If It Looks Like A Duck…

August 18th, 2021

Not fully healthy?

Bucs tight end O.J. Howard was not practicing with the team early on in Camp Cupcake because he wasn’t cleared to do so by the Bucs’ medical team.

As we all know, Howard blew out his Achilles in the come-from-behind win over the Chargers in October. While players in recent years have returned from those types of injuries, it’s still a major injury.

Joe has seen players’ careers ended because of a blown Achilles. Earnest Graham springs to mind.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com watched the Bengals-Bucs game. And while Rosenthal thought it was cool that Howard was out there running routes and even catching a 15-yard pass, Rosenthal admitted something just didn’t look right.

The Bucs’ television broadcast estimated that O.J. Howard may only be at 70-75% of his former self right now. It was good to see Howard get involved in the offense, but his explosion did not look the same. It’s telling that he’s playing when other starters are not.

Well, Joe is pretty sure the reason the Bucs wanted Howard out there was because he hasn’t played in any type of game since last October. If anything else, Howard played to try to shake off rust.

“It felt good,” Howard said. “I haven’t played a game in like nine months or so. It felt good to be out there and it felt good to be around the game.

“But just to make a play [and have] my teammates coming up to me to congratulate me just felt good.”

The lack of explosion is something Joe hadn’t noticed. Then again, Joe hasn’t looked for that.

Just a hunch, Howard may not be 100 percent until later in the season. Or maybe he won’t be 100 percent at all this year, or never again.

A blown Achilles isn’t exactly a sprained ankle.

26 Responses to “If It Looks Like A Duck…”

  1. lambeau Says:

    Good analysis, Joe. I think it was Ronde, who likely has the inside scoop, saying 75%.

  2. Bobby M. Says:

    Contract year…..I doubt effort to get back will be an issue. He needs good tape if he wants to land some more guaranteed cash.

  3. Beeej Says:

    I mashed that area behind my ankle in January of last year, doctor finally told me the pain was my achilles. STILL have a hard time wearing boots

  4. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    It takes time to get up to game speed. With OJ still being young and missing most of last season, he is still processing plays rather than playing with true instincts.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    If it quacks like an injury prone, overrated, first round bust who lacks natural pass catching skills it is an overrated, first round bust who lacks natural pass catching skills even if it has a nice 40 time. He’ll give us the regular 4 big plays, 2 big mistakes, 2 tds and be out for the season again. Brate is the better football player.

  6. SB~LV Says:

    The top 35 will not play next lame
    It’ll be interesting to see if he plays
    I don’t think anyone that plays his type of skill position has ever returned as the same athlete!

  7. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Expectations for Howard after the injury cannot be the same as a 1st round pick.
    He could become a valuable situational player who contributes, but to expect pro bowl or even a consistent starter is alot- if he gets back to 100% – wonderful, but history of this injury suggests playing time will be targeted and limited.

  8. Biff Barker Says:

    We’ve got an overachiever in Brate and an underachiever in OJ. Any surprise who TB threw the Lombardi to? The guy who caught some key balls in the playoffs.

  9. Beeej Says:

    Gronk just turned 32, Brate just turned 30, OJ may never get his ability back….I guess as long as it holds together until TB12 retires it’ll be ok. We gonna go from the top to the bottom real fast tho

  10. PassingThru Says:

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again: athletes are never the same after an Achilles tear. They will lose explosiveness and hops. The big uglies can play at close to the same level, but players who rely on athletic gifts are the ones who are the most challenged.

    For example, Richard Sherman was able to come back as he’s a very smart CB with great technique, but he was never the same player. And I consider him a post Achilles surgery success story.

  11. PassingThru Says:

    But on a more optimistic note, OJ Howard is at least out there playing. Recovery can take roughly a year for most athletes.

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    TBBF thinks that OJ is 76 & 1/2 %.

  13. Wild Bill Says:

    I had just a partial tear while playing in a USTA tennis tournament. It was at least 6 months before I could really run or push off. And that was just a slight tear and I was a young guy and average size/weight. With his size an d weight I would be very surprised if he can get back to where he was anytime soon if ever. But even at 75% he could still be a decent player just not dominate. His size and good hands would still make him effective for short to medium routes. Deep routes or sharp cuts less likely. Straight line speed likely less also. Hope he can exceed expectations but only time will tell.

  14. Eckwood Says:

    Wild Bill, he doesn’t hv good hands , can make some great catches but them hands is slightly inconsistent and rather hard ( like rock) at times . He passes the body builders test , which makes your light on water and susceptible to pulls and tears !! What time is is it !!

  15. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Unfortunate, but I think the writing has been on the wall for sometime about this guy.
    We’d be foolish to play him any more and need to unload him for a draft pick or two.

    Sorry man, you look good on paper and in the weight room, but some guys just don’t have it.

    Good luck in your future endeavors.

  16. SB~LV Says:

    Anyone that thinks that they can get a pick or two is dreaming!

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Dooosh: So you’re admitting that durability is a meaningful quality in a football player?

  18. Robert Says:

    even if his heel was 100, he would break something else. cut the guy already.

    he’s just a decoy at this point.

  19. doctor_berto Says:

    Imagine this offense with Dalvin Cook

  20. Duane Says:

    OJ is what he is at this point which is a big question mark. If he can block better than Brate or Tanner, then he has value. Thats not a high bar. Catching the ball hasnt been a problem either. Anything this team gets from OJ this season is gravy, because no one is counting on him. I put him in the same boat as Rojo, and Playoff Lenny going into the offseason. If they ball out, they will outprice themselves with this team, and if they underperform, …

  21. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Durability is very important.
    So is drive, focus and fortitude.

  22. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Oh yeah……. actual ability helps too.

  23. Biff Barker Says:

    A Gronk type player is more like what our needs and expectations for OJ were. Don’t see a premium roster spot for him at his current level right now.
    It’s always easier on the FO when a player’s cost/benefit makes the decision obvious.

  24. gotbbucs Says:

    Just keep giving Tanner Hudson playing time. In the end he’ll be more valuable to the team than Howard.

  25. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Dooosh: Thank you for a straight up answer. I’ve gotten on you about your comments about The Durable One, the reason being that Donovan Smith showed me that he can play down the stretch. Granted, that was a small sample size of above average play, but at least we know now that he has it in him (or at least I think so). If he goes back to being the old D Smith this season, then your criticism of him will be warranted.

  26. Eddie Marz Says:

    Totally disagree with TBBF, Howard is 77.6% healthy. GO BUCS!