Titans remain unhappy with hits by Andre Branch, William Hayes

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The Titans remain unhappy with hits by the Dolphins that injured offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and quarterback Marcus Mariota. According to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, footage from the game appears to show Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch yelling “body bag” after his hit to Lewan knocked out Lewan with a concussion.

Mike Vrabel accused Branch of targeting Lewan during an interception return, although the Titans coach wouldn’t call the blindside hit dirty. Officials did not penalize Branch, though the hit could warrant a fine from the league office later this week.

“This game is a vicious game,” Vrabel said, via Terry McCormick of titaninsider.com. “It’s played by different types of people. They’re not normal people. They’re professional football players. Do I think it was dirty? Probably not. Do I think it was targeted at Taylor? I would say absolutely.”

Branch defended himself, saying football “is a violent sport, and I’m just making a clean hit.”

Mariota lost feeling in his throwing arm on a low hit by William Hayes as the Titans quarterback was carrying out a run/pass option that resulted in a handoff to Derrick Henry.

Vrabel said based on the explanation he got from referee Jerome Boger after the play, he now will coach his defensive players to do the same thing.

“I asked him: Are we going low?” Vrabel said. “Jerome said, ‘Yes, if he’s carrying out a fake.’

“Just as long as that’s the rule, then we just have to do business as business that’s being done. For every quarterback that’s carrying out a fake, we’ll have to do it the same way. That’s what I told [Titans defensive coordinator] Dean [Pees]. If that’s legal, then we have to do it the same exact way. We have to do business as business is being done.”

Titans backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who replaced Mariota after Mariota’s second interception, initially called Hayes’ hit a “cheap hit.” He then was asked to clarify.

“Some guys play the game a certain way, and some guys don’t,” Gabbert said. “That’s probably the hot topic in the media this morning. The rules are pretty gray, so I don’t really know what they are. I mean Derrick Henry is at the line of scrimmage [with the ball], so read between the lines on that one.”