O.J. Howard

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tight End #80
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tight End #80
Photo: Icon Sportswire

O.J. Howard News

No stats in Week 12 win

Howard did not record a target during his nine snaps from scrimmage in Sunday's 38-31 win over the Colts.

Analysis: The fifth-year tight end logged 13 fewer snaps than Cameron Brate and 46 less than Rob Gronkowski, leaving no doubt as to his spot in the positional pecking order. Howard now has all of one target over the last three contests, and Sunday's snap count was his lowest since Week 1, when he began to be worked back into action from his October 2020 Achilles tear.

Nov 29, 2021 9:38 PM EST

One target in Gronk's return

Howard secured his only target for a 10-yard gain in the Buccaneers' 30-10 win over the Giants on Monday night.

Analysis: Howard was third among the Buccaneers' tight ends in snap share (26%) and targets, fitting given his apparent slotting in the positional pecking order. With Rob Gronkowski back in action Monday night and seemingly back to health, Howard is likely to continue operating in a minimal role during a Week 12 matchup against the Colts.

Nov 23, 2021 9:17 PM EST

No targets in Week 10 loss

Howard did not see a target over his 28 snaps from scrimmage during Sunday's 29-19 loss to Washington, but his lack of looks were unrelated to the fact he committed a false start penalty on the first play of the game, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: The fifth-year tight end's total lack of opportunity was especially disappointing when considering Rob Gronkowski (back) remained out of action. Howard had at least shown signs of an offensive pulse over the last month-plus with multiple receptions in three of the past four games, but if Gronkowski can make it back for Monday night's game against the Giants, the Alabama product could be a non-factor for a second straight contest.

Nov 15, 2021 10:01 PM EST

Two grabs in loss

Howard secured two of three targets for 16 yards in the Buccaneers' 36-27 loss to the Saints on Sunday.

Analysis: The fifth-year veteran logged 28 snaps (46% share) overall, with the fact Rob Gronkowski exited in his return after just six snaps due to back spasms certainly helping Howard's cause. The Alabama product has now produced multiple catches in three of the past four games, and if Gronkowski's back issues don't clear up over the Buccaneers' Week 9 bye, Howard could remain on the fantasy radar in Week 10 against Washington.

Nov 1, 2021 7:29 AM EST

Remains limited Thursday

Howard (ankle) practiced in a limited capacity Thursday.

Analysis: The Buccaneers are readying for the return of top TE Rob Gronkowski for the first time since Week 3 due to cracked and fractured ribs and a punctured lung. After getting back on the practice field Wednesday as a limited participant -- just like Howard -- Gronkowski jumped all the way to full Thursday. Howard thus appears to be the least healthy of the team's tight ends behind Gronkowski and Cameron Brate, but ultimately Friday's injury report may clear up all of their statuses for Sunday's game in New Orleans.

Oct 28, 2021 2:30 PM EST

Stays limited by ankle issue

Howard (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice, Carmen Vitali of the Buccaneers' official site reports.

Analysis: Howard followed a DNP/LP/FP practice regimen last week before being listed as questionable for this past Sunday's game against the Bears. He was active and logged 51 percent of the offensive snaps, but he gathered in just one of three targets for nine yards in the blowout victory. With Rob Gronkowski (ribs) back on the practice field Wednesday, the breakdown of TE snaps between him, Howard and Cameron Brate is poised to change in the near future. Whether that happens this Sunday in New Orleans is contingent upon how Gronkowski fares in his first on-field work since getting injured Week 3.

Oct 27, 2021 1:45 PM EST

Held to one grab in win

Howard (ankle) brought in one of three targets for nine yards in the Buccaneers' 38-3 win over the Bears on Sunday.

Analysis: The veteran tight end was coming off a season-best 6-49-1 line against the Eagles in Week 6, but he was right back to a minimal role Sunday despite the absences of both Antonio Brown (ankle) and Rob Gronkowski (ribs). Howard did log a solid 37 snaps, but with Gronkowski potentially back for a Week 8 matchup against the Saints, his opportunities could dry up further as early as Sunday.

Oct 25, 2021 7:42 PM EST

Active against Bears

Howard (ankle) is active for Sunday's game against the Bears, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: The fifth-year tight end was able to work back to full practice participation Friday, so the questionable tag he carried into the weekend always had at least a bit of skepticism attached. Howard is now officially available to help Cameron Brate shoulder the workload at tight end against the Bears in what will be Rob Gronkowski's third straight absence. The 26-year-old is coming off a season-best 6-49-1 against the Eagles in Week 6.

Oct 24, 2021 12:05 PM EST

Listed on final report despite FP

Howard (ankle) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bears, despite being a full practice participant Friday.

Analysis: The tight end took a step forward each day, going DNP-LP-FP on the injury report. Howard should be active for the 4:25 ET kickoff, but if not, Cameron Brate will get more playing time and targets. Meanwhile, Rob Gronkowski (ribs) still hasn't returned to practice.

Oct 22, 2021 11:49 AM EST

Logs limited practice Thursday

Howard (ankle) was limited at Thursday's practice.

Analysis: While Greg Auman of The Athletic noted Howard was holding a helmet and didn't seem to be inhibited in the portion of the session open to the media, the Buccaneers officially put him down as a limited participant. That may just mean Howard didn't take part in any or all team drills, but in any case he's trending in the right direction in advance of Sunday's game versus the Bears. With Rob Gronkowski (ribs) still unable to practice, Howard and Cameron Brate are slated to handle tight end for a fourth consecutive contest this weekend, assuming Howard is available.

Oct 21, 2021 2:20 PM EST

Tending to ankle injury

Howard didn't practice Wednesday due to an ankle injury.

Analysis: Howard was absent from the portion of Wednesday's session open to the media, and now the reason for his DNP is known. He joins Rob Gronkowski (ribs) as a non-participant, which leaves just Cameron Brate as the only healthy tight end on the Buccaneers' roster. Howard will look to get back on the field during the team's final two practices of Week 7 prep.

Oct 20, 2021 2:32 PM EST

Breaks out with six catches

Howard secured six of seven targets for 49 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' 28-22 win over the Eagles on Thursday night.

Analysis: The seldom-used tight end surprisingly broke out for season-best catch and yardage totals in the primetime win, adding his first touchdown of the season on a two-yard scoring grab to cap off a 10-play game-opening drive. Howard's expanded opportunity came due to the ongoing absence of Rob Gronkowski (ribs), but it was still noteworthy when considering he doubled up position mate Cameron Brate in catches while also logging three more targets. Despite the encouraging performance, Howard's fantasy value could quickly take a hit if Gronkowski is able to return for the Week 7 home matchup versus the Bears, as currently expected.

Oct 14, 2021 9:34 PM EST

Pair of grabs in big win

Howard brought in two of three targets for 19 yards in the Buccaneers' 45-17 win over the Dolphins on Sunday.

Analysis: The athletic tight end logged a solid workload for the straight game -- 43 snaps -- and did more with the opportunity than during the Week4 win over the Patriots when he didn't crack the stat sheet over 50 plays from scrimmage. Howard's two receptions were still only his third and fourth of the season, however, and he now projects to potentially revert to some empty stat lines again if Rob Gronkowski returns from his rib injury in a Week 6 matchup Thursday night against the Eagles.

Oct 11, 2021 9:50 PM EST

Primed for larger role

Howard and Cameron Brate could see added playing time this week, with fellow Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs) doubtful for Sunday's game against the Patriots, Scott Smith of buccaneers.com reports.

Analysis: Last week, Brate saw five targets on 45 percent of snaps, while Howard got just one target on 19 percent even though Gronkowski was limited after halftime. However, the Bucs were trailing by multiple scores throughout much of the second half in their eventual loss to the Rams, with the situation likely favoring Brate over Howard. A different gameplan or game script could work more in Howard's favor, but he's far from a lock to see steady targets Sunday night. The 2017 first-round pick has caught both of his targets for 32 yards this season, logging a grand total of 31 snaps in three games.

Oct 1, 2021 2:27 PM EST

One catch in loss

Howard secured his only target for 11 yards in the Buccaneers' 34-24 loss to the Rams on Sunday.

Analysis: Howard's sparse usage persisted Sunday, although he did bump up his snap count to a season-high 14 after logging 11 against the Falcons in Week 2. Perhaps the incremental increases in Howard's playing time will consistently continue, but at the current rate, fantasy managers wouldn't be able to expect much of a return on any draft investment until later in the season, and that's assuming the projected growth in opportunity comes with a corresponding allotment of targets.

Sep 27, 2021 9:40 PM EST

First catch of season Sunday

Howard secured his only target for 21 yards while logging 11 snaps from scrimmage in Sunday's 48-25 win over the Falcons on Sunday.

Analysis: The oft-injured tight end took some small steps forward from a catchless opener during which he'd also logged just six snaps from scrimmage. It appears the Buccaneers are easing the talented Howard back into action after last season's Achilles tear, and with Rob Gronkowski practically looking like he's back in his prime over the first two games, Howard could find extensive playing time a bit difficult to come by even as when he's deemed to be back at full strength.

Sep 22, 2021 10:22 PM EST

Sparse action in opener

Howard did not see a target in the Buccaneers' 31-29 win over the Cowboys on Thursday night, and Greg Auman of The Athletic reports the tight end logged just six snaps from scrimmage.

Analysis: Howard performed well in training camp and appeared to shake off some rust during preseason action while recording a 5-44 line over three exhibitions. Consequently, his significantly limited usage Thursday was somewhat of a head scratcher, although Auman speculates it could have been a byproduct of the 2018 first-round pick not being completely recovered from last season's early-October Achilles tear. Howard's next opportunity to break the ice on the 2021 season will come in a Week 2 battle versus the Falcons a week from Sunday.

Sep 10, 2021 9:05 PM EST

One catch in preseason win

Howard brought in his only target for five yards in the Buccaneers' 23-16 preseason win over the Texans on Saturday night.

Analysis: Although Howard only had the one catch, Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times notes it was a key one, with Howard bringing in the reception on third down in the red zone to set up the Buccaneers' second touchdown. By all accounts, Howard has looked like he's progressively shed rust this summer, and he should enjoy a solid role in the game plan in the Week 1 showdown against the Cowboys on Thursday night, Sept. 9.

Aug 29, 2021 8:09 PM EST

Solid in preseason loss

Howard secured three of six targets for 24 yards in the Buccaneers' 34-3 preseason loss to the Titans on Saturday night.

Analysis: A week after celebrating his return to action following his Achilles tear with a 15-yard grab against the Bengals last Saturday, Howard took matters a step further with a strong effort versus Tennessee. The talented but oft-injured tight end seems to be rounding into shape nicely ahead of Week 1, and with a healthy six targets on the night, it appears the Buccaneers wanted to make sure to get him plenty of reps. Considering he's working back from a long layoff, Howard could potentially be one of the few starting skill-position players that logs appreciable time in next Saturday's preseason finale against the Texans.

Aug 21, 2021 8:34 PM EST

Makes long-awaited return

Howard (Achilles) secured his only target for 15 yards in the Buccaneers' 19-14 preseason loss to the Bengals on Saturday night.

Analysis: Howard's one grab in his first taste of game action since Week 4 of last season was particularly timely, as it came on a third down during the Buccaneers' second drive, one that would ultimately culminate in a Ke'Shawn Vaughn touchdown run. Howard seemed to pass his first in-game test without any setbacks after putting in solid work over the first couple weeks of camp, and he could therefore be due for a boost in workload in the Buccaneers' second preseason game against the Titans on Saturday.

Aug 15, 2021 10:41 PM EST

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