O.J. Howard vs. Cincinnati defense
I thought about merely listing this as “Howard versus Cincinnati linebackers,” but that wouldn’t be accurate. When it comes to defending the dangerous Buccaneers tight end, it’s a team effort. As every commentator constantly, relentlessly reminds us – Howard is too big for corners and too fast for linebackers (if I were on stage right now I could let the crowd ad lib that one.)
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So instead we’ll see all sorts of players matching up with Howard. When he lines up out wide, he’ll get corners like William Jackson or Dre Kirkpatrick.
Playing as a traditional tight end with his hand in the dirt, Howard will see linebackers like cheap-shot artist Vontaze Burfict or Preston Brown. Other times he’ll see safeties like Jessie Bates or Shawn Williams. Regardless of the match-up, this is one that the Buccaneers offense can win with.
Howard is quite uncoverable most of the time. His quarterback has the choice on any given play to toss the ball high for Howard to sky over defenders or to throw it deep to capitalize on Howard’s speed.
Against the Browns last week Howard finished with five catches for 67 yards, but he easily could have had 150 yards if not for a few miscues with Jameis Winston – those that watched the game know exactly what I’m talking about. Cincinnati has struggled to cover tight ends like Travis Kelce, Vance McDonald and Jack Doyle, and from a fantasy football perspective they’ve given up the fourth most points to tight ends, according to Yahoo. We can expect to see the Bucs feature Howard this week.