Jarvis Landry

USA Today

Jarvis Landry’s Hit On Taron Johnson

Was it dirty?

August 20, 2018 - 9:59 am

I’m starting Monday’s show with something from Friday. And you know if I’m starting a Monday show with a topic from Friday night, it had to be something different. And not just a topic, but a specific play. A specific hit, so you know if that’s coming up more than two days later, you know it had to be big. And it was. A huge hit.

I am referring to Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry looking to knock Bills rookie corner Taron Johnson, the hell out. If you didn’t see it Friday, you’re about to see it or hear it right now. And if you like seeing or hearing dudes get snot-bubbled, you will not be disappointed. Cleveland had the ball on the Buffalo 4 and called a running play. But that didn’t mean that Jarvis Landry was going to take the play off. Not even close.

Landry came flying in from outside the box and absolutely blew Johnson up. Dude went down like he took a cannon blast... It was tough, it was physical, it was nasty. It was the kind of shot you don’t usually see from receivers. Of course, the Bills will tell you it’s the kind of shot you don’t see from ANYONE. Other than dirty players. 

Because they thought it was a dirty shot. And couldn’t wait to say it. Lorenzo Alexander, who’ll be on the show next segment, called it “dirty.” "Landry, he's a good receiver, physical guy, but some of those plays that he has -- Aaron Williams, Taron, I'm pretty sure he has other ones -- I just think they're dirty.” 

And he wasn’t alone. Micah Hyde called the play “ridiculous” and added: "To me, that's B.S. You can't do that. All you have to do is get into position, screen him off. He doesn't have to come in and try to kill anybody."

Look, I get it. If you see your teammate get wrecked like that, you’re going to be pissed. And Bills players will remind you that this isn’t the first time Landry has done something like that to one of their guys. Back in 2016, when Landry was with the Dolphins, he hit Aaron Williams on an illegal crackback block, leaving the safety with head and neck injuries. He never played again. That shot effectively ended Williams’ career.

So yeah, knowing that and especially if you were on the field when that happened, I can see why Bills players would be angry at Landry. 

Landry, for his part, says he’s just playing the game "I pride myself on being a complete receiver, and it takes those types of plays, making those types of blocks, or just a block period, to make sure Carlos could get in or Duke [Johnson], whoever's running the ball, or another receiver. It’s important.” 

So what is it? A clean block in a violent game… or a dirty hit? Is that just a smart, old school play and the rookie needs to have his head on a swivel. Is it on the line or over it? Hell, what is the line in the first place? Does anyone really know at this point? 

I’m not going to go all, “just put flags on them” guy right here. Because I’m not sure that a play like that doesn’t deserve a flag. But the problem is: I don’t really know what does and doesn’t deserve a flag these days. And that’s a huge part of the problem. 

But, I know this: it is a question that’s going to keep coming up. Just as I know that if I was a member of the Bills defense, I would be saying exactly the same thing that Alexander and Hyde are saying. Because when you see your teammate get blown up like that and there isn’t even a flag, I’d be looking for a piece of the guy who did it and the ref who didn’t call it.

In fact, if I played defense in the NFL at all, I’d be bent. Because the biggest talking point the entire preseason has been the way defenders are using their helmets. Defensive players are getting flagged for seemingly innocuous plays and then you see one of your guys get wrecked by a receiver and there’s nothing.  If a defensive player did that, he’s ejected, but a receiver does it and the refs don’t even flinch.

It would almost make you feel like officials and the league don’t care about defensive players. That’s what some defensive players would tell you and I’m not sure they’re wrong. 

But here’s the ultimate problem: football is a violent game. The league is trying to take some of the violence out of the game, but it’s nearly impossible. It’s like trying to take pitching out of baseball. It’s just part of the game. The league is trying to change the game, but it sure doesn’t sound or look like Landry is looking to change with it. Where do you come out on that: was that a dirty hit, or just hard-nosed football? Dirty. Or people are just reacting that way because they’re not used to seeing a receiver put someone to sleep. Dirty. Or playing the game the way it was meant to be played. Or somewhere in between.