Blocking And O.J. Howard

October 20th, 2021

Bucs TE O.J. Howard.

Some guys are good at it and some aren’t. There’s no shame so long as you are not asked to do what you cannot.

Bill Belicheat coined the famous phrase in player evaluation: “Don’t tell me what he can’t do; tell me what he can do.”

So Bucs tight end O.J. Howard comes to mind. He wasn’t the 19th overall draft pick in 2017 because he could block. He was a high draft pick because, in theory, he could stretch the field like few tight ends could.

The last time Howard showed that was, ironically, the last time he played with two healthy Achilles tendons. That was last year in Week 4 against the Chargers. He blew out his Achilles in that game and hasn’t been the same since. This really is no surprise because that’s such a major injury for a guy at a skill position.

Little by little, week by week, Howard is improving and being worked more into the offense.

Now when Dirk Koetter was here, Howard (when used) was a serious weapon. When Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians arrived, it was demanded of Howard to block. He’s an average blocker. Maybe.

But hey, you have to do what the coaches direct you to do. Arians won a Super Bowl in only his second year (largely without Howard). So guess who deserves all the street cred with this issue?

With the Bears coming in featuring arguably the best pass-rushing duo in the game (Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn), and with foot-rubbing, car-littering film guru tight end Rob Gronkowski still out, Howard is going to be asked to help block seriously good pass rushers.

“Those guys are really good players, so technique is going to be a big, big factor to be able to play with those guys in the run game,” Howard said yesterday. “Also to have the opportunity to pass block. Those guys are some good rushers, so I’m definitely going to have to take advantage of my technique this week.”

Can he? And will he?

Look, Joe is not trying to kill Howard here. When 100 percent, he’s a serious down-field weapon. As a blocker, Howard is, well, eh. Yes, Howard’s had nice blocks and he’s also been blown up too.

Of course he is a better blocker than Cam Brate, but no one has ever suggested Brate is a blocking tight end. Howard is no Gronk, who basically is like a pulling guard.

Joe sure hopes Howard can help chip block Mack and/or Quinn, if Quinn plays. Let’s just say Joe has much more confidence Howard can make more plays catching the ball than blocking Pro Bowl edge rushers.

21 Responses to “Blocking And O.J. Howard”

  1. Biff Barker Says:

    Donovan Smith is tasked with protecting the franchises blind side. He is strong but is also susceptible to speed rushers.
    The TE has to help chip the DE. Gronk does this is so effortless that some casuals take this for granted. I’m with BA. TE’s gotta block. This is why Cam rode the pine until OJ went down last year.

  2. heyitsadam Says:

    That number 80 jersey is cursed.

    Harper, Clayton, Howard……

  3. Tackleblockwin Says:

    Quinn and Mack can beat the best blockers in the league. The Bears are like the old Bucs. Good defense and not so good offense lol. We must be balanced on O this week. I don’t want to see 5 wide at all this week. We have to keep Bears guessing with a RB in the backfield all day long.

  4. Seattle Buc is back in TB Says:

    Heavy Set. Help protect Brady and run the ball. Is Scottie back? AB might have another big game.

  5. jimm Says:

    probably see lots of heavy … extra olineman
    it helps protection, improves run,and only costs 1 less receiver in routes

  6. Robert Says:

    He just needs to lean into them and not let then bum rush him and stand him up.

    I.e. hit them before they hit you.

  7. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Time for some max protect, bringing in the 6th lineman many times.

    We all remember the flagfest Bucs beating Bucs game last year.

    I think that alone is keeping the fire stoked for the Bucs to be very ready and physical in this game against the Bears.

    Not that Brady needs anything for him to be psycho competitive, but last years Debacle and also the now infamous “Brady’s Brain Fart” on 4th down lol is just what the Doctor ordered lol to put a thrashing on the Bears. We will see….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  8. Lamarcus Says:

    Oj Stocker?

  9. Marine Buc Says:

    I really hope GM Jason Licht can put his ego aside and let OJ Howard walk this off season. I realize it’s difficult for GMs to cut ties with former first round picks.

    I we do sign OJ it should be for less than we are currently paying for his mediocre services.

    Looks like Tarzan – plays like Jane…

  10. Joe Says:

    Oj Stocker?

    Stocker was a helluva blocker. Think he’s still in the league. Not bad four a fourth round pick.

  11. adam from ny Says:

    howard has been getting more and more in the mix with gronk sidelined, and improving by the week too…

    it’ll be interesting to see how he fares against da bears…

    contract year, peeps are watching

  12. adam from ny Says:

    was scottie kidnapped by a ufo ???

  13. sasquatch Says:

    Marine Buc Says:
    October 20th, 2021 at 11:52 am

    I really hope GM Jason Licht can put his ego aside and let OJ Howard walk this off season. I realize it’s difficult for GMs to cut ties with former first round picks.

    Licht has not let his ego get in the way of admitting mistakes and moving on from a player. That said, if Howard recovers further and is productive the remainder of the year, I could see them signing him back in free agency on a very modest deal.

  14. PassingThru Says:

    It takes time for an athlete to return from Achilles surgery, the horizon is usually about a year. We’re slightly past that now, I’m not expecting major improvement from here but he’s certainly ahead of where he was earlier this season. The straight-line speed will be affected, but most of the loss will come from degraded short distance quickness and hops. Richard Sherman was never the same player following his Achilles tear. Some players aren’t affected by an Achilles injury, but they tend to be the big uglies. Achilles injuries have a bigger impact on DBs, WRs and pass-catching TEs.

    OJ has to become a more well-rounded TE to survive in this league. He has no chance of making $6 million per season

  15. Beeej Says:

    Bet Josh Wells gets more snaps than OJ

  16. Delson Says:

    OJ Howard is an above average blocker. Idk why joe is trying to sell him as incompetent. He was beat last thursday but that doesnt mean he’s horrible. Lets be honest how many times has #76 gotten beat but no complaints from joe?? “The best ability is availability”. Asking OJ to block a special pass rusher 1 on 1 is unrealistic. Gronk can handle his own because he has more polished technique plus his strength and size. These coaches cannot coach. When gronk brady and brown move on we will struggle.

  17. Marine Buc Says:

    @ squatch

    “on a very modest deal” – I agree 100%. I would be fine with that.

    I also agree that so far Licht has been pretty good at letting draft mistakes go. VH3, Evans and MJ to name a few…

  18. David Says:

    Last week was OJs best game in a long time. He had a handful of catches, a TD, he looked to have some speed back, and he appeared to be blocking better to me. So we shall see

  19. Wild Bill Says:

    Smith is inconsistent at pass blocking. Howard is a “look out” pass blocker. Bucs should ride 4net early and establish the run if possible. Lots of quick short passes like last week too. Break the Bears pass rush down using the same game plan as last game. Then work in the occasional bomb on first down when the Bears are expecting run.

  20. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Yes, Luke Stocker was a hell of a blocker! A very unselfish player, out of the University of Tennessee. He plays for the Minnesota Vikings now.

  21. alton d green Says:

    what the Hell!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been a football fan since the early 60’s and I can’t ever remember so many injuries. someone breaks a damn finger nail and they miss 2 weeks. Tom played the entire season with a bad knee, he played most of the playoffs with a bandage on his thumb and he has a sore thumb this year. And before you say it “yes i know it’s a different position”