Every year when the Buffalo Bills trim their training camp roster down to the regular-season limit of 53, there’s at least one cut that catches you by the surprise.
That wasn’t the case this year because the only name that would qualify for that – tight end o.j. howard – wasn’t really a surprise at all.
Reading: Buffalo bills roster cuts 2021
The other players released were:
- QB matt barkley
- running backs raheem blackshear and duke johnson
- wide receivers isaiah hodgins and tanner gentry
- offensive linemen greg mancz, luke tenuta and alec anderson
- defensive linemen mike love, brandin bryant, kingsley jonathan, prince emily, and c.j. brewer
- linebacker joe giles-harris
- defensive backs nick mccloud and ja’marcus ingram
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The Bills also announced that cornerback Tre’Davious White (knee) and offensive lineman Ike Boettger (Achilles) will start the year on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list meaning they will miss at least the first four games.
Linebacker andre smith is on the suspended list due to his performance-enhancing drug violation. none of those players count against the 53 until they are activated from those lists. and defensive lineman eli ankou was released on an injury deal.
so no, none of the moves that the bills announced on Tuesday were that shocking. General manager Brandon Beane had said before the preseason finale in Carolina that probably 50 of the 53 spots had already been decided, and nearly every reporter who published a projection of the 53-man roster got nearly every player right. /p>
why was oj howard removed from the buffalo bills list?
The writing was on the wall for Howard’s release as far back as the first week of camp at St. John Fisher University when Howard was barely noticeable in practice, and backups Tommy Sweeney and Quintin Morris were making plays when they had the opportunities.
and when preseason games began, once again, outside of the touchdown catch he made in the second quarter of game 2 against denver, howard did almost nothing.
Even more damning, though, is that he was still in all three games in the fourth quarter at a time when the field is usually full of rookies and young veterans finally headed for the waiver wire, not a sixth-year . veteran who signed a nearly fully guaranteed $3.5 million free agent contract for one year.
See also: Where we re going we don t need eyes
This is the second year in a row the Bills have signed a veteran tight end to be the primary backup for Dawson Knox who did not make the team. Last year it was Jacob Hollister who was released and eventually signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he played seven games and caught nine passes for 55 yards.
on july 27, very early in camp, offensive coordinator ken dorsey said of howard, “i love o.j., i’m glad he’s here, and i think he’ll continue to grow in our offense and get more comfortable becoming faster and more physical he’s going to play and I’m excited about the direction he’s going.”
howard never moved the needle after that and just on monday, however, howard told buffalo news that he was struggling to learn bills offense, particularly the terminology, and it was forcing him to play slower than he would have liked. .
“It was a lot of learning experiences for me,” howard said. “Being in a new offense, just being able to be in a lot of different situations, a lot of positions, just learning different calls and getting alerts, that was good for me. I think as training camp went on, I was able to play faster and learn the terminology a lot better. So that was a lot of growing pains for me, but I’d rather have it happen now than later in the season.”
The Buccaneers’ 2019 first-round draft pick contributed during his first three seasons (94 receptions for 1,456 yards and 12 TDs in 38 games). But he suffered an Achilles tendon injury early in 2020 that cost him the rest of that season, one in which the Bucs won the Super Bowl with Tom Brady at quarterback and his old friend, Rob Gronkowski, at tight end. headline.
Last year, Howard trailed Gronkowski and Cameron Braite for most of the season, catching just 14 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown.
When the Bills signed him in March, they thought his superior size (6-foot-6, 251 pounds) and athleticism would work well in two-tight-end formations because he’s been a good blocker in the past. plus, it could be a legitimate red zone option.
There was even talk that he could be the only tight end in certain situations so the bills could take some of the workload off of Knox, who played more than 75% of the snaps on offense last season. instead, sweeney and morris will get that chance.
“It’s kind of stressful, you know,” Sweeney said Tuesday of waiting out the final roster decisions as a player firmly on the bubble. “Everybody around the league, a lot of jobs being won and lost, it’s completely out of your hands. You just hope that the last couple weeks, you’ve put your best stuff out there, and hopefully that lets you sleep at night, regardless of win or lose, figuratively.”
The 2019 seventh-round draft pick, who missed all of 2020 due to covid and a resulting case of myocarditis, was asked if he thought his days were numbered when the bills signed howard, but he said he was just trying to take care of himself. of his own business and let the chips fall where they may.
“yeah, that’s all you can do,” he said. “There is always going to be competition in this league. It’s the best of the best, so whoever they bring in will be a good player. just put it in the back of your mind and whether someone is there or not, you just have to move on.”
analysis of the roster of 53 buffalo bills players
You must remember, this initial 53-man roster is not set in stone because once the Bills scour the waiver wire in the coming days, there could be players they want to bring in at the expense of some who survived the first cut.
this is how it looks now:
- QB (2): josh allen, case keenum.
- Running back (4): devin singletary, james cook , zack moss, taiwan jones.
- Wide Receiver (7): Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, Jamison Crowder, Isaiah Mckenzie, Khalil Shakir, Jake Kumerow, Marquez Stevenson.
- tight end (4): dawson knox, quintin morris, tommy sweeney, reggie gilliam.
- offensive tackle (4): dion dawkins, spencer brown, tommy doyle, david quessenberry.
- interior offensive line (5): mitch morse, rodger saffold, ryan bates, greg van roten, bobby hart.
- border rusher (5): von miller, greg rousseau, a.j. epenesa, boogie basham, shaq lawson.
- defensive tackle (4): ed oliver, daquan jones, tim settle, jordan phillips.
- linebacker (6): tremaine edmunds, matt milano, tyrel dodson, tyler matakevich, terrel bernard, baylon spector.
- cornerback (6): dane jackson, kaiir elam, taron johnson, siran neal, christian benford, cam lewis.
- security (4): micah hyde, jordan poyer, jaquan johnson, damar hamlin.
- kicking specialists (2): tyler bass, reid ferguson.
One of the first things the Bills will have to do on Wednesday is sign a bettor, and there are several potential options. big island native brett kern was cut down by the titans; Sam Martin, who was statistically one of the best in the league in 2021 for Denver, was fired because he didn’t take a pay cut; Bengalis freed Drue Chrisman; and former panther and dolphin michael palardy was up for a test on Sunday.
also, matt haack was signed by indianapolis after the bills released him last week. he survived Tuesday’s cut, but if the Colts like someone else on the wire, like any of the bettors I just mentioned, they might cut him. the bills, knowing haack has a great working relationship with long snapper reid ferguson and kicker tyler bass, might bring him back if he’s available.
Whoever it is, they’ll have to make room on the roster and one way is to place an injured player on injured reserve. Possible candidates are Doyle and Stevenson who are both battling foot injuries.
the reason doyle and stevenson weren’t placed on tuesday is because if they weren’t included on the initial roster, they would be forced to miss the entire season. if the bills wait to do it on Wednesday, they are eligible to come back when healthy.
The Bills will undoubtedly try to re-sign some of the players who released Tuesday to their practice squad, but they won’t get them all back. given the strength of the roster, there could be multiple bills signed by other teams.
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