The Buccaneers have placed tight end O.J. Howard on IR, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). The tight end suffered foot and ankle injuries in Sunday’s 38-35 loss to the Giants and those issues will require extra time to heal.
With that, Howard’s second season as a pro will end with 34 catches for 565 yards and five 5 touchdowns. On the plus side, the injury is not expected to hurt him in the long run, so he should be ready to participate in practices next summer.
The Howard injury should mean an uptick in targets for fellow tight end Cameron Brate. Brate has shined in the past, but he has recorded just six grabs for 45 yards and no touchdowns in the past three games.
Head coach Dirk Koetter badly needs Brate to step up in Howard’s absence. The team’s 3-7 record has Koetter on the hot seat and he’ll need a strong finish in order to save his job.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.