On the surface, it hurts the Buccaneers to lose Antonio Brown to COVID reserve. At a deeper level, it opens the door for other receivers and tight ends to do more.
Plenty of talented options haven’t gotten many chances. Receiver Scotty Miller hasn’t been targeted once in two games, and he has participated in 20 of 128 snaps (15.6 percent). Receiver Tyler Johnson has three targets and one catch for five yards. He also has 20 of 128 snaps (15.6 percent). Rookie receiver Jaelon Darden has been inactive for both games.
Tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard could also see more action. Brate has 39 snaps (32.5 percent) and Howard has 17 snaps (14.2 percent). Brate has one catch for eight yards, and Howard has one for 21.
Coach Bruce Arians said earlier this week that Howard is in line for more playing time as he continues to recover from last year’s torn Achilles tendon. “I would not say he’s 100 percent,” Arians said of Howard, via JoeBucsFan.com. “He’s getting real close. He’s getting real close and we’re going to try to up his snap count.”
Without Brown, Howard, Brate, Miller, and Johnson could see their snap counts and targets increase. Darden, in turn, may finally dress for a game. Regardless, the Bucs are very well suited to dealing with the absence of Brown.