The Miami Dolphins beat the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in interim head coach Dan Campbell’s first game, but the biggest story to come out of the game was the low hit on Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Mariota took the hit right at the knees from Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon in the game’s first quarter, and although he continued to play, it certainly seemed like it was affecting him as he fumbled three times after the hit and was forced to wear a knee brace.
For his part, Vernon apologized to Mariota after the game, and Mariota said in a post-game press conference that the hit wasn’t dirty. Tennessee head coach Ken Whisenhunt, however, disagrees.
Those comments were echoed by offensive lineman Taylor Lewan, who called the hit “f*cking bullsh*t.”
Do Whisenhunt and Lewan have a point? It was definitely low. There’s really no way around the fact that Vernon went for the knees on the play, but if Mariota thinks the play was okay, I’ll take his word for it. Still, it’s understandable for Whisenhunt and co. to get defensive about a low hit on their franchise quarterback in only his fifth-career game.
Football doesn’t really have those silly “payback” unwritten rules that baseball has, but with a coach like Whisenhunt, don’t be shocked if things get a little dicey for Vernon next time he plays against the Titans.