If Dalton is able to play and when I say play, I mean play at a competitive level, he needs to be in the game. Even if he is 70% he needs to be in there. My coach always told us players that we play hurt but not play injured. A deep muscle contusion hurts like crazy and yes it will probably have an effect on throws he makes but a muscle contusion is not at a serious risk of getting worse such as a dislocated shoulder or severely sprained ankle. Yes, it is more tender and vulnerable but very unlikely to get worse.
The two main reasons Dalton needs to play Sunday is
1.) He will always be dinged up in this league and needs to learn how to play through adversity (at the NFL level.) Because what happens when in three years we are in contention and something similar happens. Do we play a Joe Shmo like Gradkowski or do we stick with our guy when games truly matter? Ask Peyton Manning and Brett Farve all of the injuries they played through to achieve their playing streak. And when those important games do come and Dalton is dinged up, he can look back at how he went through something similar before and trust me, this could do wonders for his future confidence.
2.) I know it'd likely only be for one game but Dalton needs to know he is the guy not matter what. And playing the backup when there is a slight chance he could go, believe it or not, takes a tole on Dalton's morale. Especially if Gradkowski does decent, just look at what happened to Brady Quinn in Cleveland when Derek Anderson had a decent year. Now look at where both of them are, (the garbage). Now on the other hand, look at Matt Ryan, he knew he was the guy since day one no matter what and that is how Dalton needs to feel. Now I know Matt Ryan is better than Brady Quinn but who knows how Quinn would have done if the situation was handled differently.
Now yes if Dalton cant play at a competitive level he needs to sit out but also confirmed that even if Gradkowski has a Tom Brady Monday Night Game he is the guy the following week. Dalton is our future and this current situation could stunt or accelerate his growth as a professional.