Cover three: Need to The Bucs Trade TE Howard?


Cover three is a weekly function column written by’s Tampa Bay Bucs beat writer Trevor Sikkema published every single Tuesday. The column, as its name suggests, comes in 3 phases: a statistical observation, an in-depth film breakdown, and a “this or that” segment exactly where the writer asks the reader to chose in between two possibilities.

Sikkema’s Stat of the Week

As appears to be the case with any year following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football franchise, this season currently feels like a roller coaster. In just six games, this group has currently seasoned pretty the highs and lows. At its ideal, there was the 55-40 victory out in Los Angeles against the Rams, and the clutch finish-of-game heroic defensive stand against the Panthers on national tv. At its worst there was the six-turnover efficiency that took spot in London in their final game, a 37-26 loss to Carolina, and just before that a loss at property to a rookie quarterback in Daniel Jones in his initial commence.

By way of it all, the Bucs at present sit at two-four. Even though spirits may well be a bit down appropriate now due to recency bias of their final game, the Bucs are nevertheless pretty a great deal in variety of a turn about this season, and mathematically that also consists of a possible playoff berth.

Bucs O.J. Howard
Bucs O.J. Howard – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But it is going to take one thing unique to spark a a great deal-necessary turnaround. That could come in a handful of strategies. The group could get healthier, as its offensive line has been beaten up with unfortunate injuries currently. This group is also poised to get pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul back from his unfortunate off-the-field injury this offseason exactly where he injured his neck in a auto accident. And there are also outdoors whispers of this group producing a move at the upcoming trade deadline.

Traditionally, the Bucs have not been an active group below common manager Jason Licht at the trade deadline. Licht hasn’t created a move to obtain a player for the duration of deadline week considering that 2016, and the only moves he has created considering that 2014 had been trading away cornerback Johnthan Banks in 2016 and trading away security Mark Barron in 2014.

Right here in 2019, it seems as soon as once again that this could be a quiet deadline for the Buccaneers. With their record, understanding how numerous property games they have left, and the expectation of Pierre-Paul’s return, there’s a fantastic likelihood their roster remains the similar going into the back half of the season.

But that does not imply there haven’t been whispers of moves in the circles of the NFL rumor groups. The loudest of them is surrounding third-year tight finish O.J. Howard.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the New England Patriots are at least one particular group that has inquired about Howard’s solutions.

“The Patriots’ choice to bring Benjamin Watson back soon after Matt LaCosse went to IR only additional illustrates the team’s complications at Rob Gronkowski’s old spot. Eight days till the trade deadline. New England currently asked, and was told no on, Buccaneers tight finish OJ Howard. I’d count on they’ll be turning more than rocks this week at the position.”

The talks of Howard becoming a possible trade pieces from the Buccaneers began when the group hired Bruce Arians as head coach final January. The Buccaneers spent the 19th general choose on Howard in the 2017 NFL Draft. His numbers a for the duration of his initial two seasons weren’t eye-popping with the quantity of catches and targets, but they had been impactful with YPC averages and touchdown ratios. Even so, all through Arians’ extended NFL tenure, he has by no means been a coach to truly make use of the tight finish position.

As this narrative was brought up for the duration of the offseason and even into coaching camp, Arians immediately hushed the crowd by saying he’s by no means noticed any tight finish like Howard – that his mixture of size, speed and strength had been genuinely uncommon. We believed that would imply a heavier emphasis on the position (player) than Arians’ history would recommend. But so far in 2019, the skeptics have been appropriate. In this, the third year of Howard’s profession, he is averaging an complete catch much less per game, his lowest YPC typical, and he has however to catch a touchdown (he caught six in every of the final two seasons, devoid of however playing a complete 16-game slate).

TE O.J. Howard – Photo by: Roger McQueen/PR

Arians may well say he likes what the group has in Howard, but he’s employing Howard as a receiver much less than earlier head coach Dirk Koetter did, and that was even with Howard as a rookie. Correct now, Howard is averaging 3 targets per game, which is only fantastic for 30th in the NFL amongst all tight ends. Howard’s emphasis in the getting game is much less than guys like T.J. Hockenson, Will Dissly, James O’Shaughnessy and Dawson Knox. Even though his YPC typical is decrease than his earlier seasons, Howard is nevertheless sixth in the NFL in that category for tight ends who have caught at least 10 passes. Even so, more than the final two years of tight ends who caught at least 20 passes, Howard was No. 1 in the league in the YPC category. So sixth is nevertheless a down year.

Extended story quick, the far more you use this guy, the far more he appears to reward you. So why are not the Bucs employing him?

I am positive the Patriots are not the only group that has inquired about Howard – and by the way, if the Patriots attain out to you about a player, probabilities are he’s quite fantastic and you ought to believe twice about not only trading him but even seeking at how you are employing him.

Each player has their value. I think that, even to totally unrealistic levels of trade delivers. I am not positive what the Buccaneers worth level for Howard is, but I do not believe it matches his use appropriate now.

Howard is third on the group in targets with 18 behind receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who every have 55. Even so, wide receiver Breshad Perriman would probably have far more than Howard had Perriman not gotten hurt 4 weeks ago.

I do not believe the Bucs ought to trade Howard. I believe they ought to alternatively use him far more. Let’s get into some of Howard’s film and clarify why on the subsequent web page.


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