St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher wasn’t as short on his answers about the situation on Monday, with several others from around the league weighing in with their opinion on the hit cornerback Lamarcus Joyner put on Bridgewater’s head as the quarterback was sliding.
Zimmer and Fisher still met at midfield following the game, but Zimmer simply shook hands and walked away without responding to Fisher’s attempt at a talk.
When asked about it on Monday, Fisher had a message for Zimmer.
“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,” Fisher said. “Clearly Mike’s and my handshake was very short. He didn’t say a word. I went out to congratulate him. I was going to ask him how his quarterback was and congratulate him on the win and he was gone. I understand that, but you also need to control your emotions after the game, look at the tape and then adjust your emotions accordingly.”
Actually, Zimmer might have been controlling his emotions by not saying a word. In his postgame press conference, Zimmer said if they would have been on the street, they might have had a fight.
Fisher simply said after the game that Bridgewater isn’t the first quarterback to be hurt while sliding.
The hit angered Zimmer and numerous Vikings players because of the reputation of Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was suspended from the NFL for a year for overseeing a bounty program for hurting opposing players when he was the defensive coordinator in New Orleans.
But former Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison offered a story on NBC that put Fisher in a bad light, too.
Harrison called the hit by Lamarcus Joyner “dirty” and a “cheap shot,” but added depth to the saga from his playing days in a game facing Fisher’s Tennessee Titans.
“I wasn’t surprised because it happened to me in 2006. Bobby Wade came and chopped my knees and tore my knee up. I’m lying on the ground, and I look at Jeff Fisher and he’s smiling and laughing,” Harrison said. “So this is typical of Jeff Fisher type teams.”
Fisher simply criticized the source.
“I think you have to consider the source. I saw it (Sunday) night on the airplane. You’re talking about a guy that had a great career. The guy played a long time and was hard to defense, was a really active defensive player. But this is coming from a guy that had 18 unnecessary roughness penalties, seven personal fouls, four roughing the passer penalties, a total of 77 penalties in his career and was voted three times the dirtiest player in the National Football League and was suspended for a hit – a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jerry Rice in 2002,” Fisher said Monday, referencing his notes as he was clearly prepared for the question. “This is where these comments are coming from, and I’ll just say this: Since 2000 it’s been a privilege and an honor for me to be on the competition Committee and our main focus is player safety. So for Rodney to come out and say I did something like that is absolutely absurd. That’s all I have to say on that. … Rodney is Rodney and we move on.”
Joyner reportedly won’t be suspended, but he could be fined. For a first-time offense, the minimum fine for a late hit is $8,681 and for roughing the passer it is $17,363.
Former Vikings offensive coordinator and Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick said Williams’ history has left him open to criticism.
“The way (Joyner) led with his shoulder, it did seem vicious. I don’t know if there’s a history between Mike Zimmer and Gregg Williams, but Gregg Williams, the way he has conducted himself before has left himself open to those criticisms,” Billick said on NFL Network.
Former San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions head coach Steve Mariucci approved of Joyner’s explanation after the game when he said he wouldn’t intentionally hurt Bridgewater because they both grew up in the Miami area and their families know each other.
“Lamarcus Joyner, when I saw it happen I was like, ‘Oh, boy, he’s going to get a penalty and a suspension – whatever. But Lamarcus Joyner had a heck of an interview after the game and he explained that he wouldn’t do that,” Mariucci said. “Their mothers know each other and he lived near Teddy and I believe him. I believe Lamarcus Joyner really didn’t intend to concuss Teddy Bridgewater. The hit sure looked like it. But when Mike Zimmer was mad, it was because his quarterback was laying there motionless. Anybody would be mad.”
Yes, many within the Vikings organization are/were upset, and Fisher’s reaction may continue irk Vikings fans.
“I don’t have to worry about the manner in which our players play,” Fisher said. “They play hard.”