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Gruden too tough on his players?

After Chris Simms endured a brutal hit in the second quarter which ruptured his spleen, Simms sat out a few possessions, but later reentered the game.  Obviously Simms held the final decision of whether or not he would return to the field, but his coach, Jon Gruden, should be held equally accountable.

Gruden, always proponent of hardnosed, smashmouth football, expects a certain intensity from his players: you either play hard or you don't play at all.  Simms, who was flirting with being replaced as the starting quarterback after the Buc's miserable 0-2 start, must have felt an extreme amount of pressure to reenter the game.  Play with pain or give up your starting spot.  That's an easy decision for almost any NFL player.  Simms chose to continue playing, and he put himself in an extremely dangerous situation.

All speculation aside, a coach has to focus on winning ball games, but first and foremost he has to look out for the safety of his players.  In a post game press conference Gruden mentioned that Simms had been suffering from dehydration.  The fact that he was so completely out of touch with the situation indicates that Gruden's priorities might be slightly out of order.

Football is a war game.  You sacrifice yourself for the good of your team.  But Mr. Gruden, isn't kill or be killed just an expression?


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