Neither Tom Coughlin nor Mark Brunell held back in their comments on Cleveland Browns rookie defensive tackle Gerard Warren's vicious hit in yesterday's game.
"I've never been hit like that before. I think it was a cheap shot, after seeing it. You don't do that to anybody. I understand everyone is live," Brunell said today of Warren's helmet-to-helmet hit.
Coughlin was even stronger in his opinion of Warren's hit on Brunell. During his noon press conference today, the Jaguars coach said he had already spoken to NFL Director of Officials Mike Pereira Monday morning, and Coughlin told reporters he expected Warren to be fined and possibly suspended.
"It was a flagrant attempt to hurt the quarterback. It was clear; it was obvious. We spent a great deal of the offseason talking about not putting your helmet on the quarterback," Coughlin said.
Brunell was struck by Warren near the end of the Jaguars' first offensive play of the game. Following an interception near the line of scrimmage, Warren took a 10-yard run at Brunell and struck the quarterback with a helmet-to-helmet blow to the side of Brunell's head. Brunell had to leave the game early in the second quarter due to "recurring headaches."
"I was very upset. I am very upset. It had nothing to do with the play. the player ran over 10 yards. A severe blow was delivered on a defenseless player," Coughlin said. "There should be a fine; maybe a suspension."
Sunday's game, a 23-14 win by the Browns over the heavily-favored Jaguars, saw a first half that was loaded with ill feelings and trash talk. The Browns claimed they were outraged by comments Coughlin made following the Jaguars' win over Tennessee on Sept. 23. NFL Films captured Coughlin telling his team, "We're 2-0 and on our way to 3-0." The Browns felt disrespected and rookie head coach Butch Davis played on that theme in preparation to play the Jaguars.
As the two teams left the field, Browns cornerback Corey Fuller assailed Coughlin for his comments. "Yeah, I knew what he was talking about. At the time I said it, I said it to encourage our team. I meant no disrespect. If they took it that way, so be it," Coughlin said.
Browns players assembled on the Jaguars logo at midfield following Sunday's pregame. They jumped up and down on the logo in a show of disrespect and hostility. The Jaguars were not aware of that display until after the game.
NFL rules prohibit such flagrant taunting, even in the pregame period. "Evidently it doesn't," Coughlin said.
Coughlin was asked if he thought Brunell had been targeted by the Browns before the game began.
"I really don't believe people talk about eliminating the other team's quarterback. Even the old adage, after an interception hunt the quarterback up, I haven't seen that in quite some time," Coughlin replied.
Brunell suffered a concussion as a result of the blow. He said it was the first concussion of his career.
"Better than last night," Brunell said when asked how he felt late this morning. "I expected it to get better (during the game), and it didn't get better."
Coughlin did not offer a position on Brunell's status for this Sunday's game in Seattle. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are dealing with a more distinct problem, the state of offensive tackle Tony Boselli's ailing right shoulder.
Reports are Boselli's season could be in jeopardy. Coughlin will say nothing more than, "It's a shoulder."
"I think they knew there was a game-time decision," Coughlin said of reports Jaguars players were surprised when Boselli was deactivated just before kickoff. "I expected him to get the green light," Coughlin added of Boselli.