Gruden Speaks: He's tired of Simms questions

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden wasn't pleased with a question about backup quarterback Chris Simms and a possible move to the injured reserve — if he continues to not play in the preseason. Plus, as always, a link to our premium service, which is Gruden's entire press conference on Wednesday.

Jeff Garcia is the starter, and Luke McCown is the backup. But all anyone seemed to want to talk about Wednesday morning after practice was Chris Simms.

Questions about the third-string quarterback seemed to grate at head coach Jon Gruden, who took a verbal swipe at the insinuation that the Buccaneers might be seeking to put Simms on injured reserve, a move that would end the fifth-year quarterback's season.

"I'm tired about talking about it," Gruden said to the media after a workout in the Milk House. "Everyday you see him. He's out here practicing. He's healthy. Why the hell would he go on I.R.? I don't understand why [he would go on I.R.], he's practicing. I'm not trying to mislead anyone. We have cleared him to practice. If he were injured, he wouldn't be practicing and throwing 125 balls a day. It's the performance that needs to improve. I'm confident in time it will. He has been inactive for a long period of time. That's all I'm going to say. It's a work in progress. Right now he's behind and knows that and we'll adjust accordingly."

After missing several days of workouts due to a sore throwing elbow, Simms has slowly been inserted back into the quarterback rotation over the past week. He worked last week as the scout team quarterback — a normal duty of the third-string passer — and has seen work with the scout team this week, as well.

The Buccaneers are preparing for Saturday's preseason game against Jacksonville, a game that Gruden hopes Simms would be ready to play in. "I'm not going to stir headlines up here," Gruden said. "He is a great kid and he has played a lot of football here. He had a serious injury. We're moving on right now with the preseason, and when Chris is ready to go you'll see him. Hopefully, [that's] a little bit Saturday night in Jacksonville, but right now as I said it's a work in progress. He's clearly behind but he could catch up."

Wednesday morning's workout was held in the Milk House, the large gymnasium adjacent to their practice fields at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. The practice was an extended walkthrough designed to give the players some rest. They headed out to the practice field for the afternoon workout, the next to last workout before camp breaks on Thursday.

Gruden said he moves Wednesday's workout indoors because the past four practices had heat indexes of 100 or more. Seventeen players were forced to take IV fluids after Tuesday's workouts.

"That was the biggest thing," Gruden said. "Let these guys replenish their fluids a little bit."

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Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors.

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