Howard (ankle) said Thursday that he is a full-go moving forward, Scott Smith of the Buccaneers' official site reports. Howard ended his rookie season on injured reserve after suffering a right ankle injury in a Week 15 loss to the Falcons. However, after four months of rehab, the former Alabama standout should be a full participant in the rest of the Buccaneers' offseason activities. He finished his rookie year with 26 catches for 432 yards and six touchdowns, and after starter Cameron Brate re-signed with the team this offseason, Howard will likely continue to split reps at tight end this season.
Howard (ankle) should continue to grow in a role that's different from that of teammate Cameron Brate, who recently signed a six-year, $41 million contract that includes $18 million guaranteed, ESPN.com's Jenna Laine reports. When Tampa Bay drafted Howard 19th overall last year, it was easy to envision a scenario in which he'd slowly be worked into the offense before eventually supplanting Brate atop the depth chart. The team instead has carved out separate roles for the two players, with Howard mostly serving as a traditional in-line tight end while Brate operates as an H-back and oversized slot receiver. The Bucs will find ways to keep both on the field at the same time, but it could be a bit of a challenge in an offense that also needs to find snaps for wideouts Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries behind starters Mike Evans and Adam Humphries. Barring a trade to free up the logjam of pass catchers, it's hard to see Howard getting the kind of target volume that's needed for stellar fantasy production. He was extremely efficient with his 39 targets as a rookie, catching 26 for 432 yards (16.6 YPR, 11.1 YPT) and six scores in 14 games. He missed the final two weeks due to an ankle injury, but with no report regarding surgery in the time since, he'll likely be available in April for the start of the offseason program.
The Buccaneers placed Howard (ankle) on injured reserve Wednesday, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. After an abbreviated outing Monday against the Falcons, Howard required a walking boot to keep his right ankle stable. Neither the team nor player has commented on the extent of the injury, but it's clearly severe enough to force a multi-game absence. Howard concludes his rookie campaign with 26 receptions (on 39 targets) for 432 yards and six touchdowns, the latter of which matches the Giants' Evan Engram for the league lead among rookies for receiving touchdowns through Week 15. In his stead, Tampa Bay likely will give Cameron Brate most of the reps at tight end, but Alan Cross and Antony Auclair may also be regulars in the rotation.
Howard (ankle) is expected to be placed on injured reserve this week, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Howard was unable to return to Monday's 24-21 loss to the Falcons after sustaining a right ankle injury that confined him to a walking boot. The Buccaneers will likely have Howard undergo an MRI on Tuesday to determine the extent of the injury, but it sounds like he could be dealing with a serious enough of a sprain to sideline him for the final two games. Cameron Brate, who suffered a knee injury of his own Monday, would see an uptick in snaps at tight end if Howard is shut down for the season.
Howard (ankle) was wearing a walking boot on his right foot after Monday's loss to the Falcons, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Howard raced along the sideline for a 30-yard touchdown in the first half, but sustained the injury as a Falcons' defender attempted to force him out-of-bounds. It was the rookie first-round pick's only catch of the game as he was ruled out shortly thereafter. More specifics should become available on the injury as Howard is evaluated throughout the week.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/09||@New Orleans Saints||5||5.22|
|11||11/18||@New York Giants||32||10.69|
|12||11/25||San Francisco 49ers||18||6.75|
|14||12/09||New Orleans Saints||5||5.22|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||39||26||432||6||19||16.62||75|