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Rival Report 9/14: Broncos players to be disciplined for illegal hits on Panthers QB Cam Newton

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL completely, utterly mishandled the concussion protocols in the 2016 season opener game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, but at least they are doling out the fines appropriately afterward. The Broncos were repeatedly head hunting Cam Newton throughout the game, and despite the lack of penalties called for the dirty hits there are fines being handed out.

Now after the fact, LB Brandon Marshall has been fined $23,430 and Darian Stewart $18,231. Darian Stewart's hit at least looks like he is attempting to use his shoulder and appears to be more accidental. Brandon Marshall's hit though is the epitome of head hunting with him launching directly for the head, he honestly could have been suspended for how nasty of a hit that was.

For those that missed the game, here is a short video from SB Nation showing several of the hits in question.

Obviously several of these hits should have been called penalties at the least and Cam Newton certainly should have been removed from the game to undergo the concussion protocols that are supposed to be in place. I guess they will only remove players if they are not the star player whose services to the team are more important to the league than the player's overall health.

At least they are making some amends after the fact by docking payments from both Brandon Marshall and Darian Stewart for their head shot tackles. Despite everybody that isn't a fan of the Broncos knowing that these were dirty hits, the players are still saying that they don't believe they were dirty.

"We just play hard, man. We hit hard. We play fast. We play faster than any defense in the league. Just because we hit Cam in the head a couple of times, that doesn't make us dirty. Look at some of the dirty plays in the league. There are a lot of dirty players, and that's not our M.O.," linebacker Brandon Marshall said in defense of his launching hit to Cam Newton's head.

They were just playing hard is what he'd have you believe, though every player is supposed to be playing hard and rarely do you see such obviously malicious hits from those players. I guess they are not playing hard enough? Or, maybe these hits are dirty and have no place in the NFL whatsoever. It's definitely one or the other anyway.

Broncos defenders adamant they don't play dirty - Mile High Report
Tongues are still wagging over the Broncos’ supposedly ‘dirty’ defense…

Report: NFL fines both Darian Stewart and Brandon Marshall for hits on Cam Newton - Mile High Report
The Denver Broncos defense got some fines handed down for the hard hitting play they put on display against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers

Goodell: Discipline Coming for "At Least One" Illegal Hit on Cam Newton - Cat Scratch Reader
The commissioner confirmed before the Monday Night game between the Steelers and Redskins that discipline will be handed down in response to the illegal hits that Newton sustained.

The NFL Didn't Follow Its Own Concussion Protocol For Cam Newton
So Cam Newton’s brain got pounded multiple times but he didn’t get checked for a concussion until after the game? Don’t worry, the NFL can explain everything (emphasis mine):

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DeMarcus Ware’s influence on the Broncos hasn’t waned despite his injury - Mile High Report
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Week 2 NFL odds: Chiefs are underdogs in Houston - Arrowhead Pride
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