Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was short and sweet on Thursday – with most of the questions revolving around the lack of production from tight end O.J. Howard –when he stepped up to the podium before the Bucs headed to London for their Week 6 matchup with the Carolina Panthers.

“[Howard’s time] is coming,” Leftwich said. “It’ll come within this system and it’ll happen naturally. We want it to happen organically and I just have to continue putting him in position to make plays. I’ll do a better job of putting him in different positions so he can make more plays but we want it to happen organically. We’re always trying to put every guy in position so we won’t anything more or less. I think it’ll happen as the offense evolves and we get a better understanding of what we’re trying to do week in and week out.”

The Bucs’ first-round pick in 2017 was able to haul in four of his five targets in Week 1, but his lone drop went into the hands of a defender for an interception and he also fumbled a third-down pass in the red zone, turning possession over to San Francisco.

Over the past four weeks he’s been held to just seven catches for 109 yards, including a catchless performance against the Panthers the last time the two teams played in Week 2. While he’s been utilized far more than fans would like offensively, he’s been on the field for at least 75 percent of the team’s offensive plays each week due to his blocking ability.

“It gets tough sometimes when you’re playing with Chris [Godwin] and Mike [Evans], right?” Leftwich said. “I want the ball to always go where it’s supposed to go organically. I don’t want Jameis [Winston] to get into this thing where he’s forcing balls here and there, I’ll just do a better job, from a design standpoint, to put these guys in better positions.”

Leftwich was also asked about Evans, who was held to without a catch against New Orleans this past weekend. The first-year play-caller talked about what the Saints did to keep him under control.

“We’ve just got to combat what they did,” Leftwich said. “They just said hey, we’re going to double him wherever he’s at on the field and I can do a better job there also. He’s too good of a football player to go through a football game without a catch to be honest with you but we’ll be better. We’ll be better in all phases of our game.”

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22 COMMENTS

  1. All I know about organically is you pay more for those veggie’s in the store because they use real shit on them instead of fake shit.

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    Rating: +9. From 9 votes.
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  2. Ummm we’re going into game 6, when exactly is his time coming??

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    Rating: +13. From 13 votes.
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  3. Problem with Saints game and getting ANYONE the ball was quite obvious. Winston had zero time on most drop backs. Hoping two new guys on right side that aren’t injured will play better than one with broken arm and one that’s too old with calf injury. Lol. Will see though….

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    Rating: +16. From 18 votes.
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  4. To put into words the lack of production/targets for OJ Howard, I’ll quote the great Chazz Michael Michaels, “It’s mind bottling.”

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    Rating: +5. From 5 votes.
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  5. To play devil’s advocate, if you want Jameis to force throws to someone, see 2015-2018 under Dirk Koetter. And see Matt Ryan in 2019 under Dirk Koetter. Leading the season in interceptions and turnovers.

    That being said, get it the fuck together already.

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    Rating: +8. From 8 votes.
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  6. Is that possible with you calling 5 running plays in a row as a habit? Quick slant in there somewhere maybe? It’s as fast as a hand off and it’s behind the blitzing linebacker who just vacated that space.

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    Rating: +6. From 6 votes.
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  7. It’s great to have the best receiving group in the league (Evans, Godwin, Howard, Brate – that’s 4 as good as anybody else has)….but that comes at a cost of neglecting other positions.

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    Rating: +3. From 3 votes.
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  8. With arguably the best TE duo in the league they are clearly an after thought in this offense. Howard spends most of his time blocking. If he’s the match-up nightmare we’ve been hearing about since we wasted a first round pick on him, why not use him? With the right side of the O line injured, my guess is nothing will happen “organically” for a while.

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    Rating: +11. From 11 votes.
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    • Organic or not, it’s all fertilizer.

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      Rating: +6. From 6 votes.
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      • Amen!

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        Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
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  9. In essence what your saying is if he’s open he’d get the ball. He’s definitely not getting open like he was last year and doesn’t look as fast.

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  10. Week 6 and he is was fricking past due. TE Screen, TE Slant, TE out wide opposite Evans, TE anything ! My biggest frustration this year other than the secondary is the lack of targets for the Juice. It was a total waste of a 1st round pick if this is how we are going to use him.
    Hopefully Dean and White coming back offset the loss of the right side of the O-line being out. Is 9 am to early to drink a beer Sunday? GO BUCS

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    Rating: +6. From 6 votes.
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    • Try 6:am on the West Coast… A little Hennessy with some coffee chasers and Fat One… Here’s to hoping I make it to the 1pm game… LOL

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      Rating: +4. From 6 votes.
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  11. I think what Leftwich is trying to say is as they all learn and progress through the playbook, giving everyone a chance to make each players designed plays work against an opponent, they will all figure out what works well and what doesn’t. True, OJ hasn’t been offered as many targets yet this year. Could be that’s because of the poor OLine play as someone mentioned already, and he’s needed on the line. Could be punishment for the F-ups in game 1. Who knows. I believe that this staff knows what they have talent wise in him so they will definitely make sure they get him involved before he loses interest.

    When the Bucs win we praise. When they lose we bash. Either have faith in the process or let it go. This is not a 1-year plan. I expect big things NEXT year, but this year I give them a mulligan til they get it all figured out. Hey, look who they’ve beaten already and tell me this team still sucks. Bugs and kinks, that’s all it is.

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    Rating: +5. From 9 votes.
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  12. Howard is fine; I think some of you have too much high expectations at the tight end spot. He was a good pick and he fell to us because other teams had other issues they wanted to address. We did too, but we didn’t want to pass up on him; I can understand that thinking.

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    Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
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    • Any number of TE’s in the league dominate – Olsen from Carolina comes to mind. Have never seen Howard turn in that kind of performance – why?

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      Rating: +3. From 3 votes.
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  13. It’s really not that difficult, just give OJ slants and curl routes to run. A guy that big and fast is a match up nightmare for most LBs and Safeties. Get him in space and let Jameis eat up the middle.

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    Rating: +3. From 3 votes.
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  14. I will believe it when I see it. My confidence in Leftwich is low, our offense is significantly worse than last years. BA himself has never utilized TE effectively.

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    Rating: +3. From 7 votes.
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  15. Leftwich has to learn his players as well! It’s not just the player’s realizing the offense it’s Leftwich learning who can do what and calling plays to their strengths! Help Jameis out by having some 3 step drops. Put Jameis in the hurry up and in the shotgun to nullify the defense tearing his azz up! As been said, where r the slants, curls, the quick hit stuff? U can’t tell me at 6’5” or 6’6” that Evans, OJ, Brate dragging across 10-15 yards won’t make a huge target for Jameis. I still don’t understand the constant running up the middle? Do we ever have a toss sweep to the right to RoJo? If we as fans watching on TV can predict a run up the middle, I suppose the defense can too?! Leftwich needs to start calling a better game that plays to the strengths of the talent… I’m just saying!

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    Rating: +7. From 7 votes.
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  16. Leftwich on the offense: “I think it’ll happen as the offense evolves and we get a better understanding of what we’re trying to do week in and week out.”

    Shouldn’t you already know what you’re trying to do every week?

    What I see you do is have success running the ball, then you start calling obvious running plays and they get stuffed. Then you abandon the run game and go with the pass, thereby stopping the clock so the other team has more time to dismantle the Bucs secondary.

    But hey, you have to do what Goodell wants with his new proliferation of high scoring offenses, and nail biting finishes agenda.

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    Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
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  17. If Ariens still knows how to call plays, please do so.

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  18. If they’re not going to use him correctly, then there’s no need to keep him and should trade him now. He and Brate would flourish in New England! Give us a bunch of 1st, 2nd, & 3rd rounders over the new 2-3yrs as those picks will be low.

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    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
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