Howard Wraps Up Worst Season With No Targets

December 29th, 2019

With the 19th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected tight end O.J. Howard.

After three seasons, Howard appears to be a bust of a pick.

Sorry. Joe likes Howard and his bust status might change (especially with a new team) but there’s something very wrong when a Bucs offense down Mike Evans and Chris Godwin can’t find one ball to throw to an athletic tight end like Howard, who had no targets in today’s season finale.

And it’s not like Howard is too busy being a special blocker.

He’s simply not delivering like a mid-first-round pick should. Who gets the greatest share of the blame doesn’t matter more than the bottom line.

Howard ended this season with 34 catches for 459 yards and 1 touchdown in 13 games. Fellow tight end Cameron Brate caught 36 balls for 311 yards and 4 TDs in a full season of play.

Joe would have no issue with the Bucs starting over completely at tight end with ultra-physical young guys who have at least decent hands. And if that’s a way to find the money to improve the running game in a hurry or keep Breshad Perriman, then so be it.

56 Responses to “Howard Wraps Up Worst Season With No Targets”

  1. Zzbuc Says:

    Joe is clear Arians uses TE mostly for blocking purposes!!
    I think he is an extraordinary player we should keep. I would trade Brate instead.

  2. Buczilla Says:

    Get what ya can and moe on.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We got shutout in the second half and didn’t target OJ once…..I don’t blame OJ for that….that’s on Lefwich and perhaps Jameis…….I’m not even sure he was running routes…..our TEs caught 1 ball all game….
    Something very wrong with that…..

  4. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    How many times do you need to point out what a chump JayLite is?

    We should draft another kicker in 2020.

  5. Tbbucs3 Says:

    OJ is just not that good.

  6. NPRSageBoy. Says:

    Howard can’t block. Saw him whiff several times in pass protection.

    I’ve heard it several times already; He’s an athlete, just not a football player and sure as hell not a TE.

    He needs to follow JayMiss down that long road to nowhere.

    For all you joker’s who think they will end up with the Patriots: JayMiss ain’t no Brady and OJ sure as $hit ain’t no Gronkowski.

    Peace, out.

  7. Tbbucs3 Says:

    It’s really pitiful when your two best WRs are out and you still cant produce.

  8. Alanbucsfan Says:

    OJ did a great job blocking today – his block vaulted one of ROJO’s long runs.
    The “bust” was “ballin’” all year…

  9. Miller5252 Says:

    Should ask the American 30-30 Baller why he’s having such a hard time getting the ball to OJ. I would think the guy who’s the best, if he fixes the interceptions, should be able to throw to him on any play even if he’s tripled covered.

  10. Tackleblockwin Says:

    He is an athlete, not much of a football player. He lacks toughness both blocking and as a receiver.

  11. Says:

    If I have 2 refrains in my posting, they are 1) that a huge portion of OJ’s stats from a year or two ago are on busted coverages and we have no reason to expect anything special (and he was not a piece needed for a championship run, and 2) Ryan Fitzpatrick was the right man for the job. Fitzy would have killed it in BA’s offense.

  12. Coburn Says:

    It’s really hard r judge the tight ends with a coaching staff that doesn’t use them much outside blocking. I had no personal knowledge bit I remember many posters wering that arians doesn’t use them much at all. Looks like they were spot on

  13. Coburn Says:

    Having said that in the limited sample size his most memorable plays were bad ones. He’s looking pretty busty at the moment and does see to be more if an athlete then football player

  14. stevbobucfan Says:

    to Joe and Bucs fans I have been hearing a lot about the Patriots trading for Howard. is it possible that the Bucs made a trade with the Patriots and move up to the bottom of the 1st round, that’s if the Pat have a 1st rounder and take a QB to sit a year and then replace Jameis if he has the same kind of year he had this year .

  15. gotbbucs Says:

    I dont have a problem with drafting a QB and possibly letting him sit, but I sure as hell don’t want him to be sitting and watching Winston.
    Every veteran QB in the NFL would love to come in here and throw balls to Evans and Godwin for a hell of a lot less than the “reported” $30 million that he wants.

  16. Jameishas2go Says:

    O.J. Howard underachieved to this point. First it was due to injuries the first two years. Now it is because of a lack of confidence in this new system.

    If I had on problem with this coaching staff, is the complete lack of variety when it comes to using the tight end position to exploit mismatches in the passing game.

    I have seen other teams split there Tight End out wide and we don’t do that with OJ at all. He is used inline exclusively.

    If they are not going to cultivate his talent, move it along to someone who will.

  17. ElioT Says:

    The dude is bigger and faster than Evans and could be the best TE in football.

    With that said, he’s done nothing to justify his draft position and couldn’t even hold George Kittles jock.

    Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane and has been a huge disappointment.

    Disclaimer: I was ecstatic when they drafted OJ.

    Brate: Wildly overpaid, cannot begin to justify his $7million. – only way the Bucs trade him (maybe a 5th round pick) is if they eat 80% of his salary.

  18. JimmyJack Says:

    First off I think OJ is a complete stiff and I never liked this guy. He also does not at all seem to fit with the mentality of this team.

    For him to not step up in the last two weeks when he was desperately needed is my final straw. I hope they trade this guy and I don’t care the compensation. If not I’m fine just flat cutting him.

    And yes OJ probably will do fine somewhere else. He is a great example of why changing coach’s every 2 years kills a franchise. Everytime you do it you take guys you invested in and builded on(like OJ) and throw them right in the trash.

    Look at the teams that stay on top and the common denominator is continuity. Building teams with kneejerk reactions is a proven failure.

  19. Jgar Says:

    Most OVERATED player on Bucs squad. He’s soft and he’s got iron hands.

  20. Elita Vita Says:

    As far as I saw over the last few years I saw OJ having exceptional talent. Instead I wonder if at some point or another he just wanted not to stay with the Buccaneers…..(it’s only a hunch). Now, it seems that he may not be a future Buc. If the reason is he has been overrated or if his effort has become more limited let’s do a trade now while he still has some value.

  21. Adrnagy Says:

    Bring him back along with jameis. There young. They have their head up their ***. They’ll be fine. The offense needs a JPP.

  22. Wesley Says:

    Do not give up on this guy, he will be a beast. It’s ridiculous that we don’t ever target him.

  23. Wesley Says:

    They never target him, how is that his fault?

  24. Buccfan37 Says:

    Another Licht stab in the dark pick. I didn’t like the pick when it was made. Howard makes the rare impact plays if all of the stars are aligned.

  25. Adrnagy Says:

    Maybe the plan on O.J. all season was not to target him and making him a better blocking TE. This offseason I bet we get a good blocking TE along with O.J. and then the mind games with defenses will be good.

  26. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    another in a long line of no plan lichts dumb draft picks, i mean the bucs have needed an RB forever and could have picked a great one that year but ol crafty licht

  27. Adrnagy Says:

    Can’t wait for the next season game dates. I’ll be booking tickets to Las Vegas game.

  28. DR FEELGOOD Says:

    Not a bust!! Another misused talent by our wonderful staff and organization. Anyone else would’ve used him as the complete physical mismatch that he is. I have been a Jameis supporter this whole time, but if you can’t use OJ Howard, YOU SUCK!!! Am I the only one that sees that the pick sixes are mostly on hitch plays in the slot? How the f&ck doesn’t Jameis see that? WTF?

  29. The Coroner Says:

    Byron Houdini Leftwich can make tight ends vanish.

  30. Dom>Licht Says:

    I’ll say it again OJ did not fall to us in the draft, more competent GMs passed on an over rated player…. Licht sucks!

  31. lambchop Says:

    For anyone to judge BOTH TEs under this system as an indictment of how they play is pure negligence and ignorance. Have they made mistakes? Yea, who hasn’t that wears the Bucs jersey?

    Howard has shown flashes of speed and hands, but he needs to be used more and put in situations to contribute. The argument about him not being a special blocker? Well how many sacks did we give up? I’ll wait because we armchair coaches think he sucks at blocking. He may not be the best, but some of the greatest TEs were receivers first, blockers second.

    I for one, think it’s bad coaching and under-utilizing our TEs in the passing game that has directly resulted in BOTH TEs looking horrible this year. You cannot understate how they both played subpar in a BA/BL system. It’s well documented how TEs are an after thought.

    Put Brate or Juice on the Falcons, Saints, Panthers, Cowboys, Chiefs, or Patriots and BOTH would be Probowl TEs for their respective teams. Every team in the NFC South has a TE happy system except the Bucs after Koetter and Monken left.

  32. Go Bucs 72 Says:

    Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.

  33. catcard202 Says:

    Remember when Licht came back from 2017 Senior Bowl all 6-midnight for OJ’s skillset, after seeing him dominate a week of practices. Yeah, good times.

  34. Gator bait Says:

    With the dumbest pick in the NFL Draft the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take Jay May win some..

  35. Gerald McBezos Says:

    He’s exactly the player he was in college.

    And so is Dalvin Cook.

  36. Bucs Fan From Philly Says:

    Pats will give you a third for him in the offseason. Or use him to trade up into the second round

  37. Destinjohnny Says:

    O.J. was open allllll day…

  38. #1bucfan Says:

    Joe I feel like that one is on the coaching staff.

  39. Pete I Says:

    “He’s simply not delivering like a mid-first-round pick should. Who gets the greatest share of the blame doesn’t matter more than the bottom line.”

    If only we applied this simple logic to the 30-30 man.

  40. Defense Rules Says:

    I agree with TBBF, something’s very wrong here. OJ was in on 68% of the Bucs’ offensive snaps this season (14 games), while Brate was in on only 37% (16 games). Last season, OJ was in on only 39% of the offensive snaps (10 games) to Brate’s 48% (16 games). And in 2017 it was OJ 56% (14 games) to Brate’s 53% (16 games).

    Statistically this has been a very strange year for BOTH TEs. OJ’s catch percentage is down to 64.2% and his Yards/Reception is down to 13.5 this year with only 1 TD (in comparison to last year’s 5 TDs on fewer targets). Cam’s catch percentage is up however to 67.3% while his Yards/Reception is down to 8.8 with only 3 TDs (in comparison to last year’s 6 TDs on roughly the same number of targets).

    Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s more about how the Bucs’ Offensive Coordinator is using BOTH players this year as opposed to last year? Personal opinion: this Bucs’ offense (Bombs Away? Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead? Whatever?) is a relic of times long past. The Saints figured that out after their 2014-2015-2016 losing seasons of 7-9 each year … and CHANGED THEIR APPROACH TO THE GAME, offensively AND defensively. The Bucs haven’t caught up yet.

  41. Mr. Reality Says:

    Yeah sad, Winston targets the other team more than he does his own TE.

  42. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    And to think, Lightless was so giddy thinking he stole a draft pick on O.J.

    Yeah, JL…you stole him after 18 other professional GM’s passed on him, but you’re so much smarter than them, right?

  43. Eric Says:

    I’ll say great coaches find away to use all their players the Bucc failed this young man not the other way around!

  44. Rod Munch Says:

    What a huge disappointment…. HUGE!

    I guess we now trade him… but man… what a waste. Also whatever we do we can’t allow for him to end up back in the NFC South…

    The guy had a horrible season this year, but he has too much talent to let that happen again.

  45. Rod Munch Says:

    “AKickInTheBucNuts Says:
    December 30th, 2019 at 4:47 am
    And to think, Lightless was so giddy thinking he stole a draft pick on O.J.

    Yeah, JL…you stole him after 18 other professional GM’s passed on him, but you’re so much smarter than them, right?”

    When you pick 19, and a player is available, it literally means every player available was passed over by 18 teams…

    It’s math.

  46. Noles Says:

    He is a combine player. He had very few catches in college & most were busted coverage wide open catches. People thought if he just had more opportunity he would put up big numbers. He is not good 3 years in if he had half of the talent he was drafted for we would have seen something
    … HE HAS NO DOG in him… weak minded player it seems.

  47. Jeff Says:

    Howard looks like a broken robot out there. Stone hands, clunky feet, he’s a mess. Now we know why all the teams ahead of the Bucs passed.

  48. Ed Says:

    OJ still has potential but BA and Byron have soured on him, so have fans. He doesn’t fit in on this team. He should fetch a # 3 draft pick. Cowboys or Falcons or Pats can utilize him better than Bucs. Maybe Koetter wants him on Atlanta. He clearly has some trade value on any team that uses tight ends in passing game.

  49. Bucsfanman Says:

    I don’t buy this “they’re not using him properly” stuff. He’s out there running routes, it’s up to the QB to get him the ball.
    Then, I’ll just go ahead and point out the obvious. The Bucs over-valued OJ in a draft where they had ZERO business drafting a TE. OJ was a “luxury pick” for a team that couldn’t afford luxury. That is the cold-hard facts!

  50. NOLES Says:

    Amen & well said bucsfanman… it was a LUXURY pick from a team that couldn’t afford one. I am sure Koetter was in JL’s ear bc his offense used 2 TE’s. It was JL’s job to tell Koetter NO….

  51. unbelievable Says:

    While his ball catching skills definitely seemed questionable at times this year, I don’t know how you call a guy bust when no one ever throws him the damn ball?

    But hey wtdik

  52. Bucsfanman Says:

    unbelievable- “Bust” seems a bit strong considering that he can’t throw AND catch. He’s had good moments, and some forgettable moments too. I just think it was the wrong choice. I thought it then, I think it now.
    To me, he’s just an average TE at this point.

  53. unbelievable Says:


    Yea I totally get where you’re coming from. It was a bit of luxury pick, but he also appeared to be a generational talent (size and speed). Seemed like we were gonna wreak havoc on the league with 2 tight end formations. He made some crazy plays under Koetter, but was never targeted all that much. And now under Arians his targets have dropped off a cliff.

    So I just can’t call the guy a bust when he doesn’t control getting the ball. I would agree he’s been mostly average, though I would maybe say average, with massive potential…

    If we’re simply not gonna utilize him, then trade him for picks. But I’d way rather see him running all over the field with linebackers trying (and failing) to cover him. He does appear to lack that killer instinct though, which is a Ted flag imo.

  54. unbelievable Says:

    *red flag, lol

  55. Greg Says:

    Too bad Bellicheat wouldn’t trade Sony Michel for OJ!

  56. lambchop Says:


    Do you understand the concept of putting a player in mismatch situations? Or scheming a TE open? They have done it with Juice in the past and even some this year. The problem is, we rely on our WR1 and WR2 a LOT. There are plenty of balls to go around, but it’s a creative OC who uses all his weapons to keep a defense off balance.

    It’s not like Mike Evans has never dropped passes or ran bad routes. Do we trade him too?