Peyton Manning may not be a fan, but head coach Bill O'Brien is enjoying coaching second-year safety D.J. Swearinger.
"The way he plays the game, he's an emotional guy," O'Brien said Sunday. "He's a guy that loves football and that's what I love about him. From the day we arrived here, he was one of the first guys in the building, worked hard in our weight room, worked hard out on the practice field in OTAs, has worked extremely hard to get better in training camp, and he's an emotional guy. That's something that I think every team needs, some emotion."
O'Brien referred to Swearinger's hit on Broncos receiver Wes Welker in Saturday night's game, which spurred the exchange between Manning and the Texans safety. Swearinger was flagged for unnecessary roughness after making contact with Welker's helmet late in the second quarter. Welker left the game with a concussion following the play.
"That particular play was a tough play," O'Brien said. "He did go in there with his shoulder, but the way that Welk (Welker) ended up trying to catch that ball, he went down and the angle changed at the last second so that D.J.'s shoulder and the V of the neck hit Welker at the same time in the head. D.J. was not trying to do any harm; he was trying to make the play and make the tackle. I think that the call was correct, but it changed at the last second on him and it was a tough play for him."
While O'Brien discussed the importance of showing players proper tackling techniques to avoid head collisions, he did appreciate Swearinger's effort. He also pointed to himself as someone who could let his emotions get the best of him during a game.
"Just like all of us, I could point to myself last night, something I was barking at the referee that I probably shouldn't have been doing," O'Brien said. "We all need to understand how to reign in our emotions during a game and we all try to do that, but again, I think D.J. is playing hard, playing with good effort, and I'm enjoying having him on this team."