On Sunday the Bengals made three waiver claims, which forces the Bengals to add them to the 53-man roster. Therefore the Bengals have to find spots on the roster for them, releasing/waiving three of their own to make room. Let's take a quick look to examine if these moves helped the team improve their overall roster.
Brandon Tate Claimed, Quan Cosby Waived: Even though Quan Cosby, a former 2009 undrafted free agent, was a fan favorite in many regards, the Bengals choose to upgrade both return games with a punt returner and kickoff return specialist. That's the theory at least. While Tate returned two touchdowns on 41 kickoffs last year, averaging 25.8 yards/return (ranked fifth in the NFL amongst returners with 40 returns or more), he's only returned one punt in his NFL career (four yards).
We're not sure if Tate will be used as a punt returner, though it makes sense to use one player for both return games. The acquisition likely moves Bernard Scott off special teams, which figures as a motivator due to his constant durability concerns.
Conclusion: Push. With only one career punt return, we're not sure if Tate is an upgrade over Cosby (who played most of the special teams units on the field). Additionally Scott has shown to be a capable returner, recording a 31.5 yard/return average on 16 kickoffs in 2009 (along with a 96-yard touchdown return).
Mike McGlynn Claimed, Reggie Stephens Waived: Through waivers the Bengals picked up a 14-game starter from the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Not only is McGlynn a capable center, he's also competent enough to play guard. In other words he has the all-world attribute that the Cincinnati Bengals love with their offensive linemen, playing more than one position.
Furthermore McGlynn is likely going to be a candidate to become the team's starting right guard while Bobbie Williams serves his four-game suspension to start the season. That announcement will be made later this week between McGlynn, rookie Clint Boling and second-year lineman Otis Hudson.
Conclusion: Improvement. The Bengals acquired an experienced center than can backup either guard position.
Mickey Shuler Claimed, Chase Coffman Waived: By this point we're not sure if tight end Chase Coffman has peaked. But whatever the reason, he's just not adapting in the NFL, especially as a blocker. This isn't so much about his level of talent as a receiver, but Coffman may just need a new start with someone else that will use him as a primary target in the passing game.
Shuler came into the NFL with a strong pedigree as a blocker, lining up in Penn State's backfield as a fullback at times.
A draft report on Shuler via CBSSports.com:
One of the better blockers in this class. Strong edge blocker, seals off larger defensive ends by getting his hands inside and anchoring. Explodes into linebackers; moves feet to sustain until the play is away, and sometimes longer. Good flexibility to adjust to oncoming defenders, effective as moving tight end coming off the edge or eliminating backside chasers.
Conclusion: Improvement. We're basing this on reports we've read on Shuler, so it's one of our more bolder predictions. But consider this. As long Jermaine Gresham plays, Coffman wouldn't be a factor in the passing game, making him essentially useless. Putting him on the field to block has always been more of a liability, therefore having a guy with a superior blocking attribute helps the overall contributions with this team.
Did the Bengals improve their roster through waivers on Sunday?