If there is a fine line between playing dirty and cheap and playing tough and physical, it seems that the Tennessee Titans have tiptoed that line throughout this young season. With six personal foul penalties (which leads the league), the Titans are developing a reputation around the league--and whether this reputation is for being “tough,” or “dirty,” it depends on who you ask. If you ask the Denver Broncos, who defeated those Titans 26-20 on Sunday, the answer is quite clear.
"You always hear about how tough they are and all that stuff," said quarterback Kyle Orton, who was riled when Titan’s cornerback Cortland Finnegan punched a then helmet-less Broncos guard, Chris Kuper. "I don't think they're tough, I think they’re cheap. And it was one of the cheapest games I've ever seen out of some of those players."
Coming from a player, such an accusation isn’t all that remarkable. But when the remarks come from a coach--those guys who usually play the role of politician in public--one is given reason for pause:
"There's a way to play tough and physical without being excessive and playing dirty after the snap,'' said Denver head coach Josh McDaniels. "There's a lot of teams in this league that play like that. Tough and physical but also within the rules."
Cowboys’ head coach Wade Phillips, who will lead his team against the maybe-dirty Tennessee Titans at home on Sunday wouldn’t draw any premature conclusions about the team, but did acknowledge that such criticism, as that of McDaniels, was out there.
"I haven't seen anything. No. ...I don't know about that,” Phillips said, per ESPN Dallas. “We hadn't played them. Some teams talk a lot, some teams don't, I don't have any feel for that. I do see what the other team said about them."
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