Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini had an interesting response Saturday when asked about the decision to retain rookie undrafted free-agent linebacker Marcus Benard on the 53-man roster.
Said Mangini, "With guys like Marcus Benard and Bret Lockett (another undrafted free agent), they are both guys that I thought showed good improvement throughout the camp. Marcus being from a smaller school (Jackson State), didn't have quite the exposure that maybe some other guys had. I was encouraged by that improvement. Like all rookies, they have a long way to go and a lot of things that they need to improve on. What's important for them is to do that and focus on those things and to try to carve out a way to get to the game."
Then, there were the comments by Jets coach Rex Ryan when asked about running back Danny Woodhead being on Saturday's the 53-man roster. Said Ryan, "I don't really think this is a final roster, but it certainly is today. We'll see what happens. Maybe on Tuesday, there's a possibility our roster could look different. As of today, this is exactly how it is. I think Woodhead earned the right to make this football team. I don't know what else he could have done, especially in that last preseason game."
When asked whether Woodhead was on the bubble before having a huge game in the preseason finale against the Eagles, Ryan said. "Yeah, I think so. I think he's one of those guys who really earned a spot. Again, our final roster eventually down the road may change, but this is a guy that I thought clearly earned that spot. He works every single day. He practices as hard as he can every single day. From a toughness part of it and a competitive part, I thought he earned that spot."
That was Saturday. Twenty-four hours later, things did change. Benard and Lockett were released by the Browns, while Woodhead was cut by the Jets. It is expected they will end up on the practice squad if they clear waivers Monday.
It always makes for an interesting day-after in the NFL when teams put in waiver claims for players they don't know, and release players like Woodhead that have been with a team for several months. That's the business of the league.
Sunday, 33 players on waivers were claimed, although nine ended up becoming free agents because the team claiming them prioritized other players.
Tampa Bay, for example, put in claims for seven players, and ended up with two: defensive end Maurice Evans from the Giants and cornerback William Middleton, Atlanta's fifth-round pick this year. The Buccaneers also claimed defensive end Tim Crowder and Brandon Anderson, who became free agents, as well as cornerback Marcus McCauley, who was also claimed by Detroit and Jacksonville and ended up with the Lions; punter A.J. Trapasso, who went to the Jets; and safety Marvin White, who was also claimed by Dallas.
Looking for a tight end, the Jets put in claims for three: Tennessee's Matthew Mulligan, Detroit's Dan Gronkowski and San Francisco's Bear Pascoe. They got Mulligan, so Gronkowski and Pascoe cleared waivers and became free agents.
Other players claimed that became free agents were tackle Lydon Murtha (Miami); defensive end Derreck Robinson and defensive tackle Vance Walker (Carolina); and linebacker Tim Shaw and running back Chauncey Washington (Dallas).
In addition to McCauley, Trapasso and White, three other players were claimed by multiple teams: defensive tackle Anthony Dixon by Philadelphia and Carolina, went to the Eagles; tackle Ryan O'Callaghan by Kansas City and Cleveland, went to the Chiefs; safety Anthony Smith by St. Louis, Jacksonville and Houston, went to the Rams.
The remaining players that moved on waivers were defensive end Copeland Bryan (Detroit), fullback Jason Davis (N.Y. Jets); WR Yamon Figurs (Detroit), cornerback Marquis Floyd (Cleveland), tackle Brandon Frye (Seattle), linebacker Glenn Cody (Indianapolis), cornerback Kevin Hobbs (Detroit), guard Kory Lichtensteiger (Minnesota), running back Cedric Peerman (Cleveland), defensive tackle La Juan Ramsey (St. Louis), safety DeAngelo Smith (Cleveland) and tackle Phil Trautwein (Cleveland).