The Buffalo Bills only had one tight end active for some games in 2021 then they went out this offseason and signed O.J. Howard to pair with Dawson Knox. Under new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, there has been some thought that the team would go more two-TE sets, and Knox and Howard would fill those roles with help from fullback/H-back Reggie Gilliam. Over the last week, Tommy Sweeney may have played his way into the conversation for a roster spot backing up those three players.
Most initial roster projections had Sweeney on the outside looking in. The former seventh-rounder didn’t really add value on the field and he was used so sparingly, it didn’t make sense. He had nine catches last year, and six of them came when Knox was out with a broken hand. He had a slow start to training camp, too.
Through the first part of camp, Quintin Morris was the man staking his claim to the spot and drawing praise. Morris was undrafted in 2021 and spent the season on the team’s practice squad, and was physical as a blocker throughout training camp. He added some contested catches to the mix, as well, prompting some speculation he could play his way onto the final 53. He had a great practice on Wednesday, per multiple beat reporters. Sal Cappacio had this glowing review of one play:
“First it was quarterback Case Keenum firing a pass to Quintin Morris as he was running across the field,” wrote Capaccio. “The pass was a bit high and behind Morris, but the second-year player somehow was able to bring it in as he jumped and turned his body with his back basically parallel to the ground. Morris then fell to the grass in that same position. There were several ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ from the crowd as it happened.”
This week, it’s been Sweeney who has been consistently rising to the challenge. On Sunday, he showed the ability to make contested catches. On Monday, an acrobatic catch drew the attention of multiple beat reporters. On Wednesday, Thad Brown of WROC said “Sweeney had a great day” while discussing the difficult catches the TE made. NYUP’s Matt Parrino devoted several paragraphs to the tight ends on Wednesday. Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic wrote up an entire section to Sweeney’s play, noting he was a glue guy in the locker room, too:
“The first [great catch] came on a throw well behind him as he ran toward the left sideline. Sweeney contorted his body against his momentum and used his hands to pluck the ball away from an oncoming defender, which was easily the best catch of the day to that point. But he topped himself later,” wrote Buscaglia. “Sweeney brought in an outstanding toe-tapping, over-the-shoulder catch along the left sideline of the end zone that required excellent concentration.”
Morris and Sweeney could both likely get to the practice squad if they were released, but the way they’ve been playing through camp, it’s becoming more and more likely one of them is going to be on the 53-man roster with Sweeney in the lead heading into preseason contests.