The hit from a pair of Broncos players that ended Andrew Luck’s 2015 season was a clean one.
And even though all the punishment the Broncos doled out last week was not, Luck said he didn’t view them as a dirty team.
“I wouldn’t use that word,” Luck said, via Mike Wells of ESPN.com. “I’d say they play hard and like any good defense, any good offense, like any good football team, you want to toe that line of aggression. They are certainly a tough, physical defense.
“Sometimes you get hit in the head, a flag comes out or it doesn’t come out. I don’t worry too much about it. It’s the ref’s job in a sense. By and large I think they do a great job of that.”
Even if Cam Newton won’t say so, plenty of other people might dispute that last notion, after the Panthers quarterback took four shots to the head in the second half of last week’s opener.
When Luck ended up with a lacerated kidney last year, the tackle from Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan (now in Chicago) and Vance Walker (now on IR) was hard, but not in a malicious way. But coach Chuck Pagano said his team knows it has to protect Luck, after seeing what happened last year and last week.
“If we pick things up, we communicate, get a hat on a hat, we do our job and obviously we can limit those things,” Pagano said. “It’s physical, physical football. We know that. We have to do our job and everybody else has to do their job.”
That everybody else would include the officials, whose failure to make the calls on the field last week made it a dangerous situation for Newton.