29. Kobe Faker Says:

    We should never ever be this bad in the red zone with all these pitifull field goals

    did everyone see cam to ed dickson slant for 7 yard td

    all dickson did is have the defender on his back and then easy throw and catch…95% probability

    OJ is 6′ 6″ 250 mountain with 4.5 speed and route running quickness

    everyone seen him make faking out grimes in training camp

    but we have sheep here that think koetter is a good oc/playcaller…lol

  30. derrickbrooksforGM Says:

    Joe great post. Barber/OJ is just baffling. Toss plays, why?! Still running Martin, why?! Koetter is just a mess right now. Moonkin too. Can’t wait to see what the Glazers do at the end of the year about this fiasco of a team.

  31. Gobucs Says:

    It’s because koetter has turned into a potatoe.

    Everyone can see he’s completely lost calling plays anymore.

    I will not defend him anymore. His play calling has gotten progressively worse.

    No excuse to not use a talent like Howard. Complete coaching failure.

  32. Gobucs Says:

    And Payton barber IS NOT the answer either.

    He’s not that good. Maybe good for Bucs standards but not nfl standards.

  33. Kobe Faker Says:

    Hump needs to sit and godwin needs his targets

    godwin on the wr screen…he has the frame and speed to break the initial tackle and go to the 2nd level/paydirt…hump cant do this

    “Godwin played fantastic so im going to send him back to special teams”

    Kluess Koetter

  34. 813bucboi Says:

    C’mon Joe, Barron was not very good here and you know it. He was also under-performing.


    I agree….enough of the lovie bashing….we have a new piñata to bash and his name is dirk….barron was average at best here in tampa….GO BUCS!!!

  35. Pickgrin Says:

    Pickgrin Says:
    November 13th, 2017 at 12:33 pm
    Kobe Faker Says:
    November 13th, 2017 at 7:50 am
    “Bye everyone

    Last post”


    But please – by all means – prove me wrong and stay gone this time…


    I knew you wouldn’t quit posting Kobe Liar – so why say it? Hoping other posters would beg you to stay??? LOLOLOL

  36. SOEbuc Says:

    It’s not the “Peyton Barber affect” Joe. Unlike our crummy backfield where Barber definitely deserves more touches, we have nothing but good/great players in our passing game. So with OJ acting as another OT, which he is very good at, it’s harder for him to be targeted having to make a block and get down field. And if Koetter is going to split a TE out it’s going to be Brate. I would love to see Howard get some more grabs, I just wouldn’t compare it to what is going on with Peyton Barber in the backfield.

  37. derrickbrooksforGM Says:

    @Gobucs how do you know Barber isn’t the answer when he hasn’t been given chance? So you’re good with Martin?

  38. Kobe Faker Says:


    thought JBF banned me or was going to tag me with the comment waitng for review shat forever

    Blake_Bucsfan and The Buc Realist emailed JBF and vouched for me with their lives

  39. derrickbrooksforGM Says:

    Kobe Faker Says:
    November 14th, 2017 at 11:14 am

    thought JBF banned me or was going to tag me with the comment waitng for review shat forever

    Blake_Bucsfan and The Buc Realist emailed JBF and vouched for me with their lives

    ^^^^ I miss the sassy Kobe Faker. Be yourself man. Why would you get banned, you make good point you wacky SOB 🙂

  40. Bucsfanman Says:

    @dbGM- The problem with our rushing attack is not the RBs. Regardless of who you put in the backfield the results will be the same. When defenders are 2-3 yards in the backfield at the snap, that’s not a RB issue. That’s an o-line issue.
    While I would like to see the youngster get some snaps, it will not provide a fair sample to judge IMO. Martin will be gone after this season so we need to assess others.

  41. Kobe Faker Says:


    I dont agree with derrick brooks as GM but definitely think he can help Jameis as a advisor/father figure. i think Jameis is burdened too much for a 23 year old kid. think he needs the daily/weekly meetings he had with lovie

    Jameis winston development- game speed. has the game slowed down from a year ago

    hell no. blame koetter

    look at the young cats. their not as jumpy, controlled and more relaxed. wentz, dak,goff, watson….why is Jameis still so hyper, uncontrolled

    our excitable jameis is copying kotters psycho eyes bulging out of its sockets. yelling. hyperventating and going warp speed…and you want him to throw a touch pass? jameis is on speed and you want him not to overthrow DJAX

    this is coaching

    jameis ingame speed has not slowed down from a year ago

    gruden is going to have to do a whole redo/reset of jameis mental game

  42. CalBucsFan Says:

    During the offseason there was much said about Koetter hiring an OC and putting him up in the coach’s perch over the field. Not doing that was mistake #1 for Koetter, if he wants to be a HC then he has to let go of the play calling, or stop being the HC.

  43. JJBucFan Says:

    So we drafted a 6’6″ 251 pound TE to block DEs because our 6’6″ 338 pound LT cannot doit-that’s an eye opener.

  44. DB55 Says:

    Koetter needs to throw out that antiquated playbook and start from scratch. Koetter should just call in some help bc Monken and coach bj just ain’t cutting it. The offense is tired and uninspiring.

    Oh let me guess the ball is going to Djax again? And it’s incomplete? Wow I would have never guessed.

    OJ? Okay! Shoulda drafted Cook.

  45. Bucsfanman Says:

    I’m not sure that we wouldn’t have decapitated Cook running behind this line with the predictable play-calling DB55.

  46. unbelievable Says:

    RB isn’t the problem, the o-line is. (although an upgrade at RB wouldn’t hurt either)

    OJ is gonna be a beastly TE in this league for a long, long time. We just need someone to actually throw him the ball…

  47. rrsrq Says:

    Dirk, mad cause OJ fumbled