Players just know, often better than coaches. So I went privately, no pen or recorder operating, to several offensive players to get some sense of what they might have seen in Jay Cutler that would have hinted at a concussion.
Nothing. And these are people I trust, some of the same ones who told me after the NFC Championship game, with the furor over whether Cutler really had a knee injury, that Cutlers knee was wobbling visibly while he was just standing in the huddle calling plays. They were bewildered and irate at questions, particularly ones from players, over Cutlers toughness,
So it was telling that three different members of the offense told CSNChicago.com that they were genuinely surprised when word came the Jason Campbell would take over for Cutler after halftime in the wake of the Tim Dobbins hit.
All of which lent unintended credibility to coach Lovie Smiths account that Cutler exhibited no symptoms of head injury before the team was in the locker room at halftime. The same was not the case with Shea McClellin when the rookie defensive end jogged groggily off the field one play into the Houston game with a concussion of his own.
The Bears and even the NFL could be called on failure to properly handle a concussion situation. Right now that doesnt appear to have been the case, based on eyewitness accounts from up close.
Should Cutler have been pulled after the Dobbins blow and Cutlers staying down for some moments after the hit? Based on what? That he was hit hard? That could mean pulling any player slow to get up after a play. A gray area for sure but it always is where gray matter is concerned.
Different town, same tune
Jim Harbaugh was entertaining some of the same questions posed to Smith when the San Francisco coach and former Bears quarterback talked Monday about the condition of quarterback Alex Smith.
Smith was pulled after suffering a concussion, signs of which included blurred vision. Smith was still showing positive concussion symptoms on Monday, making him an early longshot to play against the Bears next Monday.
Smith said that he had the blurred vision after he got up from a quarterback sneak, which was maybe two possessions after the hit to the back of the head believed to be the blow responsible, and that was a good-sized hit, Harbaugh said. Our doctors were good. They were very proactive on that hit. They watched it on the monitors and Alex had no symptoms after that hit. He was cleared to play. So I think our doctors handled it very well.