Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J.Howard met with the media Monday, via Zoom, after the first padded practice of training camp. He had quite a few interesting things to say. During the press conference Howard mentioned that the chemistry he’s begun to build with Tom Brady started in the offseason. Saying, “he does a lot of teaching. I think a lot of the guys, myself, we’re all on the same page because of some of the things he teach.”
Brady and Howard seem to already have a strong connection in practice. Howard has been the beneficiary of some nice touchdown grabs while running routes during walkthroughs. Brady, ever the teacher, has told him to make sure his “shoulders square” while running and advice like “catch it on your hip.” Meaning don’t turn around while running your route looking for the ball as it will slow you down. Run the route the way it’s supposed to be ran and Brady will put it in a spot only he can catch it.
I asked Howard how Brady has commanded this offense and how has it changed from years past, his response,
“When he speaks, everyone listens. That’s the type of leadership ability that he has. Like I said, he does a lot of coaching. The thing about it is, he coaches up everyone at one time. He likes certain routes ran certain ways and when guys can listen and we can get the job done and stay on the same page that he’s on, he can trust [us] and make that throw. [He can] make a throw that he may not see 100 percent clearly, but he should expect you to be in the position that he’s always been telling us about over and over again. I think when he does that, it sticks with you. It gets in the heads of all the receivers and tight ends, and we’re always on the same page. That’s just a different type of leadership that I see from Tom.”
Bruce Arians has had high praise for Howard as well. Speaking of the positive influence Brady and Rob Gronkowski has had on his confidence. “When you’ve got a guy like Gronkowski and Brady telling you you’re good, you’re probably pretty good. I think that’s helped. He’s playing really, really well right now.”
If Brady and Howard can continue to build that relationship and chemistry during training camp, I think we can expect big things from Howard this season. Flashes of what he showed his rookie year and what made him a first round pick.