Bruce Arians On O.J. Howard: “His Time Is Coming”

December 27th, 2021

Praised by coach.

The stats say one thing. Bruce Arians says another.

The Bucs’ Super Bowl-winning coach, in his day-after presser today, had words for Bucs fans ready and willing to turn the page on tight end O.J. Howard: Hang in there.

Since the Bucs beat Philadelphia on Thursday Night Football, Howard’s snap counts have fallen off big time.

Until yesterday, that is.

Howard logged 24 snaps against Carolina, just over a third of the offensive plays. That’s the most he has played since the loss to the WTF on Nov. 14.

Asked about Howard’s recent disappearance, Arians responded in a very upbeat, positive manner about Howard’s play Sunday and his future impact.

“This was probably his best game,” Arians said today of the Bucs’ win over the Stinking Panthers. “[Howard] blocked really, really well in this game. We kind of really held the edge pretty good to run the ball that well, especially going around the corners.”

Still, Howard was a non-factor in the passing game, and really has had little to no impact since the win over the Chargers last year in the fourth game of the season when he had three catches for 50 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown catch from Tom Brady. It was the same game in which Howard blew his Achilles and he hasn’t been near the same player since.

Yesterday, Howard had a nice catch-and-run for a first down that was called back because of an Antonio Brown penalty.

Arians vowed that before the Bucs finish playing this winter, Howard will have an impact.

“O.J., he comes to work every day,” Arians said. “His time is coming. There is going to be a time when he is the guy who catches it.”

If Arians is trying to hold Howard back and not show opponents anything on tape and then spring him on an unsuspecting playoff foe, well, Arians is doing a helluva job with that.

It’s hard for Joe to believe that if the Bucs really are so convinced Howard can be used as an offensive weapon why they have placed him in mothballs? Couldn’t the Bucs have used him in debacle losses to the WTF and the slimy Saints (twice)?

If you want to tell Joe that Howard isn’t fully recovered from his Achilles injury and the Bucs are waiting until he is 100 percent before targeting him more in the passing attack, then OK. Joe will buy that. That’s a reasonable conclusion.

Next year the Bucs surely can find a primary blocking tight end for less than $6 million, which is Howard’s current base salary for 2021.

Joe still maintains Howard’s salary would be better allocated to Chris Godwin in order to keep the soon-to-be free agent receiver. Godwin has a significantly greater impact.

45 Responses to “Bruce Arians On O.J. Howard: “His Time Is Coming””

  1. westernbuc Says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it

  2. Thomas Edrington Says:

    I think everyone will read this post and think to themsleves:


  3. Zwak Says:

    His time is coming alright TO BE CUT!

  4. Bucsfanman Says:

    It’s time to turn the page.

    If he can contribute down the stretch, great! In no way should he be on this roster in ’22.

  5. PassingThru Says:

    Arians is right. The time is coming for Howard’s contract to expire.

    If Arians had confidence in OJ, we would have seen more of him on the field yesterday, let alone see him targeted with a pass.

    Blocking TEs tend to make about $1 million or so a season. He’s not even on the field enough as a blocking TE.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I believe we will see the second coming of Jesus before we see the first coming of OJ Howard…..

  7. tampabuscsbro Says:

    the man is not going to be on the team next year………….why would his time be coming?

  8. PSL Bob Says:

    I was a big supporter of OJs for a long time and was very patient in waiting for his emergence. Never happened! It’s over! Don’t care how you spin it, he’s not the player I or we expected. He won’t be a Buc next year.

  9. Simeon97 Says:

    That play where he ran into i think brate yesterday, ugh. Looked like a clown show of our 3 TEs. The guy hasn’t met expectations.

  10. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Good one TBBF

  11. bigdaddio Says:

    Gronk needs a rest. He has been fading last 2 weeks. Give Gronk 2 weeks off and showcase OJ. If we lose to either Jets or Panthers because of no Gronk we probably won’t win in the playoffs.

  12. dmatt Says:

    If everyone is willing to buy BA’s dreams he’s selling about OJ then I also saw BA at the dealership on Fowler selling cars at his part time job.

  13. Architek Says:

    At least he’s healthy…🥴

  14. Listnfrmafar Says:

    In his defense the PI on AB on Howard first catch was BS, the ball was in the air. If it stuck, the was a good catch and run after the catch.

  15. Bird Says:

    Hey if he catches a td in a big playoff game and they make to superbowl then he gets some street cred

    We need gronk to show up from here on out. Cause he looked out of it in panthers game. Hope he is not partying again 😂

  16. C2asante Says:

    When it comes to assessing a players ability to contribute to the teams game plan I trust the professional football coaches who see the players in practice everyday. Unlike the keyboard experts, most who have never played or coached football at any level, these coaches professional careers depend on them making the right calls on a players ability. Certainly they do not always get it right, as ability is only part of the equation. Desire and will often is what separates all these guys who are talented enough to make it to the NFL, from the truly great players.

  17. Craig Says:

    He was not a non-factor. His poor route running caused him to bowl over Brate when he was supposed to be downfield blocking for Brate when he caught that pass.

    He can fart around and ruin his own career, but he should not be allowed to hurt the team.

    Brady isn’t going to throw it to him if he isn’t where he is supposed to be, so I doubt that his day is coming, unless it is elsewhere.

  18. kyle Says:

    hopefully godwin will be the same player joe?????

  19. Jason Says:

    The one thing Realist had a valid point about was BA and BS. For some players, he will criticize them in public, and we call BA candid and a straight shooter. Other times he blows smoke, and gets a free pass from most.

    Personally, I think he chooses which way to go based on what will best motivate that particular player and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what he says to the media. He only cares about the team.

  20. NeverGIVEup Says:

    Reminds me of Will G except as a TE. Super Freaky looking athlete that never meets what we want him to be but seems to stick around and contribute.

    I for one am not a fan of running off guys that work hard and are super talented and freaky looking athletes.

    I say keep him for as long as we can afford him. He is better than Luke Stocker

  21. Alanbucsfan Says:

    If Howard and Josh Wells were on the field more a week ago and Darden and Miller less, the Bucs would’ve beaten the Saints by running the ball down their throats.

  22. Mike C Says:

    Maybe BA is talking about for another team…..

  23. Marine Buc Says:

    OJ will be one of several Bucs who won’t be back next year.

  24. William Walls Says:

    My wife went to Alabama, which makes me an Alabama fan, too, and we’re about to give up on the kid. Sorry, OJ, but if you’re not producing, then you’ve got to go. I’d be in favor of the league minimum on a one-year prove-it deal, giving the rest of his salary to Godwin, and giving him one final year.

    Unless we replace him in the draft, of course, which I’d be disappointed by but totally understand.

  25. Wild Bill Says:

    I have been to Santa Anita and watched the great looking horses parade up close in the paddock. You cannot judge quality on appearance alone. OJ absolutely looks like a winner physically but something is missing. I don’t know crap about judging horses, but I do know looks don’t determine ability. Hope the guy does well with his new team next season.

  26. Ed Says:

    Tight end is going to be a position of need for this team in offseason. Neither Brate nor Howard are the kind of tight end that you see all around the league.

    Brate has the soft hands but he is really slow and can’t break tackles. Howard is strong and used to be fast but he has made too many mistakes to be on the field other than to block. Cam is the 47th rated TE in the NFL, Howard is #64.

    Gronk is #7 but his availability full time isn’t going to get better. Mike Gesecki from Dolphins and Dalton Shultz from Dallas are both free agents, much younger than Gronk or Brate and much cheaper on their current contracts.

  27. allbuccedup Says:

    His time is coming for another team next year.

  28. Daryl Green Says:

    I would also like to allow JPP’s money to The God.
    I’m keeping Suh one more year. I would like Grayson too hang with AB football wise these next couple of weeks 👊🏾

  29. CyberDilemma Says:

    You got Howard’s base salary wrong. The Bucs exercised his 5th year option so he is making $6,013,000 in 2021. Sickening isn’t it?

  30. unbelievable Says:

    I dunno what to make of Howard… his blocking has definitely gotten better.

    As for his receiving game… he barely gets 1 pass per game thrown his way, so how can you actually evaluate that?

    Now you could make the argument he’s not getting open… but on at least a few plays per week he is open, the ball just doesn’t go his way. So… I dunno what to think any more? The one thing that is clear is that he doesn’t have the killer instinct you would hope a tight end of his size would have. Cuz if he did, he would be a monster like Gronk.

  31. bucschamp Says:

    his time is coming………to an end

  32. David Says:

    LOL. His time is coming?!!?

    Are we going to wait till he’s 30 or is his “time “ going to be with another team?

  33. Rod Munch Says:

    I’m not sure where you’re getting these bargain basement TEs from, but TEs, if they have any type of talent, go for quite a bit. Also while Brate was OK yesterday, he’s not been good this year, and depending on the cap hit, I’d have real 2nd thoughts about bringing back a 31-year old Brate who is dropping a ton of passes and can no longer get open if he’s covered at all (he is still good at finding open spaces in zones or just sitting down in spots if he’s uncovered – even if his catch percentage has plummeted).

    I’d be shocked if OJ isn’t getting more than $2m from someone next year. I’m not sure the Bucs can afford to bring him back, but as a depth player, I’d certainly want him back if the Bucs can afford it.

  34. Greg Says:

    Nothing new here in regard to OJ. He has lasted to his fifth year because of his measurable attributes. However when it actually comes to playing the game he is stiff and does not have the bendable body attributes that the good much less elite TE’s have. He has no better mentor than Gronk. Gronk gets down low and looks for players he can plaster. OJ meh. He has had plenty of time to refine his trade even with the injury downtime. He will most assurable be signed by another team hoping to change him but best wishes. Go Bucs!

  35. T REX Says:

    Please flush oj

  36. Rod Munch Says:

    Greg – He’s mostly been blocking this year because Brate can’t block at all, so when he’s on the field, it’s to block, where he’s improved a ton. Obviously if Gronk is healthy, then he’s going to be out there since he’s the best in the league in blocking as a TE, but that doesn’t mean OJ can’t is hapless. Also, in running routes, I’m going to guess he’s never been 100% this year. In the preseason he didn’t look healthy at all, and he hasn’t ran many routes, I think that tells us everything.

    Going forward however, if they can bring him back for cheap, of course you want a guy with tons of talent, who knows your system, who has become a decent blocker and who is hopefully healthy so he can run routes. If they don’t bring him back, then I think that says everything about his recovery – assuming no one else gives him a nice payday.

  37. Rod Munch Says:

    By far the biggest downside of OJ, why so many idiots hate on him, is because everyone expected them to pick Dalvin Cook.

    It’s not as bad as 1990, but in 1990 everyone had the Bucs taking Emmitt Smith… then days before the draft they traded for former Bandit, Gary Anderson, who had a couple of thousand yard seasons in San Diego and then, I believe, sat out of a year. Because of that trade, the Bucs skipped on RB and took Keith McCants — and they only took McCants because Junior Seau said he refused to play for the Bucs, I believe tied to the lingering Bo Jackson controversy and the overall losernessess of the franchise. Talk about a franchise changing turn of events. If the Bucs get Emmit Smith, I wonder how that turns out, if we’re still signing Alvin Harper like it’s a huge deal, or if Smith just looks like Reggie Cobb in those terrible Bucs offenses.

  38. adam from ny Says:

    BA just wants other teams to keep an eye on tarzan so others are less focused on…

    maybe he can assist tom in creating a mess in all saints coolers if we happen to meet up for round 3 this season lol 🙂

  39. Biff Barker Says:

    Rod, big swing for the fences and a miss. Davin Cook is just tired excuse. we know how the draft works.
    People hate OJ because he’s not even good enough to start for most teams even when he’s healthy enough to play. He’s a first round bust. Period.
    It’s like when we all waited for Josh Freeman.
    I dont believe 90% of the BA coachspeak BS either.

  40. Hoops Says:

    Don’t know why bucs fans are down on Brate. He’s the 3rd leading TD holder on the bucs. Don’t know where they say he’s a bad blocker, he’s made some great blocks this past year. As far as catching goes, Brady’s been inaccurate on quite a few passes to Brate that were uncatchable. Give the guy some props. This is his 8th year with the team. Do you remember the playoffs last year. He was fantastic! Go Bucs, go Brate!

  41. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Hoops: Although I like Brate, he’s dropped several passes that hit him in the hands this year.

  42. Corndog Says:

    Hoops I like the way you evaluate the game you say things need to be said about everyone. It takes a team to win a team game!!!

  43. Pickgrin Says:

    Joe – Howard made $6M on his 5th year option which was exorcised in 2021 – not $1.9M….

  44. Ernie Says:

    What is up with you guys? Arians said OJ will produce. Arians job depends on success on the field. If he’s happy with OJ, so am I. I’m not a Bucs fan although I lived there for 35 years. I’m a “slimy” Saints fan from New Orleans. I really dislike the “Slimy” call of the Saints. Name calling will get you no where.
    Go OJ, Kiss Butt.

  45. Ernie Says:

    That’s supposed to be KICK butt.