Normally when a football team spends a Top 20 pick at a position it means they aren’t happy with the current starter. First round picks rarely sit the bench and new Bucs tight end O.J.Howard will be on the field this fall more often than not.
But the Bucs organization is far from unhappy with 2016 starter Cam Brate, and there is no animosity from the Ivy League standout who said recently the addition of Howard doesn’t affect his job.
“Not really. I kind of just try to focus on myself, but it’s been awesome having O.J. in the tight end room and out on the field with us,” Brate said. “He brings a lot to the table, a lot to our offense. He is doing an unbelievable job of picking up on everything. You guys see him out there. He is making plays every day. So, it’s been a lot of fun playing with him.”
TE Cameron Brate – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Brate who emerged as one of the better tight ends in the league last season after recording 57 catches for 660 yards and eight touchdowns, says he and Howard are already bonding.
“It’s a strong relationship, probably one word is strong,” Brate said. “I try to help him out. Any time you come into a new offensive system, there is new terminology, small nuances in the offense that are hard to pick up on. So, me and Luke [Stocker] have been trying to take him under our wing I guess you would say and kind of helping him with that stuff. He’s done a great job, he’s always staying after, asking us questions and he’s been a great teammate so far.”
After going from undrafted rookie out of Harvard in 2014, to an NFL starter, Brate said each year he feels more and more comfortable, partly because of his quarterback.
“Yeah, I mean, it helps to be confident,” Brate said. “Obviously, kind of with the year I was able to have last year, just looking to kind of build off of that and use what I learned last year, the successes and the failures, learn from those too. So, I think collectively as an offense, we’re all playing pretty confidently. It starts with Jameis [Winston]. He does a great job inspiring us every day. I think overall as an offense, we all play with a lot of confidence.”