Keep Brate And Howard

May 4th, 2020

Keep him, says columnist.

There has been an incredible amount of chatter behind the scenes and under the surface about the near future of Bucs tight end O.J. Howard.

But if Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht listens to a national NFL columnist who he shares craft beers with (so the columnist implies), then Licht won’t be shipping Cam Brate or Howard anywhere.

Who is suggesting Licht stand down? That would be hot dog eating contest-protestingmock draft-scowlingL.L. Bean-wearingSecond Amendment abolitionistMike Florio-arguingparrot-insensitivechewing-with-his-mouth-opensoup-gulpingCalifornia train-romancinganti-football proliferationouthouse-admiringairline-nappingsteerage-flyingYogi Berra-worshipingurinal picture-takingvideo game-playingTaylor Swift-listeningpickpocket-thwartingBucs-uniform-frowningAllie-LaForce-smittenBig-Ten-Network-hatingpedestrian-bumpingolive oil-lappingpopcorn-munchingcoffee-slurpingfried-chicken-eatingoatmeal-lovingcircle-jerking, craft beer-chugging, cricket-watchingscone-loathingcollege football-naïvebaseball-box-score-readingNPR-honkfilthy-hotel-stayingfight-instigatingbarista-trainingBudweiser-tolerantbaseball scorecard-keeping, pasta-feasting, vomit-dodging scrooge, Kay Adams-following social activist NFL insider Peter King of NBC Sports.

In writing about the Bucs acquiring tight end Rob Gronkowski from the Belicheats, King said expecting Gronk to be healthy and not retire again after the 2020 season is way too risky to be shipping off another tight end currently on the roster.

Who knows what the battered but rested Gronk will have left after 19 months away from football. It’s a gamble that only has a high price if the Bucs squander one of their two good tight ends in the process of giving the future Hall of Famer his snaps.

Well, as Joe wrote last week, theoretically if you keep Brate, Gronk and Howard, you are left with just one tight end out of four to play special teams: Antony Auclair. He is a decent special teams guy and unlike Brate and Howard, can block.

Auclair logged 134 snaps on special teams last year, some 27 percent of special teams plays. And that was playing in only eight games.

Howard had 78 snaps on special teams through 14 games. Brate played on 49 snaps of special teams through 16 games.

Would the Bucs really keep four tight ends? They did last year with Brate, Howard, Auclair and Tanner Hudson. Dirk Koetter had four in 2018 and started 2017 with five. The Bucs had four tight ends with Lovie Smith, as well, with Brandon Myers, Austin Seferian-Jackwagon, Luke Stocker and Brate in 2015.

26 Responses to “Keep Brate And Howard”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Of course we will keep 4 TEs…….and if we keep both OJ & Brate along with paying Gronk $10 mil, it would be criminal to not use the TEs.

    I suspect that Brady will use the RBs & TEs as check-downs on a regular basis….and when you don’t turn it over, check-downs work quite well….

  2. Hodad Says:

    Since the draft has come, and gone, there’s no hurry to trade any of our TE’s now. As they say, these are the guys we got. Let’s get them together on the field, and see how it all shakes out.

  3. ChanEpic Says:

    I honestly don’t remember a time when the Bucs front office had OPTIONS at a skill position like this. We really cannot lose either way unless someone does a terrible job, keeping THESE 4 TEs in the TE room is a luxury not many teams, in history could boast.

  4. Sleepy903 Says:

    I wonder how different the play calling will be going forward with all this capital invested in the TE’s up until this past year Winstons favorite target outside of Mike were the TE’s it seemed for whatever reason until our WR got hurt the TE’s were pretty much out of the picture and by the time we started to incorporate them into the offense they had completely lost focus.

    Will Tom dictate with we do on offense or will it be BL and BA. That’s the 1 question that I think will determines if the offense is hitting on all cylinders or not. I trust Tom to get us in and out of good sets and plays more so than I trust BL’s play calling and BA’s offensive principles. I’m all for taking shots but not trying to throw it deep 20-30 times a game. And eliminating the 7 step drop all together.

  5. Bucsfanman Says:

    Having a guy like Gronk in the room will hopefully elevate the play of Howard and Brate. Having all these guys, is just like having an arsenal at your disposal.

    “I suspect that Brady will use the RBs & TEs as check-downs on a regular basis….”

    Arians offense does deploy TEs despite what people think. It was the less than stellar overall play of the TEs, and the QB not finding them that lulled us into thinking he doesn’t use them.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    @Sleepy903 … “Will Tom dictate with we do on offense or will it be BL and BA?”

    THAT’S the question of the year IMO Sleepy. Who’s gonna drive the train, Tom Brady or Byron Leftwich? I’ll put my money on Brady, with a LOT of play-call modifications at the line of scrimmage.

    When I look at how we modified our roster this year, our major improvements have almost totally come on the OFFENSIVE side of the ball. Brady, Gronk, Wirfs, Vaughn, Johnson and yes, Haeg (don’t count him out yet to become one of our starters this year). We pretty much have stayed pat on the defense, but added Winfield. And it’s for that reason that I expect a Top-10 defense this year.

    The offensive additions look to me to be mostly for the running game & the short-intermediate passing game. It seems very likely that our offensive attack scheme will change considerably, featuring our TEs & RBs a lot more than in years past. Also think we’ll be much better at running the ball because of (1) a better OLine talent; and (2) better blocking at the 2nd level with our TEs & big WRs.

  7. Ocala Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bucs keep 5 TE’s and 6 WR’s this year with the increase in roster size going from 53 to 55.

  8. Phil Says:

    I think we should trade OJ Howard and Cameron Brate ASAP. We don’t need them. We have Gronk, Tanner Hudson is ready to move up the depth chart and Auclair is our blocking TE but I think he can catch if given the chance.

  9. Joeypoppems Says:

    There is no reason to move on from Brate now, imo. You would only clear $4M in cap space by trading him and only get back very cheap 2021 draft capital, which doesnt help you in 2020.

    The whole reason to trade OJ was to get draft capital to help for this season. Now that the draft is over, trading him now makes no sense.

    They will carry 4 TEs, kinda have to at this point.

  10. Allbuccedup Says:

    Need to get rid of Brates salary the Bucs have a lot more positions of need it’s ridiculous to keep six tight ends.

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    Defense Rules- I think the scheme will be more of a “tweak” than wholesale change. If we’re able to run the ball, it will open up more aspects of the scheme that we didn’t see last year.

  12. Marine Buc Says:

    At this point what choice do we have? If no team wants to trade for Brate or OJ (which seems to be the case) we should just hang on to them both for the season and hopefully they can both contribute.

    Perhaps a team will have a TE injury during the early part of the season and will be open to make a trade then.

  13. jimmy Says:

    btw ur hashtags for peter are hilarious

  14. jimmy Says:

    your hashtags for peter are hilarious

  15. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Brate is almost impossible to trade, because of his huge contract, and OJ Howard has not put up very good numbers, because he has been stuck in Arians offense.
    Unless we want to give OJ away, we are screwed!

  16. Craig Says:

    I would change Auclair’s designation to FB. His duties don’t have to change much, but his focus will be a little different, he will be blocking for a running back at times.

    He currently blocks on pass plays, and that can stay. It will make a smokescreen for when he blocks for a runner.

  17. Jean Lafitte Says:

    I’d like to know what rule says we need a TE on special teams?

  18. RustyRhinos Says:

    Again with: “That would be hot dog eating contest-protesting, mock draft-scowling, L.L. Bean-wearing, Second Amendment abolitionist, Mike Florio-arguing, parrot-insensitive, chewing-with-his-mouth-open, soup-gulping, California train-romancing, anti-football proliferation, outhouse-admiring, airline-napping, steerage-flying, Yogi Berra-worshiping, urinal picture-taking, video game-playing, Taylor Swift-listening, pickpocket-thwarting, Bucs-uniform-frowning, Allie-LaForce-smitten, Big-Ten-Network-hating, pedestrian-bumping, olive oil-lapping, popcorn-munching, coffee-slurping, fried-chicken-eating, oatmeal-loving, circle-jerking, craft beer-chugging, cricket-watching, scone-loathing, college football-naïve, baseball-box-score-reading, NPR-honk, filthy-hotel-staying, fight-instigating, barista-training, Budweiser-tolerant, baseball scorecard-keeping, pasta-feasting, vomit-dodging scrooge, Kay Adams-following social activist NFL insider Peter King of NBC Sports.” WFC?
    I skip right past all this Peter King “accolades”

  19. pick6 Says:

    everyone knows who the bucs have. if the bucs shop their TEs they won’t be worth the return. if the bucs get a phone call while their guys are “not available” they just might get an offer worth taking. i do think the bucs like some of their less heralded guys – not enough to cut a stud, but enough to be comfortable moving a a guy for the right piece. bucs can’t settle for a new player in 2021 but another dude in the trenches would help more than a good player who won’t see the field barring injury

  20. Pa Privateer Says:

    Keep 5 TEs, Howard can split time as a WR.

  21. TOM Says:

    Don’t need Howard or Brate. Trade em.

  22. Kobe Faker Says:

    “I searched “how to use tightends in a offense” on google

    And it led me to the New Orleans Saints coaching staff website”

    Polk county community college Byron Leftwich

  23. Wesley Says:

    We’re paying Gronk too much money.

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    You normally keep 4 or 5 TEs, and considering the garbage depth at WR, they need to hold on to all these guys and actually use them this year.

  25. Strickly Buc Says:

    Howard can be a receiver? Ya… that way when he tips the ball up maybe it’ll go outta bounds!

  26. Buccan8 Says:

    The links are funny—and eerily reminiscent of what used to be my favorite part of Tuesday…Gregg Easterbrook’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback column on The 4-Letter.