Keeping (the) Score: QBs and changes to the game of football


Keeping (the) Score: QBs and changes to the game of football

Thursdays regular 10 a.m. visit with Danny and Spiegs on WSCR 670 AMs The McNeil & Spiegel Show started to look a little past all of the concussion maelstrom and at the San Francisco 49ers game looming next Monday.

Looming is probably a good word for it.

49ers quarterback Alex Smith is looking to be a probable for the game, having been cleared for non-contact work following his concussion last weekend against the St. Louis Rams.

Jay Cutler has not been and the surprise will be if he is not declared out as early as Thursday both for his protection and for the Bears to make a statement that they arent going to risk a second concussion eight days after the first.

That means Jason Campbell as the Bears starting quarterback, with Josh McCown as his reserve. Mac was a little surprised at the lack of expressed concern over Campbell in place of a starting quarterback for the Bears, but my sense is that Campbell is not just any backup.

We talked a little about players reactions on the differences in delivery between Campbell (timing-oriented) and Cutler (when I see you getting open, here it comes in a hurry!). I also mentioned that I have never seen a chemistry among quarterbacks like the one Cutler, Campbell and McCown, where the whole is clearly better than the sum of the parts because of the support mindset in the quarterbacks room. McCown makes Campbell better.

The guys mentioned Mully and Hanley Show host Mike Mulligan talking earlier about changes coming in the game because of injuries like the ones to the three quarterbacks last weekend (Cutler, Smith, Michael Vick). I agree that there will be changes but I do think this will take at least a generation to change.

In football a generation means maybe 10 NFL years with accompanying changes in the feeder system of college. The awareness is growing among players but too many of them still regard hits to the knee more egregious than ones to the head.

I mentioned Brian Urlachers comments that for some reason the NFL thinks its OK to cut the knees, which can end a career, but not OK to hit the head, which maybe costs a player a week or two.

The knee worry is understood. But a blown ACL, for example, does not end a career. Just ask Adrian Peterson up in Minnesota, who had a monster knee injury last December. Or ask Corey Wootton, whose knee injuries started at Northwestern, held him back, but he now is a very, very productive impact player. So that thinking needs to adjust.

The change will be when players realize that concussions cost a lot, lot more.

We touched on the blow delivered to Cutler by Houston linebacker Tim Dobbins, who the guys mentioned as being proud of his knockout blows. Dobbins got a 30,000 fine; I thought he should have been suspended for a clearly premeditated, avoidable blow to mans head.

Watching the hit, all I could think of was Jack Tatums premeditated, avoidable blow to Darryl Stingley. What do you think the late Chicagoan and New England receiver would tell Urlacher and current players about whether blows to the head or knee are more devastating?

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks give up season-high seven goals

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks give up season-high seven goals

Here are some of Saturday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Jonathan Marchessault's hat trick leads Panthers rout of Blackhawks

Javier Baez won’t change his style around Cubs after World Baseball Classic: ‘We’re not showing anybody up’

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

Marian Hossa named Blackhawks' nominee for 2017 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Brett Anderson’s personality mixing well with Cubs: ‘I don’t hate anybody yet’

Former Bulls center Joakim Noah suspended 20 games for violating NBA's anti-drug policy

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

Joe Maddon breaks down the Matt Szczur vs. Tommy La Stella decision for Cubs

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Illinois OLB Dawuane Smoot

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Toronto Raptors tonight on CSN and streaming live on Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Can the Bulls get one on the Bucks? The Bulls are 0-3 against the Bucks so far this season and it hasn't been pretty. The Bucks have won the previous three meetings all by double digits and by an average of 19 points. The youth and athleticism of the Bucks has been a tough matchup for the Bulls so far.

2. Containing Giannis. There may be no stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Bulls can at least try to contain him. Antetokounmpo is averaging 23 points and nearly nine rebounds per game. In three games against the Bulls this year he has averaged 29 points, 10 rebounds and 7.3 assists per contest. If the Bulls are to stay in the game, they will need to keep him to numbers lower than that.

3. Playoff implications. The Bulls playoff hopes are still alive with nine games remaining, but things are looking a bit bleak. The Bulls are a game and a half out of the eighth playoff spot, but only 3.5 games behind two teams tied for the No. 5 seed, the Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks have won three in a row to improve their position.

4. Mirotic on a roll. Streaky play is nothing new to Nikola Mirotic, but he's on a good run currently. After scoring a season-high 28 points on Wednesday against the Pistons, Mirotic followed that up with 15 points against the 76ers. Since missing three straight games earlier this month, Mirotic has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games and is averaging 15.6 points during that stretch.

5. Beginning of a tough stretch. The Bulls' playoff hopes could be made or broken in the next three games. After taking on the Bucks, which occupy a playoff spot, the Bulls host two more Eastern Conference playoff teams in Cleveland and Atlanta. The Bulls need to string some wins together and this is not an easy stretch to do so against.

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- Latest on the Bulls: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Bulls fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Bulls Pulse