Howard: "I'm Glad I Don't Have To Make That Decision"

It remains to be seen what Tampa Bay will do once Jameis Winston returns from a three-game suspension, but O.J. Howard is glad he doesn't have to decide

Tiki and Tierney
September 21, 2018 - 6:03 pm

USA Today Images


When Jameis Winston received a three-game suspension to begin the year, it was easy to assume that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would struggle, especially with games at New Orleans and against Philadelphia in Weeks 1-2.

Well, the Buccaneers (2-0) beat the Saints, beat the Eagles, and can improve to 3-0 with a win over the Steelers (0-1-1) on Monday Night Football.

That’s what happens when your backup quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, completes 78.7 percent of his passes for 819 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception in two games.

“Fitz is the ultimate competitor,” Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard said on Tiki and Tierney. “I think you can see that on Sundays. The passion that he has whenever he throws a touchdown or makes a big run or whether someone else scores, he’s always right there first to congratulate you. He just understands the game so well that you love him and just his personality on top of that makes him an outstanding guy and an even better teammate.”

One must wonder what the Bucs will do when Winston returns, especially if they beat Pittsburgh. Would they actually bench Fitzpatrick?

“I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision,” Howard said. “I’m just sitting back and I’m going to let them decide on that one. That’s out of my hands.”

To Winston’s credit, he took his suspension in stride and did not let it become a distraction – for himself or the team.

“It wasn't too much of a distraction for us at all,” Howard said. “Jameis came to work everyday. He worked hard. We just went out there every day and worked, no matter who was at quarterback, and I think now it’s showing that our team just stayed focused the whole time.”

Kickoff from Raymond James Stadium is slated for 8:15 p.m. ET.