Getting O.J. Howard Open

October 9th, 2019

Best catch of 2019 so far.

To show you how sad it is that Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich cannot find a way to get O.J. Howard involved in the offense, the Bucs tight end made his best catch of the season last night.

At a Rays game.

Howard, attending Game 4 of the American League Division Series between the Rays and Astros at the Fruitdome last, made a sweet catch of a foul ball down the right-field line. One-handed even. Bare-handed.


But it is a borderline outrage that Sunday at New Orleans, Howard, a former first-round draft pick, one of the most talented tight ends in the game and a total mismatch of a nightmare for linebackers and probably safeties, had as many targets at Scotty Miller. And his one catch came when the game was out of reach.

That is simply inexcusable.

In a game where Mike Evans got locked up, there should have been all kinds of chances for Howard. Even Howard said he is surprised at how he has become such a non-factor in the Bucs offense.

Howard making more of a highlight as a fan at a baseball game than on the field at the Den of Depression sparked Joe’s memory of a Twitter by former NFL linebacker Chris Spielman replying to Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network, who asked who the more creative offensive coaches are.

Yeah, a good offensive mind can figure out how to get mismatches for his best players and Howard is a walking mismatch.

Just what kind of mismatch can Miller provide? On one target where he tried to run past a Saints defender down the right sideline Sunday, he was matched stride-for-stride and the ball was intercepted, though defensive holding away from the ball wiped out the penalty.

Has anyone yet seen Miller outfight a defender for a catch?

The way Joe looks at it, Howard being such a non-factor through five games, and to a lesser degree Cam Brate, says more about the guy crafting a gameplan each week than it does Howard or Brate.

32 Responses to “Getting O.J. Howard Open”

  1. Prague Bucs Fan Says:

    It almost feels like a conspiracy. Like the regime is not planning on extending his contract so the are not targeting him. Arians said he was not open so they did not target him. I was mad yesterday when the press did not call him out on that, total bullspit.

  2. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    So our Star TE is catching 100 mph baseballs with his bare hand? That’s pretty bada$$. Still surprised you didn’t come down on him at all Joe. Especially considering how butt hurt you were about Jameis (with his helmet) and the professional trick golfer. Isn’t this another dumb choice?

  3. Prague Bucs Fan Says:

    Hes not a star Alaskan 🙂 He had one catch in garbage time. He sucks until he shows otherwise. Press asks him:… OJ what do you hope to get out of this trip to London. Oh some sightseeing with my family… How about a freaking W and sight see during the off season! SMH.

  4. D-Rome Says:

    It seems the coaches lost trust after that 49ers game.

  5. TDTB Says:

    This staff doesn’t use either tight end much. Would have liked/like to see one traded for need help at DB or OL. Beats being the more logical of the two for the Bucs because of his salary.

  6. Pete I Says:

    As I recall OJ wasn’t always catching passes when he is “open” and he had a big fumble in the RZ in week 1. The first couple of weeks the talk was what is wrong with OJ Howard.

    Yet he has been targeted 14 times and made 11 catches. At NO he was targeted 2 times and made 1 catch.

    PFF had this to say about the Bucs’ future tight end usage – in which they labeled O.J. Howard a future “fantasy loser” in the whole Arians signing.

    “Across Arians’ five-year tenure in Arizona, his top tight end averaged only 50 targets, 32 receptions, and 348 yards per season and were often fourth or fifth on the offense in targets.”

  7. ModHairKen Says:

    Look, Howard is the one at fault here. He let’s passes bounce off of his hands and he rarely catches it if a defender is in close quarters, whereas no one stops Evans and he almost always comes up with the catch.

  8. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    Coaching ineptitude is wasting the offensive weapons here

    Oj proving real men don’t bring gloves to baseball games

  9. adam from ny Says:

    like gruden ruined alstott…

    they are ruining our tight end tandem…

    go figure

  10. Jean Lafitte Says:

    that was a 50/50 ball Jameis

  11. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:


    Lattimore routinely shuts down Evans

  12. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Arians never used the TE in his offense in Arizona anyways. Arians is the 2019 version of lovie smith, where he has to run his scheme regardless. Why cant the bucs ever have nice things like get an innovative offensive HC like Andy Reid, that is a guy that can adapt with the times and will travel to Oklahoma and see what lincoln riley does. Byron…pop on a New Englan Patriots tape, see how they move gronk around (NOTE TO SELF) do that with 6-6 OJ, he cannot be covered out wide…this is not rocket science or splitting atoms, its about jessies and joes not the dumb BA Xs and Os….OJ, Mike Evans and Godwin and Brate, are a mismatch for ANY defense for competent coaches

  13. ModHairKen Says:

    Loyal, I understand your point. What I am saying is when the ball is thrown to Evans in tight coverage, he usually comes up with the catch. Jameis threw to him 3x Sunday and none were

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Howard should be able to get open no matter what the coverage is on Evans……most every week we are torched by opposing team’s TEs…..lookout this weekend.
    I suspect we will see better use of our TEs soon.

  15. ClodHopper Says:

    The disappearance of Brate is a bigger deal to me than OJ. I never got the love for OJ. Cuz hes pretty and runs fast? So was Jeff Demps. He was a wasted draft pick at a position we had no need for.

  16. Hodad Says:

    They are trying to get the ball to Scotty Miller, and Bobo Wilson, instead of using Brate, and Howard. Why? I don’t know. Howard, and Brate have been doing more blocking then running routes. I can’t believe they all of a sudden can’t produce. This offense, so far, just isn’t throwing to it’s TE’s.

  17. dmatt Says:

    Howard has not played up to his potential. Was he really all that at Alabama or a product of the talent around him? Based on performance it appears the Giants 2017 draft pick Evan Engram from Ole Miss would’ve been a better pick for us. I like his beast mode aggressive mentality contrary to Howard’s soft, passive, n timid approach. I’m all for tanner Hudson getting in there. He has stickem hands n is reliable com on drafted or not, let’s not waste talent.

  18. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    dmatt….i am with you the pick should have been dalvin cook…but that is another story as to why the bucs are always a 5-11 ball club thanks to the 5-11 GM

  19. BUC CHEEKS Says:

    Imagine what Belicheat could do with this guys😳

  20. BUC CHEEKS Says:

    Dusthy… We could’ve had both if Licht would’ve made a move up to grab him in the 2nd round! Cook only went 9 picks ahead of at #41… instead we ended up with Justin Evans and were ohhhh so lucky that Godwin fell to us! He had horseshoe up his A$$ to get Chris in the 3rd! Still can’t believe he fell that far… I literally said don’t you F this up again!!!! Then ran around the house when we picked him!!!

  21. Get a clue Says:

    Stop talking about Arians and TEs in Az. He didn’t have the talent. When he was OC in Pittsburgh heath miller put up stats nearly identical to Cam Brate pre OJ Howard and made the pro bowl.

  22. Petty Officer Buc Says:

    Say what you will about Howard, but the disappearance of Brate is more inexcusable as others have said.

    When he has been on the field this season, he has produced and caught passes thrown his way. Brate is Jamies best chemistry teammate it seemed for years.

  23. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Neither In:

    Did Bruce Arians run a two tight-end offense.
    So what makes you think he would run one here?

    Hell he’s doing what he always has.
    He’s using Chris Godwin the same damn way he’s used Hines Ward.
    Flanker on some plays – on others he’s motioned tight to the right side or left side of the line. Essentially making him a second or third tight end.

    So why do you need Cameron Brate?
    Honestly take your emotions out of it for a minute.
    Why would you need him?

    Note: Heath Miller was drafted under:
    –Offensive Coordinator: Ken Whisenhunt
    –Tight Ends Coach: James Daniel

  24. Who Cares Says:

    @Adam from NY:
    Chucky was awesome at creating mismatches. Alstott is one of my all time favorite Bucs, but I’ll take a Superbowl any day over hurt feelings.

  25. Mike10 Says:

    Awesome that you spotlighted this Joe.

    I’d like to believe that when athletes of other Tampa teams witness a playoff atmosphere, from the same crowd base, it motivates them to win.


  26. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Was M Evans locked up ? or was Jameis locked in?
    $20 mill receivers don’t play the whole game with 0 productivity unless the qb and play caller are also having a bad day

  27. Smashsquatch Says:

    Dude can catch! Get him the ball.

  28. unbelievable Says:

    Why is the local media too scared to ask BA these questions?

    Best tight end tandem in the league and we throw 2 passes their way per game.

    P A T H E T I C

    lol at comparing OJ Howard to Jeff Demps. That’s not even apples to peanuts dude.

  29. Joe Says:

    Why is the local media too scared to ask BA these questions?

    He’s been asked about tight ends several times. There is protocol that has to be used when asking questions. When Arians speaks, it’s not an inquisition.

  30. jmarkbuc Says:

    “When Arians speaks, it’s not an inquisition”

    I miss the good ol’ days, when you could ask a pointed question

  31. Son of Kobe Faker Says:

    “What are you guys talking about?

    The self professed Guru whistler states he doesnt even get involved with the game planning

    My Dad and have said this and it will be proven a fact

    QB coach intern Leftfoot has no business running an offense

    this unqualified idiot doesnt know anything

    we have been duped by BA and Gump for 5 more years

    My Dad has forewarned you repeatedly about the backstabbing Gump for over 4 years and yes my Dads hands are clean”

    Son of Kobe Faker

  32. July Joe Says:

    WHO CARES if Godwin is getting OJ’s targets and yards? It makes no difference.

    The numbers are their in the passing game and if OJ had more catches and yards, Godwin would have less … it doesn’t matter.

    The ONLY TWO “PROBLEMS” on this team are the OLINE and the PASS DEFENSE.