Whatever side you're on about the controversial low hit Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph had on Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee or subsequent comments by Joseph's teammates, surely tilted by fandom, there's no doubt about it being an unfortunate play that resulted in a torn ACL for Higbee.
Even in his defense of Joseph on Wednesday, with a similar hit by Joseph also injuring Vikings' tight end T.J. Hockenson a few weeks before, Lions head coach Dan Campbell acknowledged a fundamental flaw in Joseph's tackling technique.
"Just keep your head up, see what you hit," Campbell said. "That will always be what I tell Kerby. Just keep your eyes up so you don't hit on the crown of your helmet. You (compress) your spine, you mess yourself up there. Just see what you hit. No, he's going for the thigh board and staying away from the head. That's how we play defense here — not dirty, it's just where we hit."
After the play, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford could be seen exchanging words with Joseph. It pretty clearly wasn't a pleasant exchange, and now we know what was said.
Matthew Stafford pulls no punches to call out Kerby Joseph for 'dirty' hit
Stafford was mic'd up last Sunday night, as could have been expected in his much-ballyhooed return to Detroit.
At around the 4:45 mark of the video below, the fateful play happens and Stafford runs toward Joseph.
"Hey! Hey! Hey, that’s a good hit. That’s a good hit, (but) you’re dirty as f*ck, though, and you know it,” Stafford said. “You’re dirty as f*ck. It’s been on tape. I’ve seen it. Hey, it’s been on tape.”
Joseph's response is hard to decipher, but he appears to say "Aww, come on man", (h/t to Jeremy Reisman of Pride of Detroit for better ears than I have), with the flex pose we've seen from the angle behind Stafford.
The tape Stafford likely referring to is the Hockenson hit from Christmas Eve. But a deeper dive looking at the season as a whole might show some other odd low hits attempted by Joseph, which harkens back to Campbell's "see what you hit" comment.