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Bills say Jarvis Landry's block was 'dirty,' should have been penalized

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Veteran defensive players for the Buffalo Bills spoke out Sunday against a block Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry made against Bills rookie cornerback Taron Johnson that was not penalized in Friday's preseason game.

Meanwhile, Johnson put blame on himself for not being aggressive enough on the 4-yard touchdown run by Cleveland running back Carlos Hyde in the first quarter. Johnson, a fourth-round pick from Weber State, said Landry later apologized to him.

Johnson was slow to get up after being blocked by Landry, who came from the outside part of the field and lowered his shoulder into the area of Johnson's head as the rookie cornerback pursued Hyde toward the sideline. Johnson walked off the field with athletic trainers but later returned to the game.

"Landry, he's a good receiver, physical guy, but some of those plays that he has -- Aaron Williams, Taron, I'm pretty sure he has other ones -- I just think they're dirty," Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said Sunday. "Coming from the outside of the box in, the league needs to do a better job of calling penalties on those types of plays. Obviously, defenders get called all the time on stuff that is probably less egregious than that. If we're going to protect our football players, we need to protect everybody, not just offensive guys.

"It was dirty at the end of the day, and that's how I feel about it."

Williams, a former safety for the Bills, suffered head and neck injuries on an illegal crackback block by Landry during a game in October 2016. Landry, then a member of the Miami Dolphins, was penalized for the play and fined $24,309. He later apologized to Williams, who did not play again before announcing his retirement in January.

Alexander, who is entering his 14th NFL season and is a member of the NFL Players Association's executive committee, called for rule changes to penalize more offensive players for dangerous plays.

"I don't go lobbying or calling the NFL up," Alexander said. "They need to go look at it like they do everybody else and make the right ruling on something like that. They talk about player safety, but for me, in my mind, it's err on caution of offensive guys, not defensive players. The margin needs to get a lot closer. You see it all the time. Whether it's that, the helmet rule, the running back lowering his head, getting cut, whatever it may be, but when a defensive player comes in, head up and trying to tackle a guy, [it's a] 15-yard [penalty], and he's a dirty player.

"So it needs to be held accountable on both sides of the ball, and Landry has been a guy who has been known to do this stuff on a consistent basis."

Johnson said Sunday that he should have "triggered faster" on the play.

"I just got to be more aggressive on that play. That's the main thing," Johnson said. "It's still football, at the end of the day. So stuff like that happens sometimes. I have no animosity toward him at all."

Bills sixth-year safety Micah Hyde also criticized Landry for the block.

"That's ridiculous," Hyde said Sunday. "Because if a defensive player does that to an offensive player, he's getting ejected. I don't care if he lowered his shoulder or not. He's coming all the way from No. 1, past the numbers and flying down onto the hashes and cleaning up somebody. That's the same as that play that Aaron Williams got hit on a couple years back and basically ruined his career.

"To me, that's B.S. You can't do that. All you have to do is get into position, screen him off. He doesn't have to come in and try to kill anybody."

Landry said before Sunday's practice in Berea, Ohio, that he takes pride in his blocking.

"I pride myself on being a complete receiver, and it takes those types of plays, making those types of blocks, or just a block period, to make sure Carlos could get in or Duke [Johnson], whoever's running the ball, or another receiver. It's important," he said.

Hyde also expressed frustration about NFL rule changes that he perceives to unfairly target defensive players. Hyde characterized the NFL's new helmet rule as an "automatic flag" against the defensive player when he "ducks his head" to tackle.

"These flags that are just being thrown," Hyde said. "It's a violent sport. We all understand that. We all signed up for it. I understand trying to make it safer, but they're doing a little bit too much with the head-to-head. I understand, going into tackle, get your head of the hit. But there's some circumstances where it just happens. It just really does. It doesn't even need to be a big hit. But it's helmet-to-helmet, and it's tough. It's all on the defensive players.

"There's going to continue to be head-to-head contact. We're wearing helmets for a reason. If they don't want head-to-head, put the leather ones back on and put flags on. It's going to happen. I'm not saying that it's OK. They're trying to make the game safer, I'm cool with that. I'm not putting it on the referees. I stand by the referees. But at the same time, I think the league might now be doing a little bit too much."

ESPN's Ryan Isley contributed to this report.