The Bucs primarily worked on rebuilding the defense in last week’s NFL Draft.

And rightfully so. With an offense that was one of the best in the NFL at moving the football(3rd in the league in total offense) and scoring points in 2018(24.8 points a game avg.) that side of the ball isn’t concerning for Bruce Arians and his staff.

A big reason for that has been the past few drafts that saw the additions of quarterback Jameis Winston, wide receiver Mike Evans, and a weapon that Bryon Leftwich thinks will keep opposing team’s up late – tight end O.J. Howard.

Bucs OC Byron Leftwich

“Man, I’ve never seen guys like that,” Leftwich said last Thursday when speaking to the media. “It’s hard to be around guys that can do what O.J. can do. He’s very – there’s not a lot of those human beings walking around on earth. Trust me, because everybody is looking for him. Everybody is looking for the next O.J. Howard. He’s a young guy in this process, but what he can do being that big, being able to run it’s a matchup nightmare for defenses.”

While the Bucs 2019 opponents should be losing sleep trying to find ways to defend Howard, Leftwich admitted he also has some angst when trying to figure out the best way to utilize Howard’s special talents.

“For me, I’m just trying to figure him out too. I’m trying to put him in positions, put him in some easy predicaments, put him in some tough predicaments, so I can see how many different ways I can use him right now. And that’s the thought process with everybody. Just put them in some unique, different situations that they may have never been in, just some thoughts that we can do, because of the talent level on this team and just try and put them in the position to always win.

“Trust me, it’s good to see a guy that big run around the field and be able to run the routes and catch the ball the way he can do all those things.”


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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]


  1. I like what I’m hearing here. The problem I had with Koetter is that it seemed like the offense did very little motioning. They would just line up and hike the ball. You create mismatches with shifting to see what the defense is playing. Good stuff. God I can’t wait till training camp starts. Go bucs

    Rating: +27. From 27 votes.
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  2. I agree Koetter wasn’t good at several things and he was quite predictable at times for sure.

    I’m glad they kept Brate if Howard goes down…also if they can find way to have two tied end sets and both on field even occasionally it will cause concerns for defenses. From what I’ve heard they don’t typically run lot two tied end sets, but with two pass catching TEs….

    Rating: +16. From 18 votes.
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  3. Want to know how to use Howard, go and watch some tape of Brees and Graham. JMO.

    Rating: +9. From 13 votes.
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  4. fredster, I’m think your theory of Koetter might have some merit and ties in to what he told me during his radio call in show when I asked him why we didn’t see more hard counts or cadence changes from Winston during a game.
    His reply surprised me when he said he believed in just lining up our best 11 against their best 11 and seeing who won. Huh, what.
    Does that mean when you see 12 defenders on the line your don’t get a play off fast to penalize the other team for being slow or stupid.
    How many QB’s have taken advantage of McCoy over the years causing him to jump off sides and keeping him a split second from getting a good start on a pass rush.
    Apparently line up our best 11 against their best 11 didn’t include keeping their team off balance and guessing on the snap count and out OL last year needed all the help they could get.

    Rating: +17. From 17 votes.
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  5. Great coaches figure out how to utilize/maximize the talent on the roster. Could care less whether BA has historically run two TE sets. With Brate’s production and Howard’s ability, get both of those guys on the field at the same time. Add to that same formation Evans, Godwin and Perriman and that’s a pretty scary match up for any D.

    Figure it out guys…

    Rating: +12. From 12 votes.
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    Buck Ass Bob what if ???

    To all those saying how bad the coaching was last year and offence Coordinator and the firing Todd Monken
    If you divide number of games Fitz played 7 into 16 and times
    by 16 had he started every game
    Bucs would have had 3rd best offence in league yards
    with 2nd in points .
    If you look at offence Leftwich ran last year you would see it was last in yards and last in points
    So be in a hurry for these new coaches.
    Todd Monken had Winston improving last year also.
    These new coordinators are total morons

    Rating: -18. From 20 votes.
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  7. Howard is awesome. But if we keep McCoy, does this mean Brate is trade bait? How can Bucs keep McCoy and sign the Rooks?

    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
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  8. Good point Fredster but even more potent in the two tight end set is Howard and Auclair because both of them are good blockers, big targets, and can catch passes. Auclair also can chip block to stop speed rushing TEs which are D. Smith’s kriptonite. As to shifting that was used to top advantage when Chucky was our Coach and I hope our new offense will too.

    Rating: +8. From 8 votes.
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  9. DumbAssBob, Leftowich, who I am not in love with, had a rookie QB and a very porous offensive line.
    He also wasn’t promoted to the OC position until almost midway through the season. The offense did improve under his guidance.
    You know absolutely squat about football, even for a fan.

    Rating: +18. From 18 votes.
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  10. Go ahead and defend the offense of coordinator leftwich you guys keep defending the management that runs the worst team in the NFL over the last 10 years sooner or later you’re going to realize you’re on the wrong side of the argument. The Bucs fired one of the best offensive coordinators who was making progress with Winston to hire the worst with Leftwich it’s a nightmare for Howard who I think has the potential to be one of the best tight ends in the business but that won’t happen until this group is all gone

    Rating: -9. From 9 votes.
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  11. Howard will be the new Gronk, meaning “when healthy” he will be unstoppable but his speed is better than Gronk’s. The injuries have worried me, hope he can stay healthy during the whole season. Just imagine him being healthy for the full 16 games and the mismatches he can create alone, hope the O-line and run game can step up this season because looking at this years schedule we are gonna need all the help we can get. Oh as most of you know Defense helps too, js.

    Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
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  12. The Arizona Cardinals had the quarterbacks that were developed by Leftwich he was quarterback coach for several years . Left which is responsible for the quarterback that was in Arizona that was last place. Only Leftwich as quarterback coach and offensive coordinator is responsible for the Arizona offense last year no one else

    Rating: -8. From 8 votes.
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  13. Bob I just feel sorry for you sometimes. If you actually research instead of just making things up. You would know that Byron was a QB coach in 2017 when they were and 8-8 team and was down to the 3rd string QB and Drew Stanton. It didn’t help that their running back David Johnson broke his wrist in the season opener. He was only a QB coach for one year and in his 2nd year (2018) he was promoted to OC half way through the season. These are not excuses these are facts man.

    Rating: +6. From 8 votes.
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  14. OJ Howard is definitely a matchup nightmare. I think there’s a greater than 50% chance he cracks 1000 yards this season receiving if he can stay healthy a full 16 games. Last year he averaged about 56 yards a game, so if he kept up just the same level of production over 16 games he would be right around 900. I think we can expect a slight improvement in his per-game statistics just due to his development. As long as he stays healthy I think we got ourselves the first 1000 yard receiving season for a tight end in Buccaneers history! (I could be wrong on that but the only guys I suspected could have done it were Jimmie Giles and Kellen Winslow Jr, and neither did, so I believe he would be the first).

    Rating: +5. From 5 votes.
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  15. The facts leftwich as OC last 8 games scored 108 points about half of what most teams scored last place NFL he was OC for worst offence in NFL for last 10 years…………………. he owns it.

    Rating: -3. From 3 votes.
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  16. Youngry, you are correct. No Bucs tight end has ever had over 1000 receiving yards in one season. Giles had 786 yds in 1981, and Winslow had 884 yds in 2009. I agree with you when you said OJ Howard should be our first……..he needs to stay healthy.

    Go Bucs!!

    Rating: +6. From 6 votes.
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