Bucs’ HC Bruce Arians ruled out TE OJ Howard for Sunday’s game against the Titans due to a hamstring injury.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 25, 2019
Howard has had a rough start to the season as he has been under utilized through the first six games - thirteen receptions for 176 yards and no touchdowns - and will now have to miss a game where many believed he could begin to shoulder more of the offensive workload.
The Titans are ranked 29th in the NFL against the tight end so I would expect to see Cameron Brate utilized more in the offense this week, given Howard’s absence. Tight end Tanner Hudson is also expected to get some looks as he will likely be active on game day for the first time this season.
Howard’s absence this weekend is also adding fuel to the trade speculation surrounding the former first round pick. Although the Buccaneers maintained they weren’t interested in shipping Howard out of town, the sudden appearance of the injury on Thursday then being ruled out on Friday have given some a reason to pause and think that this is a Jalen Ramsey situation - rule a player inactive with an “injury” so they don’t actually get hurt and destroy their trade value.
Of course, that is pure speculation at this point, but certainly something to keep an eye on with the trade deadline coming up on Tuesday, October 29.