Cutting remarks irk Shanahan
Angry that people around the league are calling his offensive line dirty, Denver Mike Shanahan set out to prove the Broncos are really no different from anyone else.
"We're taking a field trip," this week after a news conference.
And off they went to the video room, where the Denver coach showed a series of plays involving other teams who have used the same kind of cut blocks that Broncos linemen have been lambasted for using over the years.
"I've been talking about it for 10 years," Shanahan said. "It's one of those situations where the average football fan really doesn't understand that all teams do that."
The Broncos came under withering criticism from coaches, players and ABC announcers Al Michaels and John Madden after offensive lineman George Foster broke Cincinnati defensive lineman Tony Williams' ankle Monday night by diving at his lower legs. Williams had surgery Wednesday and is expected to take six months to recover.
Technically, the cut block -- a block below an opponent's waist -- was legal because Foster's helmet was in front of Williams at contact. But it was vicious, too, in part because Williams didn't see it coming. It also looked unnecessary given that the play was moving away from the spot where the block was made.
"Although people may say it's not illegal, it doesn't necessarily have to be a part of the game," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "There was no reason to block a man low like that when he has his back basically turned to you. There is no reason to chop the guy like that."
The Bengals' angry reaction was to be expected. Critical comments from Steelers coach Bill Cowher certainly weren't.
"A lot of it comes down to, in my mind, respect for the game and respect for the players," Cowher said Tuesday. "Do unto others as you want others to do unto you."
It came as little surprise, then, that Shanahan's video package included a number of plays in which Steelers offensive linemen are seen making cut blocks. He also showed the Bengals doing it in Monday night's game.
"I was a little offended with Bill Cowher's statement because they do it," Shanahan said. "So, those type things do occur, and you just have to deal with it."
An NFL spokesman said the league had no comment "beyond confirming it was a legal block under the rules."