INDIANAPOLIS — Chargers head coach Brandon Staley defended Los Angeles safety Derwin James for a vicious hit on Colts wide receiver Ashton Dulin on Monday night that caused concussions to both players.
James was ejected for the hit, a ruling Staley criticized in the aftermath of the Chargers’ 20-3 win over Indianapolis.
The Chargers strong safety led with the crown of his helmet, connecting with the side of Dulin’s helmet in a hit that immediately sent both players to the team’s blue medical tents for further evaluation.
“No, I did not (agree), because I know Derwin’s intent,” Staley said. “I thought that he tried to lead with the shoulder.”
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Staley also blamed the Colts, and quarterback Nick Foles, for putting Dulin in a bad spot, although James had time to change his target level and deliver a hit to Dulin’s waist.
“It’s a play where they obviously laid the guy out in a tough position, which is their fault, not ours, and Derwin made an aggressive play,” Staley said. “I’ve seen him make a lot of tackles on plays just like that, and I know that his target was not above the neck. I know that.”
Staley then suggested that James was celebrating the team’s playoff berth despite being placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
“He’s in the protocol right now,” Staley said. “But he is having a heck of a time in that locker room right now.”