Football footnotes: Did Steelers whiff by not signing LB Avery Williamson? |
Breakfast With Benz

Football footnotes: Did Steelers whiff by not signing LB Avery Williamson?

Tim Benz
Getty Images
Jets linebacker Avery Williamson sacks Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sept. 20, 2018 in Cleveland.

In this week’s Friday football footnotes, we look at some local ties in Arizona, Fitzmagic controversy, a guy the Steelers could’ve signed and Jets fans dealing with the reality of losing to Cleveland.

Maybe they should’ve taken a longer look

One standout for the Jets in Thursday’s loss to the Browns on Thursday was Avery Williamson. He was a monster.

The free agent signee from Tennessee had 14 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Williamson had just seven total tackles over the first two games but he was the best Jet on the field by a wide margin Thursday.

The Steelers reportedly were interested in Williamson, since they needed an inside linebacker and it was a thin free agent class.

Williamson signed a three-year, $22.5 million contract in New York. That included a $6 million signing bonus, $16 million guaranteed and an average annual salary of $7.5 million.

At first, I thought that was too much for a good — not great — player with the Titans. But he was awesome last night, and linebacker is still a black hole for the Steelers.

The other side of the coin

While celebrations are rampant in Cleveland, there is despair in New York.

The Browns broke their 19-game winless streak, beating the Jets 21-17.

While most of the attention has been focused on the celebration in Cleveland, we have to focus on the other end of the spectrum as well: The Jets.

Because, of course, it’s the Jets. If there is any team that is close to a symbol of futility aside from Cleveland, it’s the Jets.

And this shot of baffled Jets fans, amidst celebrating Browns fans says it all.

New York has now fallen to 1-2 after winning in Week 1 against the Lions.

Sam Darnold has thrown just one touchdown and has four interceptions in his last two games. His passer rating has dipped from 116 to 74 to 38 last night when he was 15 for 31 for 169 yards.

And the New York Post is calling out head coach Todd Bowles for the team’s misery.

This should hold some weight

How out of control are the roughing the passer calls? Even the quarterbacks are saying it’s out of control.

Aaron Rodgers, one of the passers who was most intended to be protected by the new rules since he was a “victim” of a defensive player falling with his body weight on the QB last year, says the flags got ridiculous in his club’s recent game against the Vikings.

“I’m a traditionalist,” he said. “I’ve watched the game and loved the game for a long time. And some of the rules help, but some of the rules, maybe are going in the wrong direction. They’re trying to think about the progress of the game and the safety and stuff. But it’s still a collision sport, and those to me are not penalties.”


Fitzmagic controversy

Who has the real Fitzmagic? Dolphins corner Minkah Fitzpatrick and his mom apparently had filed a patent request at the United States Patent and Trademark Office last week for the nickname.

That angered Bucs fans who are all in on their “Fitzmagic” from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Minkah Fitzpatrick got so much backlash, he’s saying his QB counterpart can join in on the marketing.

Local ties

As is often the case, there are a few notes coming from Arizona with Western Pa. connections.

Pitt product Larry Fitzgerald is expected to play agianst the Bears on Sunday. This despite a hamstring injury suffered last week. But head coach Steve Wilks claims there is “no question” Fitzgerald plays this weekend.

Meanwhile, Penn State alum A.Q. Shipley is getting back in shape. The Moon Area grad is out for the season with an ACL injury. But he has started the road to recovery and is beginning to workout with weights.

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