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Simms Takes One For The Team

Posted Oct 11, 2007 by Roy Cummings

Updated Oct 11, 2007 at 11:38 AM


TAMPA - Bucs fans shouldn’t be surprised that Chris Simms landed on the injured reserve list this week. They should be shocked.

Haven’t the Bucs been telling their fans for months now that Simms is not injured; that while he’s not throwing the ball very well it’s not because he’s injured? I’m pretty sure that’s what they’ve been telling them.

I’m pretty sure that at one point during the whole Simms saga, Bucs coach Jon Gruden responded to a question about Simms possibly landing on injured reserve by saying that Simms can’t go on injured reserve because he’s not injured.

Well, if Simms is only struggling to regain his form, as Bucs general manager Bruce Allen suggested on Tuesday, and he’s not injured, then why is he on injured reserve?

The answer is simple. The Bucs needed a roster spot and they asked Simms to take another one for the team and give his up so they could sign a running back to replace Michael Pittman.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Simms probably wasn’t going to play this year anyway, and so the Bucs were finally able to use his slow recovery from last year’s splenectomy to good use.

You can’t help but wonder, though, if the Bucs couldn’t have gone about this whole thing a little bit differently, if maybe they could have been just a little more forthcoming through it all.

Even when Simms was telling anyone who wanted to listen that his elbow was sore, the Bucs were telling anyone who wanted to listen that he was fine and had no health issues.

Why? Did they want to create the impression Simms was fine so as not to diminish his trade value? Did they think someone would take Simms off their hands if they could just convince someone he’s healthy?

Or did someone have a plan to simply cut a ‘‘healthy’’ Simms until that someone was told by a higher authority that Simms was in fact an asset to the team and under no circumstances would he be cut.

One of the aforementioned scenarios seems to have been the case. If not, then why not just say from the beginning that Simms was struggling to come back from his surgery and needed time to get his form back?

Had the Bucs taken that stance they could have placed Simms on either IR or the physically unable to perform list and kept the spare running back they eventually had to scramble to sign on Tuesday.

Not only that, but had the Bucs taken that stance their integrity would still be intact. As it is, it remains a little shaky.

MIKED UP: If you missed the ‘‘miked-up’’ feature ESPN did with Gruden and quarterback Jeff Garcia last Sunday you missed four of the most entertaining minutes of television all year.

The segment was taped during the Bucs preseason game against Jacksonville, which was the second game they played after learning that FB Mike Alstott was going to miss the season with a neck injury.

During one segment Gruden addressed Alstott replacement Michael Pittman, saying ‘‘You’re the fullback now and you’re breaking out of that huddle like me, like you don’t know what your doing.’‘

Another highlight included Gruden telling an associate on the sideline, ‘‘We look like the Bad News Bears out there right now.’‘

The best, though, might have been when Gruden addressed WR Maurice Stovall, saying, ‘‘You’re 6-foot-5 – er 6-foot-3. When I get done with you you’re going be 5-foot-9.’’ He then proceeded to punch Stovall in the chest.

Great stuff. Much better than what you get in most ‘‘miked-up’’ segments. Really, a lot of those ‘‘sounds of the game’’ things that are produced these days are just play silly.

You get lots of ‘‘sounds’’ such as the sound of someone’s shoulder pads hitting someone else’s shoulder pads, lots of groans and a lot of insider comments such as ‘‘C’mon boys.’’ This was different. This was entertaining.

ODDS AND ENDS: Last week’s effort at Indianapolis not withstanding, you have to like the way the Bucs offensive line is coming along. It’s still too early to tell how good it’s going to be in pass protection but in terms of run blocking these guys are solid. The interior, with left guard Arron Sears and right guard Davin Joseph, is exceptionally strong. Running behind those guys, a back such as Earnest Graham should have plenty of success. Graham is not exceptionally fast, but he’s got some power. Given their personnel, my guess is you’re going to see fewer sweeps and pitch-outs and more straight ahead running by the Bucs backs. ... While we’re on the subject of the running game, I wouldn’t be surprised to see B.J. Askew get a lot more work over the course of the next few weeks. And not just as a fullback either. Askew was a fairly effective runner during his college days at Michigan and he has the power a player needs to make some yards in the NFL. He doesn’t have great speed but he could be for the Bucs what Mike Alstott was – a guy who wears teams down late in games. ... This could be the kiss of death, but I get the felling rookie DE Gaines Adams is starting to come around. He’s practicing a lot harder and he’s starting to show up on game day a little more often. He’s still not the player the Bucs hoped he’d be but he’s slowly getting there.