Before last season, the Bucs were planning to go heavy with two tight end sets like they did in 2015 and even used 3 tight end formations at times. The Bucs were ready to roll out ASJ and Cam Brate as their primary tight ends to use in their base formation on offense but it all went downhill once ASJ was cut for being arrested for DUI. After the departure of ASJ, the Bucs offense was never really the same as they couldn’t run their full playbook. Instead the Bucs had to run 3 wr sets along with singleback sets which hurt the Bucs ground game and couldn’t get to their playaction sets enough.
Now fast forward to now in which the Bucs have Cameron Brate who is coming off a breakout year and has bulked up to 250lbs and should be a big part of the offense this year. Brate is considered a F-type tight end as he can play in the slot and present mismatches all over the field which he did often last year. However, Brate is not a great blocker so the Bucs needed to find a traditional Y tight end who can play inside and help block to open holes in the running game.
The Bucs got the perfect compliment for Brate in their first round pick OJ Howard who is a true Y tight end and can also play the F as well. With Howard on board, the Bucs can run their real offense and use all their formations but most importantly they can run two tight end sets to create mismatches. Howard was the missing piece, and now the Bucs can be unpredictable and not give away their call to opposing teams.
Howard and Brate have the chance to be one of the better tight end combos in the league this year. The Bucs added weapons in Desean Jackson, Chris Godwin, and rookie back McNichols but the key to everything is Howard. Everyone wonders why coach Koetter was beyond ecstatic about the Howard pick because he knows he can finally run his whole offense now. This offense has the chance to be special, and now the pressure has shifted to the O-line as they are only unit that could mess this up, if they perform like they are capable of, the sky is the limit for this offense. Jameis and company are going to be fun to watch and now we get to see what Koetter can really do with a cabinet full of weapons to deploy against defenses.