Jeff Fisher, who never met a team that he couldn't coach to an 8-8 finish, is still making excuses for the cheap shot LaMarcus Joyner put on Teddy Bridgewater on Sunday afternoon.
In the fourth quarter of the Minnesota Vikings' 21-18 overtime victory over the St. Louis Rams, Bridgewater scrambled for a first down and slid down, giving himself up. Joyner saw an opportunity and launched himself at Bridgewater, intentionally hitting him in the head hard enough to knock him unconscious. Bridgewater eventually got up and left the field, but did not return to the game after going through the league's concussion protocol.
Lest anyone forget, here's what the play looked like:
Teddy Bridgewater knocked momentarily unconscious by a late hit on a slide by Lamarcus Joyner pic.twitter.com/D4Sn9TBsLK— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) November 8, 2015
Per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Fisher had this to say about the play.
"I think a good lesson to be learned from this is control your emotions immediately after the game and go back and look at the tape before you jump to conclusions."
. . .
"Lamarcus made a decision to go hit the quarterback prior to Teddy initiating the slide," Fisher said. "That's what happens. Had Lamarcus not made helmet contact with him, there would have not been a foul. It was penalized on the field. What more can you ask for?"
Well, Jeff, from looking at the video there, Joyner is a good 3-4 yards away from Bridgewater when Bridgewater starts to go into his slide. At that point, Joyner makes the decision to launch himself. Not to break down and make a tackle, as he would have done if Bridgewater was going to continue running, but to launch himself. And he has to bend to make sure he makes contact with Bridgewater's helmet. If he wasn't going for Bridgewater's head, what exactly was he doing? He damn sure wasn't going to make a diving attempt at Bridgewater from three yards away if he isn't giving any indication that he's going to the turf.
What more could we ask for? Honestly, if that hit happens to Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady or a couple of other quarterbacks, Joyner would have been ejected immediately. Shoot, there's a chance that he would not only have been ejected, but he would have been arrested right there on the sideline.
(Okay, that second bit was a stretch. . .but probably not that much.)
I'm going to go way out on a limb and assume that Zimmer had, in fact, looked at the tape on Monday morning. . .and he was still ticked off, quite rightfully so. It might be possible to give some people the benefit of the doubt on something like this, but given the fact that Fisher feels comfortable making excuses for Joyner (and, by extension, the human porta-potty that coordinates his defense), it doesn't appear we can put him into that category.