Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 10/5/12

The Titans defense has struggled mightily this season, and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray is not happy about it. Tennessee’s pass defense ranks 27th in the NFL and has allowed opponents to throw for 285 yards per game through the first four weeks. Gray sees this as a reflection of his players not protecting the middle of the field, and he wants them to do so without worrying about getting fined.

“If you are worrying about that, you are not going to go out and try and blow the guy up,” Gray said Thursday according to the Tennesseean. “Great football players have to put that out of their mind. You have to say, ‘This is my territory between the numbers, and if you throw the football you better bring the Gator truck. And that’s how you have to play. You can’t play timid in the NFL.”

By referring to the Gator truck, Gray is talking about the green cart that comes out to take a player who is seriously injured off the field. In the wake of the Saints bounty scandal, that is obviously a poor choice of words when his intention was to tell his players they need to toughen up.

As Pro Football Talk pointed out, Gray used to work under Gregg Williams. If you have to tell your players to injure opponents and not worry about fines, do it at a time when you aren’t going to be quoted in the local newspaper for saying it. With the NFL placing an emphasis on player safety — or at least attempting to — coaches need to work harder than ever to keep stuff like this private.

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