Credit Where Credit Is Due

January 4th, 2020

Bad matchup for TEs.

A lot of folks are getting on Bucs tight end O.J. Howard for being invisible Sunday in the season finale against the Dixie Chicks.

With the Bucs down two stud receivers, it seemed reasonable to believe the Bucs tight ends, both talented enough to be Pro Bowlers, would step up and dominate. That didn’t happen but Brate did catch a touchdown on one of his three targets. Howard was not targeted at all.

In a prior mailbag at, Scott Smith predicted one of the two talented Bucs tight ends would have a big day (whoops) but Smith was very accurate detailing how good the Dixie Chicks’ defense has been this year against tight ends.

I think the amount that the Bucs can get out of their athletic tight end could really swing things in one direction or another. It won’t necessarily be easy; according to Football Outsiders, Atlanta’s defense is 11th best in the NFL at defending tight ends, and in the first Bucs-Falcons meeting in Week 12 Howard and Brate were held to a combined one catch for 12 yards.

Of course, in the first game the Bucs, not exactly inclined to feature tight ends in the offense, didn’t need help from tight ends because Chris Godwin was running wild.

Yeah, we are all bummed the tight ends were not used much last week. That’s on the Bucs coaches.

But sometimes you have to doff your cap to the guy on the other side of the field. Those guys get paid too. and it could have been the Dixie Chicks’ defense just didn’t allow many opportunities for the Bucs’ tight ends.

32 Responses to “Credit Where Credit Is Due”

  1. Wesley Says:

    It’s not his fault they didn’t target him. They have to get him involved in the game. People giving up on him because of a couple dropped balls is ridiculous, dude will be a stud.

  2. Jean Lafitte Says:

    That can be said about every single play on the field. The bad guy can win some of those one on one battles. My question is when a player like O.J. is confronted by serious talent opposite him does he battle harder or does he relinquish and wither away for the rest of the game? Unlike, certain warriors like Godwin, JPP, and Barrett. Sometimes you have to ask where’s the fight in the dog?

  3. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Let me add David to that too. He’s definitely got some dog in him.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe, I admit that I’m confused. In our 2 games against Atlanta, OJ was targeted for a TOTAL of 2 times & caught 1 for 10 yards. Cam was targeted a TOTAL of 3 times & caught 1 for 2 yards, a TD. Cam wasn’t targeted in the 1st game at all, and OJ wasn’t targeted in the 2nd game at all.

    Yet Brate played 33% of the offensive snaps in the 1st game and 53% of the snaps in the 2nd game. OJ played 78% of the offensive snaps in the 1st game and 75% of the snaps in the 2nd game. So in 136 combined offensive snaps, our 2 TEs were targeted a grand total of FIVE times with 2 receptions for a TOTAL of 12 yards, 1 for a TD.

    Yes, something’s wrong in Bucsville. But I don’t think it’s our two $10 mil TEs who have the problem. MIGHT be our OC. MIGHT be our QB. Or it MIGHT be BA trying to teach some more ‘lessons’. Regardless of what the cause is, it was unacceptable. We lost & 2 of our best resources weren’t adequately incorporated into the losing gameplan. Not impressed.

  5. Ed Kerber Says:

    This is where Freddie Kitchens can come in as a TE coach and resurrect three careers (OJ Howard, Jason Licht, and his own)!

  6. Ocala Says:

    He has butterfingers and fumbles the ball.
    Not that surprised he is not targeted much.

  7. PriMech54 Says:

    What Ocala said. OJ might be a freak athlete but is not a great football player. Almost zero ball skills. It’s what separated guys like Tony G. They had all the measurables AND they had a relationship with the football and knew how to catch it at any given angle. Even with all that being said, he still has the potential to be the best tight end walking on the planet despite the current reality.

    That idea about Freddie Kitchens coming in for the tight ends might not actually be a half bad one.

  8. dmatt Says:

    Jean Lafitte,
    I agree with you 100%. Where’s the fight in OJ? He’s timid n passive. A player with his size n speed has no business running out of bounds from a cb that he outweighs by 40lbs.And, he goes down too easy on first point of contact.

  9. Stanglassman Says:

    OJ’s illegal block was huge in the ATL game so he did make a major impact. Just not the kind you want.

    Playoff thread.
    Nothing against D. White but Ed Oliver is just dominate and a big reason why the Bulls are in the playoffs right now.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If we got rid of every player who dropped a couple of passes we wouldn’t have any left…….>Rojo, Evans, Godwin, Perriman, Brate, OJ……

    And when a player isn’t targeted you can hardly fault him completely….unless he failed to get open.

  11. NPRSageBoy. Says:

    And where does the great and powerful knucklehead JayMiss Winnone go with the first pass of the OT period?

    Yep, TE. Looked at the TE the whole time. LB said so. Ball wasn’t topped either, like JayMiss said. BA said it was a bad decision. The last of many I hope.

    Give credit to ATL and Raheem Morris for knowing where our loser QB was going with the ball before he threw it, too.

    Give blame to JayMiss. Hopefully for last time as a Buc. He’s not the Pick 6 Champion for nothing.

    Peace, out.

  12. Bucs Guy Says:

    Trade OJ for draft picks – 2nd and 4th.

  13. BigMacAttack Says:

    Bucs’ nearsighted colorblind quarterback may be a contributor 😂

  14. JimmyJack Says:

    This dude has been nothing but hype since he got here. And some y’all still saying he could be the best TE in football. Don’t make me gag.

    I need my TEs to be tough as nails. This dud is the softest player on the team. He is a bad football player……And the crying that he didn’t get forced fed…..Go cry to your Ma Ma about it. OJ is undependable and untrustworthy. He can bite me if he wants the ball.

    He showed us his true colors in the Texans game. We really needed him that game. Instead he was the worst football player on the field.

  15. Stanglassman Says:

    Nobody is hating on O.J. for dropping the occasional pass. It’s his lack of effort and heart. He also caused so many turnover and his inability to stay healthy does not bode well. If he had just half the heard/effort Kittle plays with he’d be the 2nd coming if Gronk. That’s the frustrating part O.J. size, speed and raw talent is there. If maybe a little part scheme but a lot of it is in O.J. I thought he’d make the jump to top 2-3 TE this season but we all know how that went.

    Playoff thread.
    Josh Allen is a perfect example of how important it is to build a solid team around your Qb and he will succeed. Allen is ask to do such a small percentage of what is expected of Jameis. If Jameis played for a team like the Bills he may not throw for 5K and 30+ TDs but his Ints would BA at least cut in half.

  16. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Wow Stanglassman…really? Are we watching the same game?

    Even the announcers are commenting on his throws!

    He’s smooth and clearly sees the field far better than JW and he made remember how herky jerky JW is….JW has a cannon but he’s far from a graceful athlete.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    JimmyJack … OJ was on the field for almost 70% of the Bucs’ offensive snaps this season. Seems to me that if he was “the softest player on the team” that BA wouldn’t have let him on the field nearly that much. There’s something more going on here. None of us know what it is however.

    Stanglassman … Josh Allen has thoroughly impressed me so far in this playoff game against the Texans. Throwing this season for only 59% completion rate & a tad over 3,000 yards isn’t very impressive, but he did throw for 20 TDs against only 9 INTs. Add in a little over 500 yards rushing & 9 rushing TDs and that’s not a bad season, especially when you start all 16 games and go 10-6 AND make the playoffs. And oh ya, at $5 mil this year he’s making less than one-quarter of what Jameis made. That $16 mil difference in pay bought the Bills several really good players who, together with Josh Allen, probably made more of a difference in the Bills’ 10-6 record than Jameis by himself did in our 7-9 record.

  18. stpetebucsfan Says:


    “But sometimes you have to doff your cap to the guy on the other side of the field. Those guys get paid too.”

    Thanks for bring some class to the blog. Sportsmanship. What a concept.

    Makes me think of the recently departed Sam Wyche.

  19. Stanglassman Says:

    Yeah we are. He is a good game manager. This last drive he threw one screen pass and 3-8 in the only time he was ask to do anything he just held the ball til he got sacked. The commenters also talked about the 3 turnover he should have if the Texans capitalized on the passes he threw right to them. One was a pick six to Jj Watt.

    The Bills are a very good balanced team that doesn’t ask much from their Qb. Great defense and lots of production in the run game. Jameis would take this team like this or the Titian’s to the Super Bowl. That’s why we want the Bucs to continue to built this team and not start over with another Qb.

  20. Ocala Says:

    I agree Stanglassman

  21. Dapostman Says:

    And on the other side of the field the Bucs couldn’t stop a Tight End with a butt plug.

    Tight ends don’t win you Championships unless you are Gronk.

  22. gotbbucs Says:

    He was our in-line blocking TE all year and the offense barely featured the TE. I said before the season that Arians has never had much production out of his TE’s, and we saw it first hand. Truth be told, it’s probably part of the reason Winston’s Int numbers went up. He was usually throwing into cornerback coverage instead of LB and SS.

  23. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    Big time players make big time plays in crunch time. OJ does nothing except for killing drives with fumbles, drops and penalties. Would love the Bucs to trade up for the Oregon QB and throw in O.J. as a sweetener.

  24. The Ghost of Leeman Bennett Says:

    Another fine example of drafting excellence by our GM

  25. Jgar Says:

    They didn’t target him because with all his supposedly great talent and speed he only uses about 30 percent. He’s soft and he’s tremendously overrated. I know his rookie contract is in effect but trade him and see if any team (DOUBTFUL) is dumb enough to give us a mid round draft pick.

  26. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    Watching the QBs in the playoffs just confirms to me how we’ll never get to the playoffs with the turnover machine. Sadly, the Bucs will re sign or franchise JW out of fear and will subject us fans to many more losses.

  27. catcard202 Says:

    OJ’s 2019 targets were up from 2017/2018, but his production was down. Catch % down…Some of that is on OJ, but just as much is JW3 forcing balls in certain situations…As well as, BA’s/Leftwich’s offensive scheme & philosophies not utilizing the TE in a major way.

    For context, BA’s 2015 13-3 AZ team led by Carson Palmer -who threw for over 4600yds/35TD’s…Cards top 2 TE’s only combined for 39 catches for the season = less than 550yds & 4 TD’s…W/ AZ top 2 WR’s totaling 174 catches & both going for over 1000yds each….Sound familiar???

  28. MirrorMirrowOnTheWall Says:

    He is soft. Period! That is why the Buccaneers could not trade him.

  29. catcard202 Says:

    1) If OJ was soft, he never would have made it playing for Saban/ALA. Period.

    2) Bucs could have traded OJ, but were not going to get value in return. (You don’t toss away an asset – even one your not utilizing properly – unless the return is right. (A late 3rd rd pick wasn’t enough to move him to NE!)

  30. Mister Negative Nancy Says:

    Problem with Bucs offense was entirely the turnovers, mostly from Winston.

    Otherwise they had plenty of yards, first downs and red zone TD’s, which is when you’d care about tight ends.

    Both tight ends deserve to be on another team though, as this offense isn’t going to help their careers. Unfair to them.

  31. Thisisouryear!!! Says:

    I haven’t understood this all season. Tiny % of targets to the tight ends. Is could be the scheme. I think it’s Jameis. He doesn’t spread the ball around well at all. He never has. Fitz showed what O.J. can do but he hasn’t been used the same since. Jameis used to target Brate but since he got comfortable w Godwin, it’s only Godwin and Evans. I don’t have a stat but I would guess fo Jameis the hot receiver in th game probably has 35-40%of the passes come there way.

  32. TOM Says:

    As long as BA is HC Howard will never be what the bucs thought he’d be. Trade him & Brate & go with the other TE’s on roster.