Jarvis Landry has made it clear his hit on Buffalo Bills safety Aaron Williams in October wasn’t meant to hurt the player, although it knocked him out of the first game of this season between the Bills and the Dolphins and sent Williams to the injured reserve list. Landry also said it was never on his mind to take a cheap shot or dirty hit on his opponent.
The Buffalo Bills don’t believe Landry.
They have their own feelings on the subject as they prepare for Saturday’s rematch between the team in Buffalo:
“We know what happened, we know it was a dirty hit but if we win the game I think that’ll hurt them more than doing anything out of the ordinary,” said Buffalo cornerback Stephon Gilmore when asked if there might be retribution against Landry.
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“It was a dirty hit. I mean I’ve seen it, it was right in front of me. We can’t go out there and play with emotion. We know it was dirty but like I said, we go out there and get the win then that takes care of everything.”
Bill cornerback Nikell Robey-Coleman said the memory of that hit will not affect the way the Bills play. It cannot if they wish to have success. But he’s not thrilled with Landry, either.
“Right, we definitely can’t let him get us out of our game,” Robey-Coleman said. “We have to play our game. He’s just one guy that made a move that real professionals wouldn’t make at that time, but as far as the game, we got to come out and stay focused on trying to get a win.”
The Dolphins are not concerned if there are hurt feelings in the Buffalo locker room. They’ve been more intersted in coaching Landry on his blocking technique since that play.
And Wednesday offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said Landry has addressed the technique issues that had him blocking too high on Williams.
“He hasn’t had a penalty of that kind since,” Christensen said. “We said that we love the aggressiveness, we just have to lower our target on the thing. I think any coach would appreciate that. But, yes, he has. We certainly teach being within the rules, and we certainly don’t want to hurt anybody, but you certainly want aggressive guys. To find wide receivers who will go downfield and throw their body around is rare.”
Christense said he’s happy with the balance Landry strikes between aggressive and beyond the rules.
“Yes, I am, especially between the whistles,” Christensen said. “I think we did get a post-play penalty since then, but we’re working to keep those down. We didn’t have any this week. We had two the week before. Those are important. Stuff is going to get critical, especially this game. They’re leading the league in rushing. Everything would point to a short game, and you cant stop a drive with a 15-yard penalty. You can’t stop a drive with a holding call. You can’t give them an extra possession with the football.
“The way they’re playing right now is pretty darn obvious. I think (they are) 31st in passing and first in rushing. They’re playing short games (and have) a defensive head coach. I think that’ll be really, really a big factor in this football game. We’ve stressed that we can’t have any dumb penalties. We can’t be first-and-15. We can’t have third-and-3 and have it go to third-and-8. Those are big ones if it becomes an eight to 10 possession game, which it could. It could up there.”
Christensen spoke the South Florida media Wednesday. Here are highlights of what he said:
(With RB Jay Ajayi’s declining rushing numbers, have there been any cases where he’s just not hitting holes as well as he did during his great streak?) “That has not been the case. It absolutely has not been the case. The funny thing is, a lot of times he’s doing a lot of things better than even the 200-yard games. Sometimes the 200-yard games, those things come gushing out. The hard ones are when there’s not much there. I said last week, those 2-yard runs could be minus-2-yard runs. I think he’s running the ball better at this time of year than at any time during the season. I think that’s where the stats can be misleading. Defensive fronts are getting heavy, heavy fronts and heavy boxes. The young man is banging it up in there and (has) done a great job. He has stayed fresh. I thought he’d be beat up. It’s his first time, really, having that many carries in the NFL. Sometimes it’s hard to have your body prepared for that if you haven’t done it before. I think what he has done is unbelievably impressive. You can’t refer to him as a rookie, because he’s not a rookie, but as far as his first time, really, with this many carries and 1,000 yards, I think (it has been) really a great year. (He) has not declined. He’s actually playing better right now than at any point. He’s protecting better and doing a lot of things he didn’t do early (and) doing them really well. I think he’s really playing good football. A lot of things happen, but the biggest one I think I told you that it doesn’t seems like a good idea to have your name plastered all over that ESPN for 200-yard games except that it goes up in everyone’s locker rooms and defensive meeting rooms, too. You get a little more resistance, so that’s the downside of it. But (he has had a) really, really great year. He has got to do it this week. I really believe that the way he has protected the ball and the way he ran, he was a big key in jumpstarting this thing when we were sitting there at 1-4, and I think he’ll be a big reason if we have success in these last two games, especially in Buffalo. Speaking of this game, he’s going to have to bang up in there on hard turf, and they’re going to have a little hate on, and he’ll have to be big this week again. It’ll be hard sledding again.”
(Were you surprised that RB Jay Ajayi, WR Jarvis Landry and T Branden Albert were left off the Pro Bowl, and are any of those guys alternates do you know?) “I think Jarvis and Jay are first alternates. I thought they had Pro Bowl years. I was surprised. I was disappointed for them. I do think that, again, Im probably more disappointed than they are, just because this thing has been a team year. It has really been a good feeling, team feel to this whole thing. You haven’t felt anybody -- which is very unusual in this league, where it has been anything personal, and those two guys have kept plugging along. I think they’ve had Pro Bowl years. I think one of the things that (stands) out to me is we have to keep going and getting the respect for this franchise, this team, and get that back to where a lot of that, unfortunately, is how much you’re in the bag games on TV, what you do in December, playoff games, all those things. We have to get these guys ... We have to keep going the way we’re going and get this thing back where it has a level of respect where those guys should be ... They should be in the Pro Bowl in my opinion. Absolutely.”
(T Branden Albert, is he an alternate at all?) “I don’t know that he is. I don’t know that.”
(In your coaching career, have you ever had a backup quarterback like QB Matt Moore? Does he remind you of anybody?) “He does. He has always reminded me of Matt Hasselbeck. From the day I walked in this building, Ive always said, ‘This guy is Matt Hasselbeck.’ He could start for a bunch of teams. He can play starting, good football. He’s accomplished. He has won some big games. He has got a magnetic personality, and he’s kind of a live wire. He’s a Pied Piper. The players like him. Scout teams like him. Hasselbeck had those same traits, which was really nice. I think they’re great, quality backups. They’re starters in many senses of the word, and then all of a sudden, you hit a hiccup. I think last week, the question was, ‘Are you worried?’ And I said,’˜I’m not worried a lick about Matt Moore.’ I was more worried about the backup ...Tthe backup at the No. 2 position going into the game not having enough reps under his belt. But I have zero worries about him. I saw Hasselbeck do the same thing last year. (Matt Moore) really reminds me of (Matt Hasselbeck) -- a veteran presence, but one of those personalities that people like. He loves football. He loves his job. There’s something extremely attractive about a guy who loves his job, and Matt Hasselbeck loved being a football (player). This guy loves football. This guy loves practice, meetings, games, scout team, routes versus air. He likes that stuff. I think if you were asking to compare him to someone, that would be my comparison. (They are) very, very similar that way. (They are) live wires and (they) have the ability to just keep going even when you may not play for, in this case, 12 games in a row. Not that many people can keep concentrating.”
(Regarding QB Matt Moore, the term gunslinger is associated with him, but it seems like in a way it does him a disservice, because he’s not a guy who takes chances throwing into tight windows and double coverage. At least that’s what I find. He likes to throw downfield, but it seems like he takes care of the ball. Can you talk about his decision-making? Does he throw any of those passes where you go, ˜Oh my goodness, where is he looking?) “He completed that one over there to Dion (Sims), and really, the read took him completely (somewhere else). We have teased him a little bit about street balling out there a little bit. I questioned when coach Gase started the read meeting this week. I said, ˜Do we really want to waste a meeting on reads? We throw them out the window.’ But I did say that. ˜Why are we wasting time going through reads. This guy is going to throw it to the open guy.’ So, we teased a little bit about that. I think gunslinger is a complementary phrase ... and to me, that he doesn’t have fear. A lot of guys who havent played in four years, five years, whatever it has been, would come in there tentative and start taking check downs and would come into the second half of the last home game and take check downs and be conservative and not want something bad to happen. When I use the term gunslinger, it’s a guy who comes in and goes. It’s not that he takes stupid chances. It’s not a derogatory (term). He walks down the main street of the Western (film), and he doesn’t have any fear. He walks down the main street, and the guy shows up and they have at it. That’s the mentality, I think, of a gunslinger, not that you’re careless. It’s not a negative term, to me. It’s a positive term. There are a bunch of quarterbacks in this league that come into those situations that he has come into scared ... not necessarily scared but scared to make a mistake and checking the ball down and being over-conservative, not wanting to get hit. They don’t throw that ball up to Kenny Stills at the last home game and take the shot with the guy bearing down on him. That Cover Zero post that he threw, which was huge in the Jets game up there they don’t do that. They want to start slow. If I gave any indication the term gunslinger was careless or derogatory, I wouldn’t mean that. That definition of gunslinger would be ‘unemployed,’ for me. Those kinds of gunslingers are dead; they got shot. Those guys are all extinct and three feet under now.”
Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero