Tight End Tendencies

July 16th, 2019

Puzzling data.

Over the weekend, Joe got a Twitter from a reader who complained how little the Bucs targeted freakish tight end O.J. Howard, a guy former Bucs coach Dirk Koetter panted over in the weeks leading up to the 2017 draft.

For a guy Koetter wanted so badly, the former Bucs coach sure didn’t act like it on gameday.

Joe noticed something that jumped out in passing tendencies in “Warren Sharp’s 2019 Football Preview.” There, it had passing targets broken down by downs, distances and positions.  In a category Sharp listed as “Early Down Target Rate” (Joe is assuming this is for first- and second-down throws but it is not specific), those who believe Howard was underutilized last year will find Sharp’s data as fuel for their arguments.

Bucs tight ends were targeted 17 percent of the time in early downs, the same amount as the substandard Bucs’ running backs.

Now think about this for a second: What team has a better one-two punch at tight end than the Bucs? Howard is a beast and Brate should have already played in a Pro Bowl. Yet on early downs, these guys were damn near ignored.

For those wondering, per Sharp, the league percentage of tight ends being targeted on early downs was 21 percent. And Howard and Brate sure as hell are not average tight ends.

26 Responses to “Tight End Tendencies”

  1. Magadude Says:

    Very interesting info. Especially given consideration Evans was so often double teamed and DJax’s best utility was to stretch the defense to help clear the middle, it is odd we didn’t see it more. We do know Winston also loved to throw to Hump. So just maybe on early downs between Godwin and Brate/OJ, Winston can spread the ball around a little more? Hump often came back for the ball and I think that made him more attractive as a fleeting target. Can Godwin get just as open? Dang, still wish we kept Hump.

  2. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    And didn’t the Bucs hire analytics guys a few years ago? Maybe those guys need to be fired.

  3. ATLBucs Says:

    I’m becoming more and more convinced that Dirk remained on Authur Blank’s payroll with specific instructions to submarine our team. How else could hanging onto Mike Smith he explained?

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We run the ball too much on 1st down to target anyone adequately….especially TEs…BA will fix that.

  5. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    ATLBucs Says:
    “I’m becoming more and more convinced that Dirk remained on Authur Blank’s payroll with specific instructions to submarine our team. How else could hanging onto Mike Smith he explained?”

    And who hired him back, the moment he came back on the market? So suspicious…

  6. BucEmUp Says:

    Cough cough….ITS COACHING!!!!!!

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    MAYBE Koetter was the offensive genius many proclaimed him to be?

  8. Jean Lafitte Says:

    BA likes TE’s

  9. GrafikDetail.com Says:

    Koetter is the offensive Lovie Smith… too stuck in his ways and his system

  10. Bob in Valrico Says:

    OJ is more of Vernon Davis type with very good speed and the ability to get downfield. I don’t see him a Tony Gonzalez type that Koetter used effectively
    in Atlanta. This is just an opinion ,but big tightends with long strides are not as comfortable going across the middle, they need more open space to maneuver.
    One of these plays resulted in a fumble.

    I was glad that they started to open up the offense and also get Evans more
    involved in the deeper passing game. For whatever reason in previous years
    he was often used to move the chains a lot like Gonzalez was used in Atlanta.
    Evans is more than capable of having a 17 yard per catch average.

  11. The Buc Realist Says:


    What are you talking about????? 227 rush attempts vs 272 pass attempts!!!!!! That is 45% rushing vs 55% passing on first down!!!!!! So what is it the ole coach stale biscuit is “going to fix”?????? Is ole coach stale biscuit going to throw it 70% on first downs??????? I have to say this about tampabaybucfan, he never lets truth and facts stand in the way of his posts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. zzbuc Says:

    I procalim Koetter an ofensive genius!!! No running game, very incosistent OL and an incosistent QB too, and still……… look at the stats. When you think that you have a talented team and you don´t blame will be always on the coach, and trust me…is not…….is much on the GM than on the coach.
    Again I really think Koetter is one of the best offensive minds in the league, but that doesn´t make him a good coach………
    We are complainning that the ball didn´t go to much to OJ´s hands, well look at Mike Evand stats, look at cameron brates amount of TD look how Hump played and how much money is he making away, check out on Goodwin and we keep on poiting fingers to Koetter????? This is so ridicuolus!!!!!

  13. Rayjay1122 Says:

    Dirk is a good offensive coach. His biggest failure here was the hiring and retaining of Mike Smith. That was just pure negligence.

  14. Jeff Says:

    Dirk is an average OC at best.

  15. Magadude Says:

    Yah, seems like most thought Dirk was a good coach through 2016, until he wasn’t. All comments about “finally” having good coaches give me pause. Yes, they too are good, until they aren’t.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    zzbuc … Dirk Koetter is a ‘good offensive coach’ like Rayjay1122 said, but he’s no offensive genius. Big difference IMO between ‘good’ and ‘genius’.

    Forget the defense for a minute, and just focus on what the Bucs’ offense did in the past FOUR years with Koetter as our OC. For starters, look at the weapons that he had on offense. Jameis … 1st Rnd pick 2015. Mike Evans … 1st Rnd pick 2014. OJ … 1st Rnd pick 2017. Several 2nd & 3rd Rnd picks like Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Doug Martin, RoJo, Chris Godwin, etc. Not to mention several other decent players like Cam Brate, DJax, Jensen, and yes Dotson. There was enough talent there for ANY OC to do some damage.

    The results?
    o 2015 – 342 pts scored (#20 ranking) … 6-10 record
    o 2016 – 354 pts scored (#18 ranking) … 9-7 record
    o 2017 – 335 pts scored (#18 ranking) … 5-11 record
    o 2018 – 396 pts scored (#12 ranking) … 5-11 record

    Average offensive ranking based on points scored? #17 over 4 years. Sorry, but those numbers OVER FOUR YEARS with many of the same players don’t spell OFFENSIVE GENIUS to me. I think what we’ll find this year is that Dirk didn’t do a very good job of DEVELOPING THE TALENT and USING THE TALENT that was on the team. Only time will tell though.

  17. Magadude Says:

    I realize many don’t get results, but hindsight is always 20/20. General George Custer was a pretty good, proven, military commander. But years into a successful career, he had that little run-in with Chief Sitting Bull. Now people look back on him as a moron. Hardly.

  18. WestChap Says:

    So, what are we debating here… if we had targeted TE more on 1st and 2nd down we would have had a better passing offense than ineffective Koetter managed to deliver? Hmm, we did have the #1 passing game in the entire NFL last year… but I guess there’s always room for improvement. We should get back to discussing what we did wrong in the red zone…

  19. zzbuc Says:

    Defense Rules, with all due respect…….

    We have some different points of views on several topics

    First of all being a first round pic doesn´t make you automatically a great player, and there are some enormeous amount of evidence on this, probably the most recent is JW…..his star status is yet to be proven, not in the case on Mike Evans that he already show what claiber of player he is.

    My argument on defending Koetter as an offensive brain is that with no running game in most of his tenure, on the exception when Doug was healthy, with a really poor OL and with a turn over machine that sometimes was JW, and with no kickers his numbers OFFENSIVELY speacking were really good.

    You talk about developing talent, seems to me that you are cherry picking here, you name some and you ommit some others why dont he receives credit on Evand, Goodwin, Brate, OJ Hump? u just name him the players that didnt perform ….thats far from being a fair argument to me.

    In terms of talent we have a very different view on what talented players are, I don´t see that talent on Donovan Smith, nor Jensen nor Martin nor Dotson, and Rojo I will say that we cannot give a serious opinion yet, I hope he will be great.

    If you name me Koetters records, means you didn´t undrestand my point, I never said he was an extraordinary head coach, I just said I love his offensive mind, that´s all.

  20. Pryda...sec147 Says:

    Defense rules spot on.

    BA is going to make it happen. OJ needs to stay healthy everyone really. Already down JPP 🙁 wish we somehow get Yannick Ngakoue

  21. RODNEY ALLEN Says:

    Westchap I think what we did wrong in the end zone was not target Evans Howard n Godwin. Brate I think had a decent amount of targets (maybe I’m wrong) but he had a high amount of touchdowns for a TE.

  22. Cobraboy Says:

    Defense Rules makes some good points.

    The Koetter offense could be good and underachievers at the same time.

  23. Buccfan37 Says:

    Kotter didn’t have the right mindset to be a NFL headcoach. Nice guy alright but in over his head overall.

  24. BA FAN Says:

    Dirk never had the foresight to play a two TE Offense with Howard on the right and Auclair on the Left and instructing Auclair to put a block on any speed rusher lining up on D. Smith’s side before going out for a pass. Instead D. Smith was left on an island—major mistake!

  25. 813bucboi Says:

    BucEmUp Says:
    July 16th, 2019 at 6:27 am
    Cough cough….ITS COACHING!!!!!!


    GO BUCS!!!!!

  26. Jim Says:

    ZZ, anyone who makes Jameis look bad goes to the Hall of Shame. That’s just how it is…