For the last several years, the positions of the tight end and wide receiver have been comfortably stocked with what could be described as studs.
The Bad Boys
This year’s tight end position was especially strong in talent and numbers. O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate, Tanner Hudson, and Antony Auclair supply two above-average players, and two quality players for depth. Coming into the season, the position looked set, and strong.
As the season began to progress, it was obvious that Howard just wasn’t getting the ball as he had in his first couple of seasons. When the occasion did present itself, it seemed like Howard wasn’t playing full speed or was hampered somewhat. Eventually, Howard hit the inactive state with a Hamstring injury and Brate, over the last few games, had been dinged up and playing through it the best as he can. In the last game against the Seahawks, he was active, but only in on 11 snaps. He was not targeted. Hudson and Auclair both had two targets apiece.
When asked about having Howard and Brate both injured/banged up in the Seattle game and if it affected the game plan, Arians had this to say:
“No, not at all. We used a tackle at times. Josh Wells went in and did some good things in the run game. Antony Auclair, I thought, played a heck of a ball game. Cam sucked it up and gave us some snaps. Tanner Hudson, I thought, had a chance for another touchdown. I’ve seen him catch that ball every time in practice, and he didn’t pull it down. O.J. should be ready to roll this week, and we should get him back.”
You almost get the feeling Howard’s return could also be his coming out party for 2019. Let’s hope so; because it’s hard seeing so much talent lining up around the ball, and only Evans and Godwin getting most of the touches. Here’s to hoping the tight end position becomes a plus for this team again. Go Bucs!!