Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich’s offenses in the past have always included weapons such as Larry Fitzgerald, T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Andrew Luck, Ted Ginn, and Michael Floyd, but do you see a tight end in that scenario?
Tampa Bay has a lot of talent at the tight end position with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, but former head coach Dirk Koetter was big on using at least two tight ends in his offense. The Cardinals did have a talented tight end in Jermaine Gresham, but hardly used him. However, when you have Larry Fitzgerald, I suppose that you could use him more effectively than a star tight end.
The Buccaneers have, yet to find that franchise Jimmie Giles type tight end. Arians and Leftwich are going to have to get the tight ends more involved in the passing game and O.J. Howard could become the next big thing at the tight end position in Tampa.
Other than Brate in recent years, the Bucs haven’t had stability at tight end in a long time, aside from Dave Moore, who is now a color analyst on the Bucs radio network with Gene Deckerhoff. The Buccaneers could also draft another tight end, not in the first round, but the second or third round would work out, especially if they could draft Irv Smith, Jr. from Alabama.
The Buccaneers also have another tight end in Antony Auclair who contributed with seven receptions and no touchdowns last season, and Donnie Ernsberger as well, but he did not have any receptions last season. Tanner Hudson is another on the roster at tight end, but has not contributed yet.
Despite the list of solid, tight ends that the Buccaneers proudly boast, will Arians and Leftwich be able to change their play calling style to accommodate these talents? Arians is a master at his craft and his protégé, Leftwich, is showing signs that he is quickly becoming a specialist himself. I would expect the offensive minds to come together, allowing for out tight ends, Howard and Brate, to continue moving forward with business as usual.