Buccaneers at Vikings: Five game-changing players
By Bailey Adams
When the Bucs drafted tight end O.J. Howard in April, some were wondering what Cameron Brate’s role would be going forward. Of course, excitement then kicked in about the two tight end sets that Tampa Bay could run with two excellent pass-catching tight ends. In the team’s first game of the season, though, neither tight end played too big of a role. That likely won’t be the case going forward, which means that Brate is someone that will surely still be relied on as Howard eases into the NFL. In a week three matchup against the Vikings, look for Jameis Winston to connect a little more often with the Harvard grad.
In Sunday’s win against the Bears, Brate was targeted just three times. He caught two of them for 24 yards, but it was a little odd seeing such a low number of targets for someone who helped carry the Buccaneer offense last year. With Howard and DeSean Jackson coming into play, it makes sense, but Howard only had three targets of his own. Going forward, Winston will surely look to Brate more than three times a game. For Tampa Bay to be at its peak offensive potential, he needs to. Brate is a big third down and red zone target, one that the Bucs need to take advantage of.
In week one, Minnesota allowed five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown to Saints tight end Coby Fleener. There’s potential for Brate to have a big day on Sunday, but he’ll need to get more looks. He hauled in 57 passes for 660 yards and eight touchdowns a year ago, emerging as a dangerous target. Of course, with more talent added in the offseason, it’s tougher to distribute the ball evenly. But if Winston can find a way to do so while still taking advantage of Brate’s size and ability in the red zone, the Bucs will have a big day on Sunday.