Chicago Bears: Tim Dobbins

Source: Dobbins fined $30K for Cutler hit

November, 14, 2012
The NFL fined Houston Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins $30,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit last Sunday on Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Read the entire story.

Free Head Exam: Chicago Bears

November, 12, 2012
After the Chicago Bears' 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans, here are three issues that merit further examination:

  1. Free Head Exam
    Bears coach Lovie Smith acknowledged Monday that "we think" quarterback Jay Cutler suffered his concussion on a hit by Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins with 2:30 remaining in the first half on Sunday night. So why did Cutler remain in the game? Smith insisted that he was evaluated by the team's medical staff before the next play and did not show any concussion symptoms until halftime. According to Smith, that's why Cutler played seven more snaps over two possessions. "Our trainer talked to him, evaluated him, and he was fine from there," Smith said. "Players from the huddle didn't see anything wrong with him. Not just then. We continued to talk to him all the way out until halftime. … If you look at his play, it's not like he was light on his feet or starry-eyed or anything like that. We felt like he was in control of everything." There are two options here. One is that the Bears fell short on their medical protocol, either failing to examine Cutler thoroughly or making an inaccurate initial diagnosis. The other is that Cutler had a relatively minor concussion that didn't present right away. Regardless, given the concussion climate in today's NFL, it's fair to consider Cutler questionable at best for next Monday's game against the San Francisco 49ers.
  2. Going back to Week 7 of last season, the Bears are 12-1 in games Cutler starts and finishes and 1-6 in those he either doesn't play or leaves early. That's precisely why the Bears spent $3.5 million to sign Jason Campbell this offseason, hoping that he could bridge any Cutler absence better than Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown did last season. Replacing Cutler at halftime of a bad-weather game against a tough opponent was far from ideal, but as Smith said, "that's why you bring in a veteran like Jason Campbell." You can only assume Campbell will look more comfortable with a week of preparation, but it's not unheard of for a premium backup to play better under unexpected circumstances than Campbell did. He was exceedingly cautious, attempting only two passes that traveled more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. He also had trouble against the Texans' blitz, completing only three of 10 passes when they brought at least five pass-rushers.
  3. The Bears' defense did a fine job against Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, holding him to 14 completions and 95 total yards. But the Texans were able to run the ball much better than anticipated. Tailback Arian Foster was one of the few runners to beat the Bears to the outside, gaining 45 of his 102 yards outside the tackles, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In their first seven games, the Bears defense allowed only 107 total yards outside the tackles. Just something to keep an eye on.
And here is one issue I still don't get:
Normally I'm in favor of a "number count" approach to calling offense. If the defense is lined up to stop the run, you pass. Likewise, if the defense is aligned to stop the pass, you run. But considering Sunday night's rain and wind, it was surprising to see the Bears throw so much in the first half while Cutler was in the game. Cutler dropped back on 17 of his 25 first-half plays. He threw 14 passes and scrambled three times. Meanwhile, Matt Forte and Michael Bush combined for 22 yards on eight carries. Whether or not the Bears should be able to throw in the rain and wind, and regardless of the advantage receivers should have in unsure footing, it became clear pretty early that the Bears were having trouble throwing. How bad? Cutler completed only one pass that traveled more than five yards past the line of scrimmage (in eight attempts). You don't normally want to force the run, but in this case I'm not sure why the Bears were so willing to throw.

NFC North Week 10 Quarterback Report

November, 12, 2012
Let's take a closer look at NFC North quarterback play in Week 10, which didn't include an idle Aaron Rodgers but did feature extended play by a backup in one division locale. Thanks again to ESPN statistics analyst Jacob Nitzberg for his help in interpreting the Total Quarterback Rating.

Christian Ponder
Passer rating: 114.2
QBR: 90.0
Action plays: 42
Comment: Ponder's QBR was a career high, mostly because he opened with a game-changing play -- a 54-yard deep post to receiver Jarius Wright -- to put his team in position for an early lead. After that, he was efficient and nearly mistake-free. Although he didn't attempt a pass that traveled more than 14 yards downfield after the big throw, Ponder completed eight of 10 third-down passes overall. He didn't commit a turnover and took only one sack. How successful can the Vikings be when Ponder simply plays at an average level? This season, they are 5-0 when his QBR is above 50 (considered exactly average). They are 1-4 when it has been below 50.

Matthew Stafford
Passer rating: 104.2
QBR: 65.9
Action plays: 50
Comment: The entire Lions offense had a rough go of it in the first half, and Stafford's role was throwing a first-quarter interception and taking two sacks on third down. He rallied in the second half, completing six of seven passes that traveled at least 15 yards in the air, but by then the Lions were too far behind for him to fashion one of his signature fourth-quarter comebacks.

Jason Campbell
Passer rating: 70.9
QBR: 21.7
Action plays: 23
Comment: During the final 11 minutes, 45 seconds Sunday night, Campbell was too careful. With the Bears trailing by a touchdown, he attempted only two passes that traveled more than 10 yards in the air. Both fell incomplete. The Texans also knocked him off stride with their blitz, against which he completed only three of 10 passes -- including none of his four when the Texans rushed a defensive back. Campbell looked uncomfortable throughout, and he implied afterwards he would be better with a week's worth of practice with the first team. We'll see if he gets it this week.

Jay Cutler
Passer rating: 16.7
QBR: 20.7
Action plays: 17
Comment: In the rain and wind Sunday night, it was surprising to see Cutler and the Chicago Bears throw as much as they did in the first half. Cutler completed half of his 14 throws, but two others were intercepted. Cutler did have three nice scrambles that totaled 37 yards, and he was out of the pocket on the play that presumably caused his interception. But the blame for that hit doesn't go to Cutler for recklessly scrambling or the Bears for calling a pass. It was a flat-out illegal hit by Houston linebacker Tim Dobbins.