O.J. Howard: “Jitters” And “Lag” Plagued Bucs Early

August 20th, 2018

Head-scratching take

You better believes Joe cares and is hypersensitive to why the Bucs have started too slowly in games under Dirk Koetter.

Last year, Tampa Bay averaged just 8.4 points in the first halves of games. 

That consistent issue represented a massive fix needed for this team, one with a wide-reaching effect. You want a better pass rush and/or to make your opponent’s offense one-dimensional? Then get a lead and force the other team to throw.

You want your team to play more confidently? Put up a couple of first-half touchdowns and walk into the locker room ahead on the scoreboard.

So Joe was horrified to hear what O.J. Howard said Saturday night on the Buccaneers Radio Network about the Bucs’ slow start to Saturday’s night’s game.

“First couple of drives, we got out there, we really didn’t do what we were supposed to do. You know, I think we just had a lot of jitters, probably just had a lot of lag sitting around all day,” Howard said.


Jitters? With a veteran offense that didn’t have one rookie in the starting lineup??

And the team, Howard thinks, was kind of flat because they sat around all day before the night kickoff? Jiminy Christmas! What does that say about the leadership?

For those who need a refresher after the Bucs indeed beat the Titans, go back and watch that opening Bucs drive, an ugly 3-and-out capped by an excellent punt.

The defense then held and was solid, and that was followed by the Bucs looking anemic in the red zone and kicking a field goal, and then the defense broke down with poor angles and tackles and allowed a big play, a screen pass to Taywan Taylor that went for 47 yards and a TD.

Next drive? Bucs get a short first down and then punt.

The first quarter ends and the Titans are up 7-3 and Marcus Mariota is done for the evening.

Simply stated: Dirk Koetter and friends have to find a way to have their team start coming out smokin’ more often than they don’t. No excuse for the Bucs to not come out this coming Saturday looking like the tougher, nastier and most-ready team.

37 Responses to “O.J. Howard: “Jitters” And “Lag” Plagued Bucs Early”

  1. Guzzie Says:

    Nothing to see here, just the usual, our coaches suck

  2. gbobucsfan Says:

    2 min offense to start the game. If we are going 3 and out anyways, why not?

  3. americasenabler Says:

    dood couldn’t out muscle a 5’8” 180 pound backup corner. Got more than a jitters problem OJ.

  4. Chris in WA Says:

    What do you want O.J. to say?

    “Bad Fitzpatrick decided to show up on Saturday. Fitzpatrick is an inconsistent QB and there is a reason he was a backup prior to the Winston suspension. Be afraid these first three games Tampa Bay fans! Be very afraid!”

    Answers like the one O.J. are supposed to be vauge or simple and not throw any one player or unit under the bus. The players know they are supposed to talk to the media and bullspit their answers all the time. I’m not worried.

  5. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    We’re “Tennessee Ready”


    “The best coach ever”……LOVIE

  6. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    ehh. Speaking for himself most likely as he def started out rough.

    Honestly as for why they started slow it is almost entirely on Fitz being so off. Not sure if thats a slow starting problem or just an Fitzmagic vs Fitztragic problem. This Sat was a glimpse of the latter for sure

  7. SOEbuc Says:

    Chris in WA

    Exactly. Players in every sport are not going to say, “Oh our guy really sucked tonight, certainly wasn’t on me.” And I would have the jitters also if the Titans running attack was shoving it down our throat the entire first quarter.

  8. reality-is-a-beotch Says:

    just more proof how MENTALLY WEAK this ENTIRE organization is. When you have defensive captains that admit they can’t recover from bad calls and big plays now this crap…. until the leader of the losing culture dressed in his batman suite leaves town this team will be the softest sports franchise on EARTH! Synchronized Swimmers have more heart than our defensive captains.

  9. stpetebucsfan Says:

    First off a question…I realize one of Tennessee’s projected strengths is their defensive backfield so I do not wish to sound disrespectful.

    But on that one incomplete pass OJ pulled a ME13 with the officials and indicated a flag should have been thrown. When I watched the replay I saw the Titans DB with good coverage…waaaay before the ball ever arrived. Am I the only one here who agrees with OJ that it was an egregious PI call? Perhaps I’m just a homer.
    LMAO…no perhaps to it I AM a homer…but in this case I think OJ was right.


    Some posters have brought up starting each game with Jameis in the two minute drill since he seems to thrive in that format. That discussion was primarily about getting over Jameis “methed up appearing” starts. He’s a little wild eyed out of the tunnel and the 2 minute offense could help him get in the groove more quickly.

    But I agree with you gbo…perhaps it’s something that would make the ENTIRE team perform better at the start.

    And if nothing else perhaps DK could use it to emphasize desperation at the start of the game and the need to score…RIGHT AWAY!

  10. Dapostman Says:

    Bill Walsh’s 1980’s 49ers always jumped on teams early. They got out of the gate like jackrabbits. Had the lead then punished you. Koetter could learn a few things from Bill Walsh. I know Walsh had his first 15 plays scripted before the game. Don’t know if Koetter is doing that. Maybe up tempo early would help.

    #Get After It!

  11. Pete Mitchell Says:

    Maybe he was speaking for himself. He dropped two catchable balls (both on 3rd down I think) and appeared to break off a route to the wrong side of the defender all in that first quarter.

  12. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Call it straight, when Jameis came in that’s when the turbo kicked in. He started hot from the getgo and never cooled down. Same thing in Miami. I think him playing back up now is going to pay dividends when he comes back against da Bears . Maybe let others give the team spirit speech before games so he doesn’t get to hyped up.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    St. Pete

    No…..I also watched it several times but I didn’t need to……OJ was interfered with…..the defender had his arms around him from the back before the pass arrived.

    Also, this is one player’s take on the slow start….he may be right….or it may simply be the same unknown ailment that has plagued this team for years.

  14. Dewey Selmon Says:

    One knock I had on OJ coming out of college was i have noticed he doesn’t catch the ball cleanly sometimes. Just tends to bobble it. I know I’m nit-picking, but just something i have noticed. Go Bucs!!!

  15. Lamarcus Says:

    Added talent but we still look like a 5-11 team of last year. Sad that JJP just looks like a league in his own while “our” probowl talent looks weak.

  16. Chris in WA Says:

    Where has Noah Spence been in these preseason games? Pretty soon he will start to live up to his name “Nowhere Spence”. The dude got shredded in the offseason, great. Now when will that translate to the field?

  17. 813bucboi Says:

    dirks team coming out flat…..why am I not surprised…..still didn’t see any pass rush….red zone offense nonexistent with fitz running the show…..

    unfortunately, the team looks the same….we’ll see week1


  18. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Weird that there have been almost exact comments from several members of the team during the past 4-5 years, LVD comes to mind as does #93, who is an actual leader of this team?

  19. SOEbuc Says:

    TO EVERYONE THAT HASN’T NOTICED, the Bucs have been getting f-cked over by bad calls and penalties since the beginning of time. Whether it looks to be on us, or it looks to be on them. And can someone say Burt Emanuel.

  20. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Tony Dungy’s Mantra


    Only thing worse than ” slow start”, is lame reasons for it.

  21. EA Says:

    Leadership and slow starts ??? That’s the reasons bucs fans were asking for a coaching change last year, it’s safe to say that things haven’t gotten better yet.
    It is better to be pessimistic and hope for a miracle with this team than be optimistic and disappointed by the end of October. There wasn’t many reasons to be optimistic during the off season, Dirk and Smitty are who we thought they were.

  22. D-Rome Says:

    I’m Totally Confident…

    …the Bucs will continue to have slow starts under this coaching staff.

  23. orlbucfan Says:

    SOEbuc Says:
    August 20th, 2018 at 12:30 pm
    TO EVERYONE THAT HASN’T NOTICED, the Bucs have been getting f-cked over by bad calls and penalties since the beginning of time. Whether it looks to be on us, or it looks to be on them. And can someone say Burt Emanuel.
    The SB team learned how to outplay the refs, too. No reason why this krewe (especially the offense) can’t learn the same applies. Go Tampa Bay Friday!!

  24. reality-is-a-beotch Says:

    Jmarkbuc Says:
    August 20th, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Tony Dungy’s Mantra


    Only thing worse than ” slow start”, is lame reasons for it.

    Dungy the clown had plenty of excuses for his failures and pathetic 2 playoff wins with bucs and career losing postseason records.

    bucs are the only sports franchise on earth who would put a failure with a losing postseason record in the ring of underachievement. The legend of dungy surpassed his actual accomplishments years ago. just another low standard bucfan supporting a failure.

  25. DB55 Says:

    For the last 4-5 years I’ve watched every preseason and regular season games at least 3-4 times mostly in slo-motion while hitting rewind on every play 4-5 times. I’ve wanted to see our strengths and weaknesses and tried to break down the tape as best as possible. This past Thursday was the first time in years that I couldn’t even watch that pathetic display of what Dirk Koetter calls football.

    I knew the team would get out muscled and out worked by Tenn bc let’s face it outside of QB they have a better roster overall. But to see their second string def completely shut down our offense with many starters still playing was atrocious. Jameis celebrating TDs against second and third string CBs was not inspiring. And our oline getting beat by back-ups was pitiful.

    Worst of all seeing Conte come out with the captains and then immediately getting run over AGAIN was enough to break out the brown paper bags.

    It’s become evident to me (not that it wasn’t before) that no one at OBP has any interest in winning any meaningful games in the nfl. It’s sad, and then to hear the ire in coaches voice when talking about the fans wanting to sign every FA who comes available tells me this staff is content with their complete incompetence.

    Sadly, JPP may either retire after the season or hurt a hamstring around week 6 cuz I really can’t see anybody carrying the load for this defense the entire year and the defense is atrocious. Like really really bad, they got pushed around like girly men all night.

    I’m sorry fans I know many of you support these players and coaches like it’s your local hs football team meaning that’s our boys they live in our town and we’ll support them no matter what but the truth is this is a PROFESSIONAL. Football team who’s job is to win or at the very least be prepared to win games and it’s not happening nor has it happened in nearly a decade.

    Koetter biting his nails on the sidelines while half his roster sit on the sidelines with booboos tells me these guys aren’t ready physically or mentally to participate in an nfl season.

  26. NewTampaChris Says:

    When you press a 2nd year TE to give a high-level assessment of why the team behaved a certain way…what did you expect? A deep, Pat Kirwan-type analysis? No, these guys just make sh1t up when a mic gets stuck in their face.


  27. ndog Says:

    Did they start slow last week when Fitz was throwing the ball well? Joe is in his own head to much and over does everything. I get that it his job and all to stir up crap for clicks but this is the kind of thing that gets the brain dead that read this site, which are quite a few, to think there is something there that is not. Last year was last year, this year is this year, we will not know anything until game one in NO. We could go right down the field and score every drive in the preseason and it does mean we will be any good come opening day and vice versa so just chill with the freaking out over every word the different players say.

  28. jmarkbuc Says:

    Wow DB55

    I 100% agree with that analysis.


    “It’s become evident to me (not that it wasn’t before) that no one at OBP has any interest in winning any meaningful games in the nfl”

    Yep, spot on. The Glazers’ focus is Man U. As long as the TV check shows up from the NFL, I don’t think they could care any less as to what happens here in Tampa. I doubt they’re here that often. Look at this staff, that should say plenty. From GM on down.

  29. Pickgrin Says:

    DB – Yet we are 2-0 and have played pretty well as a TEAM in the first two pre-season games.

    Sure pre-season is more about evaluating than game planning – but the Bucs have shown up as a team twice now and won 2 games on the road.

    The Bucs are a better, more talented team than both the teams we have played thus far and it showed in the final standings. The Titans were a playoff team last year – but the Bucs obviously have a more talented roster top to bottom.

    Even though those pre-season “wins” don’t count – the Bucs are in a position to WIN quite a few real games this year IMO.

    If we can just get to the Bears game with at least a 1-2 record – this team is more likely than not to have a “successful” season (8-8 or better).

  30. kyle Says:

    The head coach and d coord suck.. period. We have talent all over the field and seem to never be prepared. I love monken calling plays because Klueless Koetter seems to have lost his touch. Love the bucs, hoping for the best this year. Im basically numb to the preseason hype these days and the eventual crotch kick by week 3.

  31. DB55 Says:


    In the preseason the only thing that “counts” in my eyes is the first unit. Sure the back-ups are great to watch to see who’s going to win a job but my focus is to see who is winning the first qrt etc.

    The wins mean very little in fact teams who usually go 4-0 in the preseason are usually in last place by the end of the year.

    Bottom line is that the first unit is not looking too good, everyone is hurt and Fitz is not very good. You’re not going to win games if the only way you’re getting first downs is on a Fitz scramble.

    1st round pick is hurt, 2nd rnd pick is avg .5 yards per carry. The other 2nd rnd pick is getting burnt on almost every play, Davis was hurt, cappa is definitely a work in progress. Whitehead hurt, Watson and Godwin are virtually the same player and Cichy hasn’t jumped off the screen at me.

    Consider that it appears as though JPP is making every tackle against the run, OCs are still running right at gmc on 3rd and short for 1st downs without a single stop in sight and kwon I have no earthly idea wth he’s doing. It doesn’t look good like at all. But again wtfdik?

    I don’t see any improvements same ol same if you ask me or worse yet they look worse than last year especially on defense.

  32. Godeep66 Says:

    OJ looked bad when you go back and look at the tape. Lackadaisical route running along with poor route running when he should be reading the linebackers on certain patterns. It made Fitzpatrick look bad when in fact he was running the wrong damn route. The kid played in Alabama why in the hell is he nervous during an NFL exhibition game?

  33. DB55 Says:


    Fitz went 5 for 13 with 38.5 percent completion percentage 46 yards and a qb rating of 48.9. OJ wasn’t the only one making Fitz look bad maybe it was Fitz making Fitz look bad.

  34. SOEbuc Says:

    If OJ can make a nice TD catch I’ll be very happy, but we don’t need him to. We have the best WR corp in the league that’s still overflowing plus Cam Brate. OJ Howard is a better blocker than any of our OT. Let him be more of a blocking TE for the moment.

  35. DB55 Says:


    You don’t invest a 1st rnd pick on a blocking TE. Especially when you have no RT and no rb. OJ should be Jimmy Graham 2.0 but nope. Likely the only 1st rnd pick from Alabama in the entire league who is being used as a back-up. He’s ghost even in the red zone that’s unacceptable imo.

  36. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Agree defense looks worse, although I didn’t think that could be done.

    And not to piss anybody off, sure JW has looked better so far, but shouldn’t he? Not exactly going against the best.

    Worst of all for me, I can’t name one coach who I think is really doing a great job. Maybe Buckner, but don’t know about that yet. JPP must be like,W.T.F.

  37. Reach87 Says:

    The crying, complaining and lack of any faith has grown to epic proportions. Click on a good news story and get that garbage, click on a “neutral” story and get more of the same. Queue the “we have a right…” comments. Maybe 3 posters on this site who don’t tear someone on the team down on every thread. Sad. Go Bucs!