Bruce Arians: O.J. Howard’s eyes should light up

Getty Images

Tom Brady missed Rob Gronkowski last season. The two combined for 7,786 yards before the tight end retired.

Brady, who signed with the Buccaneers last week, now has former first-round draft choice O.J. Howard as his tight end.

The Bucs had Howard on the trade block last year. Now, Howard has fallen into the best situation in the league for a tight end.

Brady has thrown for more yards (16,563) and more touchdowns (176) to tight ends since 2001 than any other quarterback in the league, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.

“[Howard’s] eyes should light up,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said, via Laine. “It’s still going out on the practice field and earning that trust. I think that will be his No. 1 focus. You have a quarterback that likes to throw to tight ends — go earn it and get balls thrown to you.”

Howard saw action on 745 snaps last season and ran 340 routes, per Laine, with Jameis Winston targeting Howard on 16.2 percent of his routes. Howard, 25, made 34 catches for 459 yards and a career-low one touchdown.