Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs journal: Rookie O.J. Howard has good memories of Cardinals' field

TAMPA — The Bucs have a rough recent history at the Cardinals' University of Phoenix Stadium, losing 40-7 there last year, but one Tampa Bay player has great memories of playing on that field.

Rookie TE O.J. Howard had a breakout game in the national championship game against Clemson in January 2016, catching five passes for 208 yards and a pair of long touchdowns — 53 and 51 yards — in Alabama's 45-40 win.

"It was incredible — loud, nice field, grass was perfect," Howard said. "Just an amazing atmosphere in that stadium. Coming into it, we knew a lot of the defenses (Clemson was) going to run, and (offensive coordinator Lane) Kiffin just did a great job of setting up plays for the tight ends to be successful. They came out in those defenses, we called those plays, and I executed."

Howard has had a quiet first month in the NFL, with four catches for 92 yards in his first four games, most notably a 58-yard touchdown in a home win against the Giants. He said the experience he has gained has helped him immensely as he adjusts to the NFL game.

"I'm just getting more comfortable every day, coming to work and practicing hard," Howard said. "The little detail things, I'm chomping those things up and allowing myself to play faster."

Better late

WR Adam Humphries has stepped up his play late in games this year. He has nine catches for 125 yards in the fourth quarter, more than his production in the first three quarters combined (eight for 82). Humphries had a 38-yard catch to set up a touchdown as the Bucs rallied to beat the Giants and a 20-yard catch in the final minute as they tried to catch the Patriots but fell short.

In all, he ranks eighth in the NFL in fourth-quarter catches and yards, leading the Bucs in both categories.

"He shows up every game," QB Jameis Winston said Thursday. "If you watch a game, you're going to see Adam Humphries having a long run, breaking a tackle, making a fantastic catch. That's just what he is. He's a baller."

No change

The Bucs' injury report was unchanged, with four key defensive players — linebackers Lavonte David (ankle) and Kwon Alexander (hamstring) and safeties T.J. Ward (hip) and S Keith Tandy (hip) — practicing but with limited participation. They remain question marks for Sunday.

The Bucs were again without DE Ryan Russell (shoulder), and if he can't play, they would have only four healthy ends, which might force them to promote one end from the practice squad.

Contact Greg Auman at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Bucs journal: Rookie O.J. Howard has good memories of Cardinals' field 10/12/17 [Last modified: Thursday, October 12, 2017 8:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Buccaneers WR Mike Evans previews 2017-18 NBA season, predicts Warriors will be dethroned


    Tampa isn't the greatest basketball market. In fact, it's just about the worst.

    Mike Evans and Jameis Winston celebrate after connecting for a touchdown against the Bears in September. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  4. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start


    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  5. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues


    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]