Tight ends struggle to produce

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The Buccaneers are 2-3 heading into week 6 of the NFL season. That’s five games under their belt, five games to see the Bruce Arians/Byron Leftwich offense at work. The running game looks vastly improved. The quarterback play looks much more stable. The offensive line, well let’s address that at a later date. The tight end position is the great unknown.

The Stats

O.J. Howard has 11 catches for 141 yards, that’s a tad over two catches per game. Cameron Brate has 10 catches for 72 yards and one TD.

The Arians/Leftwich offense has never had the tight end position as a focal point. Then again, they’ve never had two tight ends like Howard and Brate. Quarterback Jameis Winston used to have great chemistry with Brate, now it seems Brate struggles to even get on the field.

Potential Not Realized

Howard looked to be the next phenom when the Buccaneers selected him 19th overall in the 2017 draft. A slow start to his career was widely seen as an issue more so with the current coaching staff rather than his play. The hiring of Arians was seen as a chance for Howard’s abilities to be used correctly. But here we are heading into Week 6 and Howard is on pace to have his worst statistical season as a pro.

The question remains, why is it that the Buccaneers have two great tight ends with very little production? Are they both overrated? Have they not fully picked up the new system? Could it be something as simple as they both struggle to block when asked?

Summary

Whatever the answer is something needs to change. This team is horrible at protecting the quarterback. These two tight ends struggle with blocking and don’t seem to be a very big part of the passing game. So what’s the solution? Like it or not the Buccaneers should look into shopping one of these two. The logical choice out of the two is Brate. His high salary might hurt in finding a trade partner but it is doable. I hear there’s a team with a tackle rumored to be on the trading block. Does Washington need a tight end?

 

 

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