Football footnotes: Browns may go after Jimmy Garoppolo; The debut of Malik Willis; Antonio Brown’s witty response to meme – TribLIVE


This week’s “Friday Football Footnotes” has an update on Cleveland’s plans at quarterback if Deshaun Watson’s suspension is extended.

Malik Willis had some highlights in his NFL preseason debut with the Tennessee Titans. The NFL is finally doing something right about quarterback contact.

And Antonio Brown actually did something genius.

“Plan B” is “Plan G”?

If the Browns are without quarterback Deshaun Watson for more than six games, their backup plan may be San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.comif NFL designee Peter C. Harvey rules that the NFL could (or should) extend Deshaun Watson’s suspension well beyond the current six-game reign, the Browns may try to acquire Garoppolo from the 49ers.

Garoppolo’s base salary for 2022 is $24.2 million. It’s not fully guaranteed until September 10th, though. As Cabot points out, the Browns could sign him to a new deal that has a large signing bonus and a lower base salary to spread the cap.

Either way, the Browns has nearly $49 million in effective cap space, the most in the NFL. They can make it happen if they so desire.

Garoppolo was cleared to practice Aug. 3 after surgery in March to repair a torn capsule in his right throwing shoulder. He led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game last year, but was ousted by 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance.

If Cleveland doesn’t make a move to acquire Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett will likely be the team’s starting quarterback until Watson is reinstated.

The latest report from Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press is that Watson would “accept” an eight-game suspension and pay a $5 million fine to resolve the situation. Based on the The NFL’s desire for a year-long suspensionthat hardly seems a likely compromise.

Totally brand

Sports satire “The Sports Memory” created a funny poset about former Steeler Antonio Brown. It got a lot of traction on the internet.

The picture is of a smiling Bruno, with a sarcastic, fake quote that seems to be a self-reflective missile about his own troubled career.

”My biggest career regret doesn’t involve calling my GM a ‘spit guy,’ or showing up to Raiders camp late in a hot air balloon with frozen feet, or throwing rocks at that UPS driver, and it certainly doesn’t involve. taking my shirt off and doing a victory lap around the Jets stadium midgame while throwing Deuces. My biggest regret is that I will never be able to see myself, Antonio Brown, play a game live. Sure, I can watch the game later, but I can’t imagine what it was like for you all to see something like that. Like watching The Beatles or Jesus perform at Red Rocks.”

Brown’s social media usage over the years has become so self-aggrandizing and so absurd that some people thought the post was real. After Brown got word of it, he decided to jump in and endorse the meme on Twitter.

No one is a bigger critic of AB than me. But his decision to subtly co-sign this one is worthy of a standing ovation. Well played, Mr. Big Chest. You win this round.

Finally figure it out

If you’re still not in awe of Antonio Brown’s understated embrace of self-parody, then this one will do the trick.

The NFL is actually coming to its senses and relaxing its ridiculously harsh roughing up of the passing rules.

yours the New York Post“Incidental contact with the arms to the head and neck area of ​​a quarterback while attempting to block a pass will no longer be called a penalty and defenders who inadvertently hit a player’s head and neck or lower legs will no longer be penalized. The rule will also now allow to players to make a play on the quarterback’s legs if they are on the ground, an action that was previously prohibited.”

What is considered “violent” contact to the quarterback’s head or legs will still be flagged as roughing the passer.

There was 154 rough the passerby calls in the NFL’s first 17-game season of 2021, up from 127 in the 16-game 2020 season.

Theyonly can’t lose

No one takes the preseason more seriously than the Baltimore Ravens. And that is illustrated by their incredible pre-season unbeaten streak. It reached 21 games with a 23-10 win over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night. That’s an NFL record. It stretches back to 2015.

In this case, the likes of 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 to go 28 of 35 for 269 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. That’s a collective rating of 108.1.

The Ravens next play on the road at the Arizona Cardinals on August 21st.

Malik’s first moment

Had the Steelers not drafted Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett, the thought was that Liberty QB Malik Willis might be in Black and Gold by now.

Instead, Pickett stayed in Pittsburgh, and Willis stayed on the draft board until the third round when the Titans took him at No. 86. In his first preseason game Thursday, Willis scored a touchdown on a scrimmage during that loss to the Ravens.

He also had a chance to show off the deep ball, hitting Racey McMath for 48 yards.

Willis finished 6 of 11 for 107 yards passing, with no touchdowns or interceptions. He totaled 38 yards on the ground.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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