The Buccaneers need to start worrying about O.J. Howard.
Drops are a killer at a position where catching the ball is the most important facet of your job. O.J. Howard may bring a lot of versatility to the Buccaneers as a blocker and as a receiver when he is on, but it feels like he has been off his game more often than not in recent years.
We are barely through the first quarter of the second preseason game of the year, and Howard looks like he hasn’t caught a ball consistently in his career. So far, the two drops have been perfect throws from Blaine Gabbert, and Howard is starting to run out of excuses for his worst mistakes.
Unfortunately, Howard has been a case study in taking players based on their positive traits while waiting for them to develop, but this study shows the dangers of such a strategy.
The Buccaneers have been waiting on Howard through injuries, down seasons, and the few years where he has been healthy have been why the team holds on so long, but it is officially time to start worrying.
If Tom Brady and the offense can’t count on Howard to catch consistently, why would he ever get on the field over Cameron Brate or Rob Gronkowski? Howard is a great blocker and gets open with ease, it appears, but this is almost a trap for a quarterback. Gabbert can speak on this first hand after just one game together.
At this point, it is almost worth asking if it is time for Tampa to look for a trade partner for Howard. Obviously, there is still some upside there, but the constant drops are clearly too large an issue to overlook.
There is still time for Howard to turn his career around, but the Buccaneers’ patience is starting to run thin.
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