“His Eyes Should Light Up”

March 26th, 2020


The message from Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians to tight end O.J. Howard yesterday was clear:

Time to light up the sky.

But is it that simple?

Arians, in a conference call with the local pen and mic club, was asked if the addition of new quarterback Tom Brady would be a plus for Howard, who has underwhelmed as a first round pick. Howard last season seemingly handed more picks to opponents than he caught touchdowns.

“I think anytime you have a quarterback come in that has thrown a bunch of touchdowns to tight ends your eyes light up,” Arians said. “His eyes should light up. It’s still going out on the practice field and earning that trust. I think that will be his number one focus. You have a quarterback that likes to throw to tight ends, go earn it and get balls thrown to you.”

Much easier to say than do. Remember, Howard was drafted by a team that already had a quarterback who liked to throw to his tight end for a coach that loved using tight ends.

Outside of a scattered handful of big plays, Howard didn’t make much impact. Then last year, aside from the aforementioned plays Howard set up for the defense, Howard’s impact was minimal.

Besides, how is a tight end supposed to make plays when he’s being kept in mostly to non-block? It’s kind of hard to catch touchdowns when you are not running a pass route.

60 Responses to ““His Eyes Should Light Up””

  1. doctor_berto Says:

    Howard is too soft to be a dominant tight end. When you’re that big and athletic you should not be avoiding contact and scared to catch passes over the middle. Brady will find out very quick that Howard is no Gronk.

  2. Robert Says:

    Fitz showed his value, the other guy only saw 2 targets.

    Brady, AMERICAS QUARTERBACK, will make him a probowler!

  3. martinii Says:

    I finally conceded on booting Winston and am looking forward to the short Brady era. I do think Howard should get one more season to prove he was 1st round material. Too much talent and youth there to develop especially with Brady throwing the ball.

  4. Pugs&Bucs Says:

    Why is it “time” now?

    Why wasn’t it “time” last year when he was dropping passes and handing the ball to the other team like a dyslexic Globetrotter.

    Dalvin Cook was the pick.
    Dalvin Cook was the pick.
    Dalvin Cook was the pick.

  5. TOM Says:

    I would gladly trade Howard for Edelman. Would make TB12 extremely happy.

  6. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Brady will throw Howard open. Jameis had a habit of delivering the ball too late at the end of his route tree and was a standing target allowing the defender to close the gap. Brady is going to make a huge difference in the short and intermediate routes getting the ball out on time.

  7. ZZbuc Says:

    Howard will be great !!! He had a great first year with Koetter, and an irregular on the second because he had more blocking functions than catching…..
    I have tons of faith on OJ……
    Let´s see what happens with the season, not sure if it will start with the panedemia crap…..

  8. BucEmUp Says:

    I dont thimk hes soft I think hes lazy

  9. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Daily reminder that all of the people yelling for Cook are FSU shills that could care less how good this team is as long as the team is stocked with FSU players.

    Ramzcyk, Watt, and Tre White were the right picks if you want to play at that game.

  10. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    It’s so awesome that we actually have America’s QB now…

    Maybe Joe helped manifest this for all those years of dropping the Anericac’s QB moniker on Jameis (bcuz he ‘moves the needle’) Lol… Um, yeah how would say that Jameis ‘moves the needle’ compared to Brady?

    Brady is and has always been America’s QB, Joe… This is why people thought you were ridiculous for calling J Dub that for all those years…

    Now with Brady coming here, you can’t even call him America’s QB like he deserves bcuz you wasted it on Jameis…


  11. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    Typo.. *America’s QB

  12. bucnole Says:

    I could totally see OJ explode this year if he keeps his head on straight and works hard.
    Last year he dropped off the map (perhaps) because he is a young player selected high in RD1 and when it didn’t happen for him he pouted a little bit – we see it happen every year. Young players often think they are owed something based upon where they were selected – the truth is just the opposite – the more is expected of you

  13. geno711 Says:

    Howard was very bad last year. He did show a solid amount of skill in 2018 though.

    I am not as ready to write him off as much as some other Buc’s fans. Maybe he will never quite realize his potential but definitely looking forward to seeing what he might do this year.

  14. Marine Buc Says:

    Suh signing has been made official. I’m glad big boy 93 is coming back for another year. Best run defense in the NFL combined with an improved DB group.

    Go Bucs!!!

  15. El Buco Realisto Says:

    “His eyes should light up” when Jay-miss said goodbye, and now OJ will not have to play DEFENSE after all those turnovers thru the years!!!!!!!!!!

    go bucs!!!!!!!!

  16. SOEbuc Says:


    First of all let me say awesome name. Just watched an awesome documentary. But yeah Bucs fans were gushing over Howard after his rookie year and now ppl want him gone because a case of sophomore slumps getting blamed for causing interceptions thrown by 30/30. TE are going to get more touches and all of these guys will listen to where Brady wants them. Guaranteed come back stats for OJ this year.

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Worst posts ever: “We shoulda drafted Dalvin Cook” and “We shoulda drafted Derwin James”. If you love those guys so much, follow their teams.

  18. Elita Vita Says:

    It seemed that Howard wasn’t motivated to play with last years group of Buccaneers. Now, with Brady at the helm, let’s hope his interest perks up. Any decent/motivated tight end would love the opportunity to play on a team with Brady who really knows how to utilize his tight ends.

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Even though Howard has a faster 40 time (4.51) than Brate’s (4.56)……Brate seems to get open easier…..now that may be because Howard stays in to block longer…..or Brate simply runs the routes crisper…….

    Brate seems like the type of target that Brady will like best…..

    Part of me wishes we still had Hump….

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Cook has played in 29 career games 14 last year

  21. ChanEpic Says:

    @MarineBuc – Improved LB group too. Devin White really started coming on late last season.

  22. ChanEpic Says:

    @Joe in Mich – maybe drafting Akers will stop that kind of talk.

  23. 813bucboi Says:

    gotta earn that trust as BA said…..

    obviously BA and BL didnt trust OJ in games…..

    couldve been because his practice habits…..

    brady will help get him right….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  24. Waterboy Says:

    Can’t remember who said it but with Brady at QB we’ll all find out real quick about OJ Howard.

  25. matthew veal Says:

    Two year window. Maximize the remaining money. Future not relevant after that, we’ve had losing before and can take it.

    Like jameous if this guy leaves us and figures it out, I just can’t worry too much because now is the time. I can’t say with precision, but I’ve made my peace with hardass Joe so I figure he’s on to something good now and I’m getting out of the way except to fight the dreamers at this moment in time.

  26. NOLES Says:

    Well said Doctor….

    Howard is soft you can’t coach that out of a player.. too bad.

    He’s gonna love Brate… for sure bc he can catch

  27. Ndog Says:

    It’s funny all of you people implore the folks on here that supported our former QB to move on yet you are the ones that bring him up to bash him EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE. It’s like you paid no attention to the team and just looked forward to ripping him, deserved or not. Now that he is gone you losers don’t know what to do with yourselves. Typical, pathetic CLUELESS lemmings.

  28. sincethebeginning Says:

    OJ’s bad season last year was really strange to me, and at the end of the day I think his lack of involvement as the year went on was simply due to the fact that the coaches and his teammates had lost a lot of faith in him bringing his A-game every time.

    I will concede that a part of it might have been him sulking because he was kept in for pass protection a lot more than he wanted to be. He didn’t go out on routes and look aggressive because it didn’t look like he believed the ball was going to come to him. He had a weird focus last year. Or lack of focus I guess.

    I think the biggest part of it has to do with him still not adjusting to the physicality of the NFL. He’s not the fastest strongest biggest toughest guy he goes up against every time like he had at Alabama. Even these linebackers and safeties and even corners who are so much smaller than him, they’re NFL top shelf athletic adults, and they lay the wood and he knows it.

    I used to wonder if it was an attitude problem because he was getting his butt chewed by BA all the time, but that can’t be it because you know the Alabama coaches were doing the same thing back in the day.

    My only conclusion right now is that he’s just simply a physically soft player, much softer than everybody on the planet thought he was going to be. Getting hit is in his head all the time and he doesn’t like the physicality and speed he has to go up against, he still hasn’t adjusted to it.

    I hope I’m wrong! If he doesn’t get out there and produce this year, he’s an official bust no doubt about it. It feels like Jameis all over again, the coaching staff and his teammates are going to give him every opportunity to do well. Can he step up and do the job right or will he follow JW out the door after the season ends?

    Again, I hope I’m wrong. I’m really pulling for OJ to turn it around!!

  29. ZZbuc Says:

    SOEbuc…u r tha mannnnnn!!! Keep safe bro!!

  30. Jeffbuc Says:

    Ndog it’s just we’re not blinded by love for a player. Just like there were people sticking up for gmc last year saying how it was a mistake. And they kept saying he just needed better help better this. And he leaves and all the gmc lovers saying it was a mistake he is going to have 10 sacks and be an all pro on a real team. All he does is turn a top 5 run defense into last in Carolina. And we go from 31 to 1st. And have the 2nd most sacks in bucs history. We all know jameis was the problem and know we ha e a chance to win every game. I rooted and hoped jameis would get better but after 5 years it wasn’t happening. Can’t keep hoping this is the year. And if it isn’t the next offseason hope that is the year. It is an endless cycle putting a whole teams and fan bases season hopes on an if

  31. adam from ny Says:

    howard will have to wake up…

    if not he could be a trade deadline casualty to beef up the oline some more for tom gravy…


  32. Jeffbuc Says:

    Oh had his problems but I also just have the vision of him turning to catch a ball and a rocket ball wizzing by him that he barely gets to put a finger on it. There’s was never any touch on the balls to him. Everyone was a 100 mph fastball from ten yards away. And they were high no one is going to have a high catch percentage on throws like that

  33. Ndog Says:

    No Jeffbuc you are blinded by the dislike of one player. The fact that you say he was “the problem” shows that you are blinded by dislike as he was the leader of the only part of this team that was even above average past year. But that’s ok keep taking your shots, cause just like with the way the Bucs handled this whole thing karma’s a b!tch.

  34. Ndog Says:

    Jeffbuc Says:
    March 26th, 2020 at 1:07 pm
    Oh had his problems but I also just have the vision of him turning to catch a ball and a rocket ball wizzing by him that he barely gets to put a finger on it. There’s was never any touch on the balls to him. Everyone was a 100 mph fastball from ten yards away. And they were high no one is going to have a high catch percentage on throws like that

    Again ⬆️ a bold face flat out lie! Not even close to being true but again you are showing who you are a bold face lier.

    You do know there is film right you can’t just make stuff up and not be disproved, you are so full of it or truly are football stupid

  35. jmarkbuc Says:

    Howard has a WR mind in a TE body.

    Not sure he’s too into the grunt work.

  36. SteveK Says:


    If Jameis was “above average” he’d be signed. He’s not because he’s not.

    Our targets are studs. Watch this year buddy!

  37. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    I’d be cool with Winston as Brady’s backup for a couple seasons, then maybe Winston can possibly take over again when Brady retires…

    Now that Winston isn’t signing anywhere else, that seems like a plausible option…

    @ Joes, why haven’t I heard anyone mention this scenario???

  38. Ndog Says:

    Right SteveK he was well above average. Believe what you want cause I don’t really give a crap and frankly I’m tired of trying to teach your dumb a$$.

  39. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    I’ve heard mentions of ‘Winston should sign with NO to be Brees’ backup and possibly take over in a couple years’, but why not just do that in Tampa as Brady’s backup???

    I mean, who better to learn from than Brady?

  40. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    @ Joes,

    I think I’m onto something here…

  41. BucsFIRE Says:

    Tampabuscsbro Says:
    “Daily reminder that all of the people yelling for Cook are FSU shills”

    Or could it be that Cook has been one of the most productive rushers in the NFL? Then there is that. But yes, you are the expert.

  42. SteveK Says:

    Ndog Says:
    March 26th, 2020 at 1:37 pm
    Right SteveK he was well above average. Believe what you want cause I don’t really give a crap and frankly I’m tired of trying to teach your dumb a$$


    Now, now, NDog. Why is an above average QB unsigned?

    Please enlighten me.

    For those keeping score at home, I believe you are more of an ass hat than I am a dumb ass. All good, carry on, let’s get real!

  43. stpetebucsfan Says:


    JW as our backup has been brought up frequently here…perhaps most prominently by Munchkin.

    Brady has some flaws to go with his strengths…one supposed flaw is that he doesn’t work well with young QB’s. He certainly doesn’t want to work with a headcase like JW. And it’s not just JW…anybody who thinks Brady came here to help the Bucs train a new QB drafted or whatever is delusional. He’s coming to help the Bucs win a SB…that’s it!

    Second…What makes anybody believe that JW wants to eat that much crow to play backup for us. Right about now JW possibly has a bad case of the red arse towards Buc management for his unceremonious dumping. And could we blame him?

    Third…MONEY. We are tapped out. Would JW take a cut from his 20 million of last year. He’s supposed to come back for a fraction of what he made last year?
    JW thought he was in line for a ten million dollar RAISE not a cut.

    4th The Fans and the gamble. JW is one “hassle” away from sitting for an entire year. More than half of our fan base wanted JW gone long before we even knew Tom Brady was available. There is no longer any middle ground on “Blameless”. NOT HIS fault of course but for some mystical reason more than half of our fan base loathes him.

  44. BucsFIRE Says:

    Ndog Says:
    “he was well above average. Believe what you want cause I don’t really give a crap”

    Imagine this as..
    “I was well above average. Believe what you want cause I don’t really give a crap”

    It sounds like next might say, “Check your sheet.”

    Are you sure you aren’t Jameis?

  45. dmatt Says:

    I absolutely agree with u 110%. The jury is out on OJ Howard. Brady will make him or break him.

  46. doctor_berto Says:

    To those saying OJ was great before last year, you are wrong. All of his long tds before last season were gimmicky plays to make him wide open down the field, similar to those at Alabama. He is just not the playmaker that we thought he was when he was drafted. I hope I’m wrong because I was super pumped when we drafted him. Just don’t see it.

  47. Craig Says:

    I remember seeing OJ wide open a few times and watch the ball get thrown somewhere else.

    Jameis rarely got past 1 on his progression list. That left no balls for the TEs, because they weren’t in the progression often enough.

    OJ might have gotten frustrated last season and slacked off some, but that won’t happen with Brady running the offense.

    OJ will be a lot better this year, so will Brate.

  48. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    St Pete,

    Ok yeah, forget about Winston as our backup then… Maybe Jordan Love in Rd 1 to train under Brady ala the Mahomes scenario, but it would prob be 2 years of sitting for Love vs the 1 season Mahomes sat.. *if we can’t get one of the Big 4 Tackles,that is… Hmm

  49. Joe in Michigan Says:

    ChanEpic Says:

    @Joe in Mich – maybe drafting Akers will stop that kind of talk.

    I’d like to see that, or any of a number of good RB’s in this draft.

  50. Bucs Guy Says:

    Trade OJ while you can still get something for him. Bucs aren’t going to pick up his 5th year option and I’m pretty sure they won’t re-sign him next year when he’s an FA.

  51. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:


    Side note, I’m a local St Pete artist and I started a Social Initiative called I AM ST PETE, to highlight and celebrate the people who make the St Pete community so great; and to promote unity & culture etc…

    Anyway, the shirts are pretty cool if you want one… It just says I AM ST PETE… I’ll send you one at no charge if you’d like… You can find my contact info on my webpage in the hyperlink and you can see the shirt logo on the I AM ST PETE Instagram page…

    And anyone else from St Pete, please follow the Instagram page for I AM ST PETE if you would…


    Thank you in advance…

  52. Capt.Tim Says:

    I said it last year.
    Howard lacks the passion and intensity Needed to succeed in the NFL.
    Not an insult. We are who we are.
    Look for Brate, Auclair, and Hudson to prosper. All three are actually good TEs.

  53. unbelievable Says:

    It’s kind of hard to catch touchdowns when you are not running a pass route.

    And there in lies the problem: with a better O-line, you don’t need him back to block all the time. You can have Howard just chip a DE or LB, and then go and run a route where he is a massive mismatch against defenders.

  54. SteveK Says:

    OJ is going to be fine. Brady will be all over him and developing him.

    OJ did well at Bama- a program with strong leadership. The Bucs have strong leadership now.

  55. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    I am not sure whether it is more embarrassing for OJ… or for Jameis…

    OJ Howard had more TACKLES last season than TD receptions.

  56. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Thanks for that terrific offer I plan on taking you up. One of the many reasons I love St Pete is because of our vibrant artist community. I love the Artwalk on the designated Saturdays.

    Walk down Central…visit a few galleries…stop at sidewalk cafe for a glass of vino…then some more artists…more vino..more artists…It’s great.

    BTW You probably know this but the Magazine American Style named St. Pete the number 1 city for the Arts for cities not in the top ten metro. We win this award a lot and beat cities like New Orleans…Richmond…Tampa does well finishing 3rd.

    Oh and as for your ideas about who to get to backup JW…I’ll take your word for that. Outside of Burrow and Trevor Lawrence I didn’t really follow College ball enough.

  57. Iamabuc Says:

    During that draft, I kept wondering why he kept being passed on when he was supposed to be the best player in that draft…remember?…now we have a pretty good idea why..

  58. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - City of St Pete Says:

    St Pete,

    Sounds good. And yes, I agree that St Pete is a great place to live and work…

    My number is on my St Pete Arts Alliance page and you can text me your address or I’m sure my email is listed somewhere too…

    Should be an exciting season (if we can actually get it in)…

  59. Jeagan1999 Says:

    OJ has all the physical tools to be one of the top receiving TE’s in the league. Brady will bring out the best in him, and I’ll bet a lot of Gronk film will be watched by the 2 of them together!

  60. Zuk Says:

    Who cares? Cameron Brate will be the preferred target.