Why Bills TE Tommy Sweeney is the right complement for Dawson Knox


As part of the Buffalo Bills’ final roster cuts to get to their 53-man roster, one of the more surprising roster choices was in the tight end room. The Bills decided to cut Jacob Hollister, opting instead to keep 2019 seventh-round draft pick, Tommy Sweeney.

Sweeney made the roster in 2019, catching eight passes for 114 yards as a rookie, but contracted COVID in 2020, and developed myocarditis as a side effect. Because of this, Sweeney opted out of the 2020 season. However, Sweeney was ready to come back in 2021, and while keeping an unproven player in Sweeney over a veteran like Hollister was surprising to many, he may be the perfect complement to Dawson Knox.

Sweeney spoke to the media during training camp, talking about his return to football after being diagnosed with myocarditis.

“I feel good, OTA’s were really good to get my feet wet, start moving again,” Sweeney said. “I stayed here all offseason and the strength and conditioning staff was great. It was a few months off, but it’s like riding a bike – took a little bit, but once you get back into it you’re back in. Thankfully we had OTAs and I was able to get rolling then and get back into it, and I feel good.”

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Sweeney also said that he was cleared to return to football activities a week after the AFC Championship game against the Chiefs.

Coming out of college, one of Sweeney’s best traits was his consistent, reliable hands. Sweeney was not asked to be a playmaker during his time at Boston College; he was a reliable run blocker who could run solid routes, find soft spots in zone coverages, and be the “security blanket” for their quarterback.

Where Knox is an exciting athlete with high upside, Sweeney is a high floor, low ceiling player who wins with technique and reliability. While Sweeney did not put up any gaudy numbers in the preseason, he did what he was supposed to do. In fact, it’s what makes his comeback in 2021 that much more impressive.

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Going back to the 2019 preseason, Sweeney is doing the same thing – blocking well in line and in space, catching cleanly, and doing exactly what he’s supposed to do to keep the offense moving and on schedule. Taking a year away from football, recovering from COVID-19 and learning how to live and play professional football with a heart condition is not as easy as Tommy Sweeney makes it look. He looks steady, poised, and calm.

Dawson Knox is a very talented and athletic tight end. He has size, the ability to make plays after the catch, and he can block in space. Knox does struggle with being consistent from game to game, especially with catching the ball.

This is why Sweeney is the perfect complement to Knox.

Knox can break a big play with any catch he makes, breaking tackles, delivering strong stiff arms to put defenders into the ground. This is not what Sweeney brings to the table. And that’s a good thing. Sweeney brings the steady hands, solid blocking, and smart route running that is needed at the tight end position. More so, Sweeney also contributes on special teams, which is something the Bills have emphasized throughout Sean McDermott’s tenure with the BIlls.

Reliability is necessary for any offense to stay on schedule, and while the Bills have plenty of consistency and strength from the wide receivers, the tight ends are lacking in that area. Sweeney can bring that aspect to the Bills offense as they look to make a super bowl run in 2021.