Showcase Game For O.J. Howard

October 1st, 2021

Coming up on his 27th birthday in his fifth NFL season, O.J. Howard’s NFL career is ready for a fair assessment.

Howard has done little since his ugly ankle injury against the Giants midway through the 2018 season. (See the JoeBucsFan photo above.)

Trouble adjusting to the Bucco Bruce Arians offense and blocking woes hit him 2019, and then a major Achilles injury struck early in 2020, just when the Bucs’ 2017 first-round pick was looking like he might have a breakthrough season.

Howard is about one-year into his recovery from surgery and Arians said 10 days ago that the plan is to play Howard more.

Well, now that Rob Gronkowski officially is “doubtful” with busted up ribs for Sunday night, Joe is seeing a massive opportunity for Howard on a national stage.

Howard played 14 snaps (20 percent) against the Rams on Sunday, up from 11 against the Falcons the prior week.

Can he get up to 30 snaps at full speed?

Howard is in the final year of his conract and is earning about $6 million. He’s nearly annually been the subject of trade speculation, often to the Belicheats, Sunday’s opponent. Joe doesn’t think that’s a coincidence.

Sunday could prove to be a crossroads game for Howard in more ways than one.

42 Responses to “Showcase Game For O.J. Howard”

  1. Casual Observer Says:

    For some reason we can’t count on Howard.

  2. crazybucs_CL Says:


  3. heyitsadam Says:

    I’m gonna say no.

    Howard hasn’t shown us Jack squat. And anyone who says he has is lying to themselves.

    Look for Brate to be Diet Gronk (as he’s always been throughout his career) and Oj will be lucky to get 2 targets.

  4. SB Says:

    He is talented but made of glass @ Casual Observer

  5. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    If ever the time was right for Howard to ball out, this is the game!
    Gronk is out, and Belichik is a potential employer, down the road.
    I was watching the draft where we took Howard, and most people there were not happy that we took him, including me.
    He sure has not lived up to expectations, so far.

  6. dmatt Says:

    I’ve said multiple times that the film don’t lie. I’ve seen enough bad plays from Howard over the past 5 yrs to deem him a bust/practice squad player. Reason being… Reluctant to block; Running outta bounds to evade 180 lb corner; Fumbles; Dropped passes; And no sense of urgency to make a play during critical downs other than catching wide open passes with no pressure in close proximity as he did at Bama. OJ Howard is more interested in having a nice physique and and paycheck. Activate Deon Yelder to see what he can do. We’ve wasted too much useless time on OJ Howard.

  7. Marine Buc Says:

    OJ has looked solid so far in very limited action. I am interested to see if he can rise up, stay healthy and actually become the TE we all have hoped he would become.

    It’s now or never OJ!!!

  8. Rod Munch Says:

    Howard was on pace last year for 44 catches, 584 yards and 8 TDs when he got hurt – as the #2 TE. That’s not nothing.

    Hopefully he’s healthy, that’s always been the concern with him. His preseason wasn’t not good, but he hasn’t stood out since then — which isn’t a bad thing considering all the dopes here that are actively rooting for him to fail — they’ve been fairly quiet about him. Well, until this article, when these idiots will be demanding that he’s cut before the game.

    It should be a nice game for Brate, since OJ is the better blocker of the two, he’ll be playing that role while Brate gets to rack up some stats. So if Brate is super cheap in daily fantasy, I’d likely bet on him if I needed to super cheap option.

  9. HC Grover Says:

    Howards PPY…price per yard…is astronomical.

  10. SB~LV Says:

    BA should call Dirks delay, slip from R to L just passed the LOS scrum cluster, OJ ran that with great success!
    Now back to Sunday, hell yes give him and Brate to majority of targets.
    Rib pads on Gronk! Last thing he needs is more shots on his ribs and back .
    This is the game to establish a running game, a power running game needs to get on tape Sunday!

  11. Rod Munch Says:

    Listening to Boston sports talk, and one of the guys said the way the Bucs would destroy the Patriots is to just come out, in shotgun, 5 WRs, no huddle and just let Brady pick the defense apart since they’d be completely unable to cover anyone and Brady could get rid of the ball before any pressure got there.

    I’d love that since if the Bucs did that it would completely trigger all the people demanding the Bucs run the ball like it’s 1956. Meanwhile we’d probably score 45 points in a blowout… but you CAN’T WIN if you don’t run up the middle on every first down for 1.2 yards.

  12. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Howard will get his 1-3 targets.
    AB will explode this game.
    AB’s history vs Pats is 36 catches, 450 yds, 4 td’s in 6 games- and that’s without Evans, Godwin or Brate on the field.

  13. JimmyJack Says:

    Im a big of a O.J. hater as any but if anybody is going to get this guy to hit his potential its Tom.

    Dont care how much he boiled my blood in the past this is a new year. The fact that we could of moved on from Howard and used that money elsewhere tells me all I need to know. They belive in this guy and his number may of just got called up. He can pretty much wipe the slate clean with a bug game as far as Im concerned.

  14. kgh4life Says:

    Don’t look for Howard to step up, like he always does.

  15. Rod Munch Says:

    SB~LV Says:
    October 1st, 2021 at 5:37 pm
    BA should call Dirks delay, slip from R to L just passed the LOS scrum cluster, OJ ran that with great success!


    I agree, he had great success on that, a simple drag route that let him use his speed to get past the LBs, then if he could run over a corner or safety, he’s got a huge play. But if they use him like Gronk, run him down the middle with a super tight window, he’s going to knock one of those passes in the air for an easy INT, so I hope they kill that play from the playbook. I’d say maybe use Brate on those plays, but last year Brady constantly overthrew Brate on that route for whatever reason — so just kill it all together.

  16. Rod Munch Says:

    Alanbucsfan – I’m with you, I think this is AB’s week to have a huge game. For some reason he’s not really being talked about, which I don’t get, since this just seems like a game where he’ll go nuts.

  17. Steven007 Says:

    The tight end for the Bengals last night, I forget his name, had a great game. Also coming off an Achilles from last year. Harbinger of things to come with Howard? Doubtful, but you never know.

  18. Jason Says:

    Howard is an athlete trying to play football. Looking at you Jeff Demps.

  19. DaBux Says:

    Kids going to ball out or bawl out when cut.

    It’s that simple.

  20. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Here’s an idea….if Gronk doesn’t play, let OJ wear #87… NE….that should do it.

  21. Tony Says:

    Brate has always been better than oj.

  22. Zwak Says:

    Make it or break it game for OJ, better show some juice Sir!

  23. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I wish OJ the best, as I do all Bucs players. On a side note, for the “The Bucs should’ve taken Dalvin Cook, OJ’s always hurt” crowd…Cook missed last week’s game, so they both have the same games played (45) and the same games missed (22) in their regular season careers.

  24. CrunchBuc Says:

    One word…LAZY. Doesn’t study to learn the offense. Another word…BUST. There is no other way to describe a 1st round pick with nearly no production. Final word. Goodbye and good riddance!!

  25. Tackleblockwin Says:

    Obviously I want him to succeed, but so far, OJ has been a massive disappointment. He has the speed, strength, and size to dominate, but thus far he has decided to play soft in most his appearances. I need to see him string together at least 10 quality games and remain injury free before I even think about resigning him. Like I said, I’m rooting for him, but not counting on him to suddenly start avoiding injuries and playing at a first round level.

  26. D-Rome Says:

    When it comes to DK or FD daily fantasy I will be playing Cam Brate over OJ Howard.

  27. Bojim Says:


  28. #1bucsfan Says:

    Injuries with players is unpredictable. He’s a freak of nature athlete. Just sucks he’s made of glass. If you can’t stay on the field then it doesn’t matter how talented or good you are.

  29. MadMax Says:

    Hmmm, Gronk will be gone soon, need a big body back there, lets try and see…

  30. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Trade, as in a 6th or 7th Rounder? OJ has as much value as Rojo, which isn’t much. Just gotta hope the habitual screwups stop screwing up. If they don’t, bye. 👋🏿

  31. Buczilla Says:

    Howard was a wasted draft pick and very nearly a bust. 2017 had a lot of so so players and busts drafted in the first round too.

  32. lambchop Says:

    I think Brate and OJ will get looks in this game. Maybe some 12 personnel to make the interior defense have to defend 2 pass catching TEs.

    I expect the Bucs to sprinkle in different offensive plays, since BB is so confident we run a Patriots offense.

    But, honestly, how does Gronk miss this game? I just can’t believe he would not do whatever it took to get some play time. He’s the best blocking TE in the game where the Belicheats would have to worry about him coming off of blocks to catch. I hope he plays.

  33. Coburn Says:

    Agree with tony. Brate has always been better. Unfortunately not sure how many good years he has left . Would be nice to have a younger guy start to show potential

  34. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Will this be OJ’s last chance or will he have his coming of age party? Sadly, it is getting to be like a serial “soap opera”.

    “It’s now or never … Come hold me tight” 🎶 🤷‍♀️ 💕 🏈

  35. Elita Vita Says:

    Up till now OJ Howard has been the classic underachiever

  36. Elita Vita Says:

    Hmmm what did others know about Howard that Licht did not? Why did he fall to the Bucs at 19?

  37. Buc4evr Says:

    I don’t expect to see OJ block much. He will be good for a few passes then leave with an injury in the second half. Three receptions for 30 yards will be a great day for OJ…😆

  38. Capt.Tim Says:

    Five years of talking about potential, with no results.
    Alot of Buccaneer fans sure like to suffer, and be disappointed
    Gronk and Brate are a great pair of TEs.
    Howard is a conversation piece.
    Same as always.
    And all the hoping and wishing gets us nowhere

  39. Bellingham Bucs Fan Says:

    I seriously don’t think about this guy until there’s a story or he makes a rare play.

  40. Jim Says:

    Who the he..are you to be calling the Patriots Belicheats? You’re a nobody

  41. E.V. Says:


  42. E.V. Says: