“Throwing O.J. Back In The Mix”

March 31st, 2021

The old saying, “the rich get richer,” sort of defines of the 2021 Bucs as they look to stomp the groin of the NFL en route to back-to-back Super Bowl wins.

Everyone knows the Bucs re-signed all their key free agents except for furniture-tossing, bicycle-hurling, rape-case-pending Antonio Brown. That’s a Grade A+ for general manager Jason Licht, who is the first executive to get all his Super Bowl starters back the following season in the modern era of the NFL.

The Bucs have crushed the offseason, and yet there was Bucco Bruce Arians yesterday talking to local reporters about how much better the Bucs will/should be out of the gate in 2021.

In addition to the team’s experience together, Arians referenced a fully healthy Vita Vea on opening day along with “throwing O.J. [Howard] back in the mix.”

Yes, O.J. Howard. About five minutes before mentioning Howard for that take, Arians went on a rant explaining how Howard is doing great after Achilles surgery, had a great Weeks 1 through 4 last year and is on track to be full-go for training camp.

Indeed, the rich get richer.

Consider that veteran tight end Cameron Brate came off the bench for Howard and caught a whopping 82.4 percent of the balls Tom Brady threw his way during the regular season. That was a career high for sure-handed Brate, who also added 14 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown through the playoffs.

Dare to imagine for a moment that Licht and the Bucs nail the draft again this season. If so, the 2021 Bucs could be the best team in NFL history.

48 Responses to ““Throwing O.J. Back In The Mix””

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    I hate all this “OJ” talk……………………..I thought we were past this Joe??????

    …..this player is always hurt and can’t stay on the field………….

    ……….I’m so done talking about all his “Potential” now

  2. D1 Says:

    It’s one article…..not all this talk..one!

    He’s been injured but not the same injury. If he can get thru the season without injuries he should put up monster numbers.

    If you’re done talking about, why aren’t you done commenting about it?

    Lighten up francis!

  3. Confused Buc Fan Says:

    Meh, it’s a foregone conclusion he’ll be here for 2021 (no other team is likely to trade for him or pickup his contract coming off an Achilles), so it’s just one more weapon for us … but I’m glad we’re not relying on him.

  4. HeyItsAdam Says:

    BREAKING: after being “thrown” into the mix, Howard suffered a severe knee sprain and will be out 8-12 weeks.

  5. Chris Thomas from Heaven Says:

    O’Terrius Jabari will play w/ his hairs on fire.

  6. bucfanforever Says:

    Brady will just sprinkle some magic on his legs and he will be healthy for the next decade.

  7. BucEmUp Says:

    Howard is all hype an always has been

  8. Fred mcneil Says:

    Maybe he’ll make it to Nov. this year.

  9. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Could be the best team in NFL history? Not sure the football Gods will take too kindly to that comment. 🙂 I do enjoy the “can -do” attitude, however.

  10. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Pshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………………all Bucs fans are dreaming if they think OJ can make it through one whole season

    ………..because history has shown us he simply can’t because he’s injury-prone.

    The NFL is very hard on a person’s body, and his body just may not be suited to take the kind of punishment long-lasting players in the NFL do.

  11. Usedtocould Says:

    Anthem, I’m glad you found something to complain about

  12. james west Says:

    to me howard has not lived up to his pick in the draft, he’s constantly hurt, he makes to many drops on what should be easy catches, fumble’s too much and is soft, to many times i seen him skip out of bounds when he was near the 5 yard line ready to score and instead of challenging the smaller DB and laying a shoulder into him to muscle in, he bolts out to the sideline, i would trade him, to me brate is the much better of the two, and gronk better than both, plus we have depth don’t remember the other TE’S name

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It’s a good thing we have 3 solid TEs…….use them….rotate them…..our 2 TE sets will be brutal on defenses.

    I can guarantee you that Tom Brady is very happy that OJ is rehabbing well.

  14. SC. Bucs Fan Says:

    Wow so many people mad at Howard like they are personally paying him. I root for Howard because I root for all Bucs. I guess the negative people are grasping at straws after the season we had last year.

  15. SufferingSince76 Says:

    SC Bucs Fan, you should know by now we have some of the best GMs in football posting on this site.

  16. bucfanforever Says:

    SC, yeah, by reading the comments, the Bucs should trade every player and draft pick they have until they have all the picks in the 6th and 7th rounds, that way they can have the lowest cost team (even though there is a salary cap floor and winning that way is impossible.)

    They seem to forget that when Howard is on the field, he is almost unstoppable, he is too fast for a LB cover and way too big for a DB to cover. Watching him catch passes is a thing of beauty. And with Brady, he is only likely to improve.

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    SC. Bucs Fan: Agreed, I also root for all Bucs players. I’m waiting for the comments of “The Bucs should’ve taken Dalvin Cook, OJ is injury prone”. Howard has missed 22 games to injury, Cook has missed 21.

  18. Robert Says:

    Betting on an injury prone guy and not signing a multi year pro bowl WR…. makes sense

  19. Show Me the TDs Says:

    I wish OJ all the best and an injury free season. Some of you people take it as a personal affront that the guy ripped his Achilles. He probably did it on purpose just to spite you. And yeah, Brady was too old, Vea couldn’t take the heat, Smith was lazy, Gronk too slow, and AB was a mess. Let’s let the 2021 season play out and see how OJ does.

  20. Swampbuc Says:

    I see the Anthem is back with the negative sour grapes. What a toad.

  21. Stanglassman Says:

    At least Howard doesn’t show up drunk to practice. It’s a low bar but He’s an improvement on are last TE.

  22. Bucfanforever Says:

    Let’s remember Gronk didn’t play a full season for forever until last year.

  23. Mike Honcho Says:

    All the criticisms of OJ are fair up to this point, but I think it would be foolish to not give him a decent look this year to see if he can stay healthy and produce. I’m a Bama fan, and he was awesome in college. Yes I know, that’s college, but this could be looked at as: this is your last shot. With the infrastructure they have set up right now, there should be no reason he can’t be VERY productive, short of getting injured again. And if that happens, injury settlement. Bye Felicia. Let’s wait and see how he does.

  24. Beej Says:

    This is literally the first time I’ve heard the Bucs speak his name in months. He HAS to be here this year, might as well see what happens, and GOAT seems to like him. Guy caught 11 of 19 attempts for 146 yards, 2 TD’s in the 4 games. Presumably his blocking (which they value just as highly) was up there. Odds are against Gronk and Brate going all year without SOME kind of injury, and THEN you’re down to Auclair (?) and Tanner Hudson

  25. 6throundpick Says:

    Trade bait? Long season. We’ll see…


    Not sure if this team needs 4 TE’s on the roster but my concern is will this take away balls from Gronk & Brate who have proven to be go to guys. Could be a too many cooks in the kitchen scenario. Be nice if Bucs could trade him and just eat 1/2 of his $6mil and give the rest to AB.

  27. stpetebucsfan Says:

    TE is a great place to be loaded. It is one of the more flexible positions.

    As TBBF points out we should get great blocking in our two TE sets.

    There are many ways to use athletic TE’s though. These guys are the most hybrid athletes on the field…not huge…not small…not fast..not slow…athletic.

    TE’s can be used as H backs and even split wide. OJ clearly has the receiving skills let’s see if he can get healthy and BLOCK.

  28. Buc-em-up84 Says:

    I don’t see anyone complaining about vita vea always being injured. Come one bucs fans give OJ Howard a break we could be talking about OJ in the same sentence as Justin (no show) Evans. At this point with our team oj is like bringing an experienced rookie on board

  29. SC Bucs Fan Says:

    I personally hope Brate stays – a friend of a friend knows him and he promised us field tickets next year. Every day I open this page looking for a restructure or cut on him.

  30. zzbuc Says:

    I wanna see OJ on this team for a full season, I think he could be great!! But as some here say he is always injured, is pretty true……
    I think he showed already he can do great things…is not just hype…..

  31. Wesley Says:

    O.J. Is gonna have a beast of a season. Some of you are freakin clueless.

  32. HeyItsAdam Says:

    They said: “ Let’s remember Gronk didn’t play a full season for forever until last year.”

    I say: “Let’s remember Gronk never literally handed passes to the Saints like he drove a brown truck.”

    It’s more than injuries.

  33. ModHairKen Says:

    “If so, the 2021 Bucs could be the best team in NFL history.”

    Stop. Just stop.

  34. Ash Says:

    I’m excited for his return unlike some others we aren’t depending on him obviously but he adds to what looks to be a great offense for the bucs this upcoming season go bucs

  35. '79 Defense Says:

    As any long suffering Bucs fan might think , I don’t know about this idea that it’s just that easy to win it again. Sure, we’ve got all the players that won it coming back but man, to expect that it’s just going to be so simple doesn’t fit with the persona of anyone who’s supported this franchise for decades.

    Staying relatively healthy and hoping Brady doesn’t somehow suffer a huge drop off are key.

  36. OrlandoBucsFan Says:

    I like the idea of keeping OJ in the fold for one more season. Yes, he has a well chronicled injury history, but he has flashed a level of athleticism that Cronk and Brate lack. If healthy, it will be interesting to see how Brady can exploit OJ’s athleticism, particularly with deeper throws. It is important to remember that Howard averaged 16.6 a catch in 2017-18. If we get that version of OJ back, he will add a special dimension to the offense that will be hard to defend when you factor in our other weapons. I can’t wait to see the Bucs unleash our healthy and whole offense on the NFL. With our defense, we have the potential to be special.

  37. Bojim Says:

    Trade him.

  38. SOEbuc Says:

    Surprisingly tell some of these people aren’t sports M.D. or GM. Sometimes a guy gets major injury and can bounce back easily when cleared. Vea has had two major injuries since coming into the NFL and still one of the best DT in the league.

    Gronk is legend at TE with similar large hybrid abilities like OJ. OJ had 11 rec, 146 yards, and two TD in four games in 2020. In the words of the great BA, “your ass ain’t going no where.”

  39. Ben green Says:

    He needs TB13 he’s so hurt all the time. Seriously if he lets Alex do his magic, he could possibly remain healthy. Keep him around, gronk is more machine now than man and could fall apart at any moment. Brady needs good TE’s to attack the middle of the field. You may find yourself in the strange position of counting on this guy to stay healthy

  40. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Brate is a better pass catcher within the 10 yard zone.
    OJ’s speed keeps teams on their toes with a deep safety.
    Gronk is one of the best in the Red zone.

    Both Brate and OJ are average blockers.
    Gronk is one of the best blockers in the NFL

    Bucs will probably keep all three due to the risk of injuries. If we were not going for another Super Bowl run, then BA and Licht most likely would trade OJ or Brate.

  41. QB whisperer Says:

    I hope OJ Howard is not related to OJ Simpson, and if not we’re good to go. If history tells us anything, the Bucs have never fully utilized their tight ends effectively. Now is the time to start. Though last year was an aberration with two solid tight ends.

  42. Duane Says:

    The continued Howard fascination is very bizarre. He is consistently inconsistent, and is injury prone for such an athletic specimen. I watched him go off on LSU in the championship game, but his play is pretty much unremarkable in the NFL. In particular what I think is a problem with his game is that he also really isnt an impactful blocker on the line. He must be a hard worker and a good kid because to me the fascination with his game is all physical attributes and hype. Brate has contributed far more with so much less talent.

  43. D1 Says:

    James west,

    Howard has 1 fumble in the last 3 years! How is that fumble prone?

    Injuries, obviously he’s not been able to complete a season but he hasn’t suffered from reoccurring injuries. The type that typically some players have throughout their careers (ex; hamstring or knee).

    Fans seem to just see the number of injuries and not the type or location. All injuries aren’t the same.

  44. 74 Bucs fan Says:

    OJ was having a stellar year learning from Gronk and had greatly improved his blocking ability. Anyone who says differently wasn’t paying attention or listening to the coaches. I was not impressed with the previous years as he seemed timid and disinterested at times, so I get the frustration. If OJ comes back with the same dedication and drive, freakin look out!

  45. Swampbuc Says:

    Some of Warren Sapp’s favorite inbred Bucmorons show up and complain about Howard. I’m so glad Licht is the GM and not these clowns. But of course they know better than Licht and Arians, right?



    All smoke and mirrors, how can a man that big not block. Answer he doesn’t want to. Trade him

  47. Sport Says:

    OJ was a first round draft pick. Our GM thought it was a good idea to bring in Gronk. Good thing he did.

    This team has raised the bar. And as Joe likes to say “there is no room for developmental players on this team”” that leaves OJ with zero room for mistakes.

    Let’s hope he paid attention watching Gronk. If he did he may just get an extension. If not AMF!

    In BA I Trust!

  48. Buczilla Says:

    Best team in history? Holy f we have come a long way since Brady arrived. 😛