Texans Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton has liked what he’s seen of Howard so far and expects more to come.
Pep Hamilton met the media on Thursday for his weekly presser and shared praise and excitement for TE OJ Howard, who signed with the team shortly after the final cuts of training camp.
Hamilton likes the flexibility Howard gives the offense both from his skill set and the types of formations they can run with him:
“It really helps us, I think, as a unit to be able to have multiple personnel groupings that we can use. We were able to go from 13 personnel to four wide (receivers). At times we felt like, from the standpoint of the opponent, we weren’t sure how much they had planned for both of those personnel groupings. I’m sure if they did their history report, they knew that multiple tight ends were something that we would feature at some point in the game. We were excited to see O.J. (Howard) go out and make some plays for us, some big plays, catch two touchdowns, and we feel good about the overall depth and talent that we have in our tight end group.”
Howard suffered a torn Achilles in Week 4 of the 2020 season and missed the rest of the year. Last season, Howard was buried on the depth chart behind Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate as he worked his way back from the injury. Hamilton discussed how he knew Howard was past his injury and ready to be a contributor:
“First off, you have to be able to play without the ball, regardless of what position you play as a skill player in our offense. We wanted somebody that was a willing and able blocker that could also, at times, release from the line of scrimmage, run routes, and make the plays downfield. He was able to do that in the first game as a Texan.”
Hamilton was happy with the impact Howard made Week 1 and expects him to be a bigger part of the offense as he acclimates further to the offense:
“He spent a lot of time with our tight ends coach, coach Tim Berbenich. It was good to see that it really didn’t slow down or limit our ability to get to the plays that we felt like we needed to get to in those situations where he was on the field. It’s still a work in progress. He’s going to continue to work to acclimate himself to our system and to all of the things we want to do moving forward as an offensive unit.”
Howard had 2 receptions for 38 yards and 2 touchdowns in his first game with the Texans. With TE Brevin Jordan missing practice Thursday after being a limited participant Wednesday due to an ankle injury, Howard could see more time this Sunday when Houston takes on the Broncos in Denver.