O.J. Howard Dodges the Rookie Pitfall
The life of a rookie player in the NFL is all about learning and adjusting to any situation, where some players find themselves hitting the rookie “wall” and never picking up steam again. O.J. Howard is not among those players.
For Howard, if there was ever any reason to suspect that he hit the wall then he hasn’t shown it at all because his progress hasn’t slowed down at all with the season dragging on in its final few weeks. In fact, instead of slowing down he’s actually starting being more productive as of late. None of this is a big surprise for Howard, since he has made it a point to improve his gameplay with every passing week.
When asked, Howard simply stated that everything was going as he figured it would, and that there were a lot of learning experiences still going on and he needed to take them all in. He added that every week something new would occur and it was up to him to perform on the field and cut back on making the same mistakes over and over.
Howard is a former Alabama tight end who was the 19th overall selection in this year’s draft, his size, speed and route-running skills being a major contributor to that. In his first nine games, he only caught 14 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns, most of which happened in one game. However, in the last four weeks he managed 11 more catches with 175 yards and another two touchdowns, making him one of the better tight ends in the league over the last months.
Howard has managed to become a very efficient target for the Bucs, bringing in a ton of receiving yards in the last month despite doing so with the lowest number of targets in that time frame. Although he didn’t have many catches earlier on in the season, he did manage to average 16.2 yards per reception at the time, and currently he has the highest receiving average for tight ends in the last month, at 15.9 yards catch.
In short, Howard’s rookie season has been quite productive but according to him he just wants to continue and get better.