This week’s “Friday Football Footnotes” includes an update on Cleveland’s plans as a quarterback as Deshaun Watson’s suspension lengthens.
Malik Willis had some highlights in his NFL preseason debut with the Tennessee Titans. The NFL is finally doing something right in terms of quarterback contact.
And Antonio Brown did something really witty.
“Plan B” is “Plan G”?
If the Browns are without quarterback Deshaun Watson for more than six games, their backup plan might be San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo.
According to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, if NFL appointee Peter C. Harvey decides the NFL can (or should) extend Deshaun Watson’s suspension well beyond the current six-game ruling, the Browns could try to get Garoppolo over. taking the 49ers.
Garoppolo’s base salary for 2022 is $24.2 million. However, it is not fully guaranteed until September 10. As Cabot points out, the Browns could sign him to a new deal with a big signing bonus and a lower base salary in an effort to spread the cap hit.
Regardless, the Browns have nearly $49 million in effective cap space, the most in the NFL. They can make it happen if they want to.
Garoppolo was cleared to practice on August 3 after undergoing surgery in March to repair a torn capsule in his right shoulder. He led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game last year but was replaced by the first round of 2021, Trey Lance.
If Cleveland doesn’t move to take over Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett will likely be the team’s starting quarterback until Watson recovers.
The latest report from Associated Press’s Rob Maaddi is that Watson would “accept” an eight-game suspension and pay a $5 million fine to resolve the situation. Based on the NFL’s desire for a one-year suspension, that hardly seems like a likely settlement.
Sportsatire site “The Sports Memery” made a funny post about former Steeler Antonio Brown. It got a lot of attention on the internet.
The image is of a smiling Brown, with a sarcastic, fake quote that appears to be a self-reflective message about his own troubled career.
“My biggest regret in my career isn’t calling my GM a ‘cracker’, or showing up in a hot air balloon with frozen feet in the Raiders camp, or throwing rocks at that UPS driver, and it definitely doesn’t mean take off my shirt and do a victory lap around the Jets stadium halfway through the game while throwing up Deuces. My biggest regret is that I will never see myself, Antonio Brown, play live. Of course I can watch the match after that, but I can’t imagine what it was like for all of you to see something like that. Like watching The Beatles or Jesus perform at Red Rocks.”
Brown’s use of social media over the years has become so self-aggrandizing and so absurd that some people thought the post was real. Once Brown heard about it, he decided to stay put and support the meme on Twitter.
No one is a bigger critic of AB than I am. But his decision to subtly sign with this is worthy of a standing ovation. Well played, Mr. Big Chest. You win this round.
If you’re not stunned enough by Antonio Brown’s understated embrace of self-parody, this one will do the trick.
The NFL is now really coming to its senses and easing the ridiculously strict cleanup of the passer rules.
Via the New York Post: “Accidental contact with the arms to the head and neck area of a quarterback while attempting to block a pass is no longer invoked as a penalty and defenders inadvertently hitting the head and neck or hitting a player’s lower legs will no longer be penalized. The rule now also allows players to play on the quarterback’s legs while on the ground, an action that was previously prohibited.”
What is considered “forced” contact with the quarterback’s head or legs will still be marked as roughing the passer.
There were 154 who anticipated the passer calls in the 2021 NFL’s 17-game inaugural season, versus 127 in the 2020 16-game season.
THi can’t lose
No one takes the preseason more seriously than the Baltimore Ravens. And that’s exemplified by their incredible undefeated preseason run. It reached 21 games with a 23-10 win over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night. That’s an NFL record. It goes back to 2015.
In this case, quarterback Lamar Jackson, cornerback Marlon Humphrey, tight end Mark Andrews and linebacker Patrick Queen did not play.
Jackson’s three backups — Tyler Huntley, Anthony Brown and Brett Hundley — combined 28 of 35 for 269 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. That’s a joint rating of 108.1.
The Ravens then play on the road with the Arizona Cardinals on August 21.
Malik’s first moment
If the Steelers hadn’t drafted Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett, the thought was that Liberty QB Malik Willis could be in Black and Gold right now.
Instead, Pickett stayed in Pittsburgh and Willis stayed on the draft board until the third round when the Titans took him at number 86. In his first preseason game on Thursday, Willis scored a touchdown on a scramble during that loss to the Ravens.
He also had the chance to show off the deep ball, hitting Racey McMath 48 yards.
Willis finished 6 of 11 for 107 yards passing, with no touchdowns or interceptions. He landed a total of 38 meters on the ground.