Jimmie Giles Breaks Down Rob Gronkowski & O.J. Howard

April 22nd, 2020

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Seeking sage wisdom on Rob Gronkowski, it makes sense to reach out to the best tight end in franchise history.

There’s a reason Jimmie Giles was the first offensive player inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor. For quite awhile, Giles was the only true downfield threat for an offense guided by Doug Williams.

Buccaneers Ring of Honor tight end Jimmie Giles talks O.J. Howard and Rob Gronkowski

He knows the demands of the position and Giles remains a frequent visitor to One Buc Place. Gronkowski’s arrival, reuniting him with fellow Hall of Famer Tom Brady, has Giles thinking about a second Vince Lombardi Trophy for a franchise that has energized a dormant fan base.

“People are going to expect them to win every week,” Giles says. “Let’s face it, the Bucs have never had this kind of talent across the board. In the draft, they’ll be looking for a big offensive tackle to protect Brady and open up some holes. And they’re going to get a running back. I’m expecting them to go deep into the playoffs and what would be better than to play in a Super Bowl in your own backyard?”

For nine years, Giles watched Gronkowski and Brady develop a championship rapport. When he wasn’t making contested catches in the red zone, Gronkowski was wiping out the strong-side linebacker.

While observing Gronk, Giles reflected back to his glory days in Tampa from 1978 until midway through the 1986 season, when he was traded to Detroit.

“Gronkowski has had a great quarterback who got the ball to him in situations that no other quarterback could have,” Giles says. “He can catch it in a crowd, and that’s always good. He’s not a speedster, but he makes plays, he makes first downs. He’s a smart guy and he’s physical — that’s something the head coach likes.”

“Like John McKay, this coach wants people who are going to open up holes from the tight end spot. The Bucs had no idea what kind of player they were getting when they traded for me, but the one thing they knew was that I was a great blocker. Then I added that extra dimension as a target for Doug. Bruce wants a guy committed to blocking who can make a play when you have to make a play. Gronkowski is that guy.”

Like Giles in his prime, Gronkowski is too fast for linebackers to cover and too big for defensive backs. Unlike Giles, Gronkowski has played in a slew of big games and on the national stage.

Giles remembers one particular catch that defined Gronkowski in his mind.

“I saw a play on a Monday night when everybody knew he was going to get the football,” Giles says. “They had two guys on him and he still went up, caught it over both of ’em and dragged them into the end zone. That’s trust between him and Brady. That’s what Doug and I had, too, right here in Tampa.”

“Commander” Arians, “Weary” Arians

Giles has no doubt Arians can handle the soaring expectations surrounding the 2020 Bucs. The national hype hasn’t let up since Brady arrived and the addition of Gronkowski has raised hopes another notch.

“Bruce is a good commander and he’ll get the job done this year,” Giles says. “You can hear the trust a Peyton Manning or a Ben Roethlisberger had with Bruce, the fun they had with the man. He knows how to manage expectations.”

Down on O.J. Howard

For several years, Giles has wanted to sit down with O.J. Howard and gain insight into his personality. It hasn’t happened.

Howard’s skill set reminded him of his own potential when he entered the NFL as a third-round pick by Houston out of Alcorn State, but Howard’s production lagged.

“I’ve been wanting to talk to O.J. and see his mentality for playing the game,” Giles says. “The kid has exceptional talent, but you also have to have a motivation that goes beyond a monetary motivation because in this day and age, you’re going to make money. The motivation has to be that you want to be the best.

“He has that ability, he has that talent, but it has to come from within. For some reason, I think Bruce has grown weary of him to a degree. I think he’ll do well if he has the desire to be the best in the business. My motivation was survival. When I got to Tampa, I didn’t want people to say I was traded for the No. 1 pick in the draft (Earl Campbell) and I ended up being a bust. That’s motivation.”

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14 Responses to “Jimmie Giles Breaks Down Rob Gronkowski & O.J. Howard”

  1. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Well said Jimmy, that is motivation considering Campbell’s HOF career. Maybe having the Gronk will somehow motivate OJ, if he remains with the team. Can’t hurt to learn from a future HOF’er.

  2. Bobby M. Says:

    Winston, Hargreaves….soon to be Howard. Hard to imagine why Koetter couldn’t succeed.

  3. unbelievable Says:

    I hope so Jean Lafitte.

    It’s interesting to hear Giles take on Gronk, compared to that of Rex Ryan. Giles seems to think we are getting the 2011 – 2015 version of Gronk, while Rex says he’s only a situational player.

    I hope Giles is correct, but honestly think Rex is more on point.

  4. Dapostman Says:

    All that I needed to see about Howard’s motivation was watching him attempting a tackle vs Marcus Peters in the Rams game. If you don’t remember it go watch it. It is almost comical. Hell Joe Namath gave a better tackle effort and he had no legs left.

  5. zorro Says:

    I do not understand how all these different people keep saying they wanted to sit down and talk to O.J. If they really wanted to they could make it happen.
    It’s a shame that SOMEONE….ANYONE WITH THE INSIGHT hasn’t made it a priority to give up a little time to help the kid. He is evidently in the same mindset that Jones was in during his first year. VOLUNTEERS ? ? ? ? ? ?

  6. ItzOK Says:

    This is Bucs porn all the time and I cant get enough. The NFL needs to step in and put the Bucs on Hardknocks. Itz must see TV

  7. Architek Says:

    Dam the big “M” word.

  8. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    OJ seems lazy and entitled to me.

  9. JiminPH Says:

    Still think they should keep Howard. Let him learn from Gronk on how the game is played. Too much talent to give him away for nothing.

  10. SB Says:


  11. dmatt Says:

    I mentioned last season that OJ is a passive player with a lackadaisical attitude. I also commented on an article last year after he ran out of bounds to evade a 190 lb Falcon or Panther cornerback.That made my blood crawl. I referenced back after that play that we need a true grit beast mode TE like Gronk. I’m fine with us losing OJ cause in comes the has n out goes the has been. Next on the chopping block for lack of performance will be DSmith n MJStewart.

  12. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Zorro – it takes two to tango. Hey Joe, can you find out if Howard returns these invitations to speak?

  13. bucdawg Says:

    There is noway t hat anyone who ever saw Jimmie Giles play the game (esp. a Bucs fan) ,would ever even think he was a bust, hell he was a huge part of the offense for his entire time at the ole sombero. He james Wilder , House, Doug Willis .Ricky Bell were tjje BUCS offense back in the day. I gotta say that along with a better than average Defense were what made me become a Member of BUCNATION when the auqa fish were all the rage. GO BUCCANEERS, FIRE THOSE CANNONS!!!!!!!!

  14. Joe Says:

    There is noway t hat anyone who ever saw Jimmie Giles play the game (esp. a Bucs fan) ,would ever even think he was a bust,

    Jimmie Giles was a friggin’ beast. He was the modern-day Gronk only in an offense that didn’t throw much. Giles may have been the best blocking tight end Joe ever saw. He could have been a guard. He just crushed linebackers.