Chris Berman is right. Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.
Especially when it comes to keeping the NFL out of their business.
The team, which somehow escaped bounty scrutiny last year despite its previous employment of Gregg Williams as head coach, is scrambling to clean up a mess made by Mario Williams, who said on Thursday of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine: “He usually says ‘Kill ‘em or hurt ‘em.’ That’s what I always hear.”
Williams now says he has heard the term not “usually” or “always” or, in fact, ever. The Bills also have addressed the situation, via a statement from coach Doug Marrone.
“Mike has assured me that he has never used the word ‘kill’ in his terminology regarding our defensive strategy,” Marrone said, via the Associated Press.
“He has used the word ‘hurt’ as a term that essentially means beating the running back to a spot in a pass-rushing drill and not in a physical sense,” Marrone said. “Mike is aware that the term ‘hurt’ could be taken out of context, and he is changing his terminology.”
Frankly, that explanation hurts my brain. And by “hurt” I definitely don’t mean the explanation beat my brain to a spot in a pass-rushing drill.
Marrone also said that the Bills have made player safety a priority, which ignores the reality that the game is inherently unsafe, and that there’s a natural incentive to apply clean, legal hits in a way that knocks a key player out of the game.
No matter what the league, its teams, and/or their coaches and players say or don’t say, that incentive remains a very real part of the game.