Bank On Rob Gronkowski

April 10th, 2021


In a perfect world, tight ends O.J. Howard and foot-rubbing, car-littering Rob Gronkowski would line up in two-tight-end sets. Howard would carve up a defense deep and Gronk would make defenses pay on the first or second level.

The problem with this (dream?) is that last year, Howard ended his season in a very imperfect way. He blew out his Achilles.

Now Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians claims Howard’s rehab is coming along, to the best of Joe’s knowledge Howard isn’t yet at the level of hitting a football field and catching passes.

It is for this reason Jenna Laine of ESPN seems to think it is smart money to expect Gronk to be the No. 1 tight end when the season opens.

Howard is coming off a torn Achilles, and coach Bruce Arians said Howard is running on ultra-G — an anti-gravity workout machine — with 80-85% of his body weight. That’s encouraging, but I’d still go with Gronkowski if I had to choose right now. Tom Brady likes Howard a lot, but he has history with Gronkowski.

Some people — both nationally and local fans — assume or think Howard will still be his physical-freak self when the season kicks off. Joe isn’t so sure.

An Achilles is a major injury and most players just don’t bounce back like they recovered from a pulled hamstring. It’s common for an athlete to never fully recovers from blowing out an Achilles. Sometimes full recovery takes over a year.

So,going into the final year of his contract, Joe isn’t sure what kind of condition Howard will be in.

If Howard is able to fully recover, a Super Bowl champion just found a first-round draft pick along the side of the road to add to an offense that already averaged over 30 points a game.

Fun times in Bucsland, isn’t it?


Joe’s got plenty to share about the big JoeBucsFan draft party on Thursday night, April 29, at Big Storm Brewery in Clearwater.

But for now, here’s your official video invite. Be there!

34 Responses to “Bank On Rob Gronkowski”

  1. Bojim Says:

    Gronk and Brate.

  2. Bird Says:


    Gronk would be the main tight end player on 30 other teams as well
    Probably not 49ers or chiefs but only kittle can block like gronk. Maybe 1 other.

  3. m0j0 Says:

    Modern medicine makes coming back from serious injuries and still playing at a high level very possible and maybe even very probable. Chances are good that OJ can still be very effective and freakish.

  4. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    A decade or so ago, a torn ACL was risky and a lot players never were 100%, but now days, most players after an ACL surgery fully recover without any noticeable decline.

  5. Cannon Says:


    Do we know if it was a complete tear, or a partial tear?

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It’s really bizarre how some players get injured constantly and others escape injuries for long periods…
    Jack Cichy is another Buc who is constantly injured…..I think last year on the first play of a game.
    Some of it is purely bad luck……I don’t think it’s conditioning.

    OJ’s problems seem to be with the lower extremities. I wish him well….and his contributions will definitely be a bonus.

  7. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I sure hope OJ Howard comes back, and lives up to his potential.
    So far, he has pretty much been a big disappointment, for a player drafted so high.

  8. PSL Bob Says:

    And then there’s that ever steady fellow named Brate., Mr. Dependable What a TE group the Bucs have.

  9. alaskabuc Says:

    Pray that someone will give Licht a 2nd rounder for OJ and draft his replacement

  10. lowercaseg Says:

    Trade OJ

  11. MadMax Says:

    The presence of negative past performance is glaring here. And I called for him at pick 19….my biggest disappointment in a 1st round ive ever made (looks like tarzan plays like jane), and no i never called for that cb, vernon something…

    If you want to get a TE high in the rounds, then for the love of God, go with Freiermuth

  12. MadMax Says:

    Past performance = future performance … move on

  13. Steven Says:

    Less physical freak and better hands would be fine.

    Gronk and Brate is the most productive and reliable tandem, IMHO.


  14. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    It was Gronk and Brate during the 8 game winning streak. OJ is not reliable.

  15. Joe Says:


    Bucs have only released “torn Achilles.”

  16. Joe Says:

    Jack Cichy is another Buc who is constantly injured…..I think last year on the first play of a game.

    Would be mildly surprised if Bucs brought him back.

    “Your best ability is availability.”

  17. Hope springs eternal Says:

    So the guy looks great on paper but never lived up to expectations. So what to expect after his injury? Almost certainly less than before. And before was great potential but less than expectations. Reality points same or worse.

  18. daniel Da Man Says:

    I really think its so sad. One day your on top the next you’re stuck at yhe bottom .alwsys remember

    . Fame is fleeting !!!

  19. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    OJ needs to work on his hands. He frequently catches the ball loosely or against his body.

  20. Blue Coffee Says:

    Ho no guys, we will not give up on OJ Howard so fast. The guy is injured. Give him a brake. Let him, at least, try to come back for god sake.

    I agree with Mojo, modern medicine is a lot better than 20 years back. And anyway, everybody can be sick, and everybody deserve a second chance. Everybody.

    He work hard, he is a good teammates, he is fantastic when healthy on the field.

    He will come back! Go Howard! You are still part of our team!
    (Well, Howard, when you will be elsewhere it will be another matter,… ha, ha, ha,… But now you area member of my BUCS, my family, and I am a true fan!)
    GO BUCS!

  21. Bucanero Says:

    I really like OJ and hope he recovers but looking back there was better value when we drafted him. Hopefully he can have a better second half of his career with the Bucs.

  22. Capt.Tim Says:

    They stated on several live broadcast, while Howard was healthy, that Brady was hounding the coaches to get Brate on the field.
    Nuff said.
    For all his potential- Howard still runs the wrong routes, whiffs on blocks,
    And lines up in the wrong position.
    In One game in Particular, Brady was raising Cane about Howard running the wrong route.
    All you gotta do, is go where you are supposed to- And Brady will find you.

  23. Buczilla Says:

    Howard’s not a bust, but he wasn’t a good pick either. I hope that he turns things around for his and our sakes.

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    Of course Gronk will be the #1 TE, his combo of blocking and receiving makes him elite, even if he’s not as fast as he used to be.

    As for OJ, when you’re truly a physical freak, you generally recover faster than expected – so I’d expect him to be healthy by the beginning of the year — or at least I hope so. Assuming he is healthy, if we can’t resign AB, I still think they should be lining him up outside and playing him as a WR. I never have understood why they don’t use a freak like him all over the field, just imagine a 5′ 9″ 175lb corner trying to line-up against a 6′ 6″ 242lb outside… I just don’t get why we’ve never seen it.

  25. Brandon Says:

    I had Achilles surgery on Dec 17th, 2019. On May 1st, 2020 I was officially cleared for sports… due to Corona… there weren’t any sports. That being said, five months and I was ready. Howard will have almost twice that amount of time. His Achilles will be ready. No doubt.

  26. TOM Says:

    Enough of this Howard crap. Always hurt not as good as advertise. Brate more dependable & just better all around. Beside I think TB & Brate have a special chemistry much like TB & Gronk. Trade Howard. Get whatever you can.

  27. ManzielMadness Says:

    Just ask Sheldon Rankins how an Achilles injury can effect you. He looked like a future stud… now he’ll be lucky to start for the jets.


    Gronk is a #1 TE on any team. He is the best that ever played the position. Though I wonder what Tony Gonzalas would of done with Brady as his QB?

  29. Willy B Says:

    I want OJ to be successful but i think we should have traded him him for draft capital when we had the chance to

  30. Joe Says:

    They stated on several live broadcast, while Howard was healthy, that Brady was hounding the coaches to get Brate on the field.
    Nuff said.

    Who was saying this? T.J. Rives? Dave Moore?

    Joe’s not doubting you but have never heard this before.

    Who was “they?”

  31. Capt.Tim Says:

    It was the broadcast team, during the game. I dont remember which team or games. They stated quite clearly, that Brady had been “hounding the coaches”, to get Brate on the field.
    It stuck out immediately, because I have always felt Brate was under appreciated.

  32. Capt.Tim Says:

    If memory serves me, it was either the game where Howard was injured, or the next game. The broadcast team was discussing, how Howards loss would effect the team.

  33. JeffreyLane77 Says:

    I honestly don’t understand the love for Oj Howard. I honestly can’t remember a play he made in a bucs uniform. Brate has consistently been very productive. He catches everything thrown at him. I don’t understand why everyone pines for a better Tight End. Brate is the the quintessential tightend. Highly underrated in my opinion.

  34. JeffreyLane77 Says:

    At this point I can’t see any team giving more than a 4th rd pick in a trade for Howard. Mid to late 4th rd.