Bruce Arians: O.J. Howard will be “ready to go” for offseason program

Los Angeles Chargers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV even without their full complement of offensive weapons last season.

But one key factor should be back in 2021.

Tight end O.J. Howard tore his Achilles late in the Bucs’ Week Four victory over the Chargers, missing the rest of the year.

But according to head coach Bruce Arians, there’s reason for optimism with the young tight end heading into next season.

“He’s really close,” Arians said, via Scott Smith of the Buccaneers’ website. “He’s not running on the grass yet but he’s really close. The last time I checked it was 85 percent body weight running in ‘AlterG’ [treadmill] and [he] looks fantastic. I don’t see any setbacks. If and when we can get together in this offseason program, he’ll be ready to go.”

Howard caught 11 passes for 146 yards with a pair of touchdowns in four games last year. Since Tampa Bay selected him at No. 19 overall in 2017, he’s recorded 105 receptions for 1,602 yards with 14 TDs.

Howard hasn’t put up the most impressive numbers through the early part of his career. His high in catches is 34, yards is 565, and touchdowns is six.

But Arians still feels the tight end has plenty of potential.

“What a huge addition to have him back because he was having a great year,” Arians said. “I think, again, the sky’s the limit for what he can do in this offense.”

5 responses to “Bruce Arians: O.J. Howard will be “ready to go” for offseason program

  1. If OJ flames out this year he is officially a bust. He has never topped 34 receptions in a season. Personally I would leather have Cameron Brate back.

  2. Howard looked like he was on the same page as Brady prior to his injury, certainly more so than he’d been with Jameis. Two TD’s in just four games and that was prior to Brady even becoming comfortable. Most challenging part for OJ may be getting playing time; Tampa is sooo loaded at the TE position.

  3. Brate and Gronk made a made a formidable combo last year in the two TE set. They also got better as the year went on. I don’t mess with success.

  4. nobull says:
    March 31, 2021 at 1:08 pm
    If OJ flames out this year he is officially a bust. He has never topped 34 receptions in a season. Personally I would leather have Cameron Brate back.

    They will have all three, Gronk, Brate and OJ. The more weapons the merrier. Who are you going to guard? They also have Evans, Godwin, Miller, Johnson, Rojo, and Fournette. And will probably bring AB back too. WHO ARE YA GONNA GUARD?!?!?!

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