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Coach: Bears handled Cutler concussion properly

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Coach: Bears handled Cutler concussion properly

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) Coach Lovie Smith said the Chicago Bears properly handled quarterback Jay Cutler's concussion on Sunday night.

Smith said trainers immediately examined Cutler during a replay review after he took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Houston's Tim Dobbins late in the second quarter of a 13-6 loss to the Texans.

He said Cutler showed no symptoms of a concussion immediately after the hit, so the quarterback finished out the half. Symptoms showed up at intermission and Cutler wound up sitting out the second half, putting his status for next Monday's game at San Francisco in question.

Cutler will need to pass neurological and psychological tests and be cleared by both his team doctors and an independent neurological consultant before he can return. The same goes for defensive end Shea McClellin, who left early in the game with a concussion. But unlike Cutler, he immediately showed symptoms.

Smith said both players were feeling ``a lot better'' on Monday.

``We do have a history with players, have a history with Jay, (former linebacker) Hunter Hillenmeyer,'' Smith said. ``Every football team has players that they've gone through with concussions. And that's not just with concussions. We do that with all of our players with any injury that they have. We'll never put a guy at risk. No game is that important for us. The player's health always comes first with everything we do.''

The retired Hillenmeyer was released after missing almost all of the 2010 season because of a concussion and is involved in a legal dispute with the Bears over how much money he's owed.

As for Cutler, the Bears believe the injury occurred on that hit from Dobbins with just under three minutes left in the quarter.

A scrambling Cutler had just unleashed a long pass on third down at midfield when he got drilled, resulting in an unnecessary roughness penalty. Cutler, who was shaken up on the play, also got called for an illegal forward pass because he was beyond the line of scrimmage, and the Bears challenged that call.

While the play was being reviewed, trainers examined Cutler on the sideline.

``It's not like he showed symptoms but we had a break in between,'' Smith said. ``Our trainers talked to him, evaluated him, he was fine from there. Players in the huddle didn't see anything wrong with him, at the time. Not just then, we just continued to talk to him all the way out, even through to halftime.''

Cutler wound up taking seven more snaps, throwing an interception on that drive and then playing the final possession of the half. Smith said the Bears continued to monitor their quarterback, but he didn't show symptoms until he was in the locker room.

Asked what the symptoms were, Smith said: ``I'm not gonna get into any of that. You can understand why. (It's) a part of our concussion protocol. I'm a coach, too. (The) medical staff went with him. They have a routine that they go through, that they put him through. Then they determine that.''

To that point, Smith said: ``If you look at his play, it's not like he was light on his feet or starry eyed, anything like that. We felt he was in control of everything, just like the rest of our players, at the time.''

Receiver Brandon Marshall said he didn't notice anything wrong with Cutler as he finished out the half. ``He seemed normal to me,'' he said.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said that while the league is reviewing Dobbins' hit, there are no issues with how the Bears handled the situation.

``The injury was properly handled by the Bears' medical staff,'' he wrote in an e-mail. He said the league reviews ``significant injuries'' with team medical staffs ``especially when they involve concussions.''

In October 2010, Cutler missed a game with a concussion after being sacked nine times in the first half of a loss at the New York Giants. He was inactive the following week at Carolina, and the Bears dropped the next two games with him out before regrouping to go on a run that carried them all the way to the NFC championship game.

On Sunday, backup quarterback Jason Campbell played the second half, throwing for 94 yards, and figures to start if Cutler isn't ready to play against the 49ers. The Bears might bring in another backup such as veteran Josh McCown, who played in three games for them last season and started the final two.

``We're looking at all our options at the quarterback position,'' Smith said. ``As I said, he's one of them. Of course, he played good football for us. We're familiar with him.''

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Need to Know: The forecast for Redskins Park today is a media circus

Need to Know: The forecast for Redskins Park today is a media circus

Here is what you need to know on Tuesday, August 21, three days before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

Looking at a few different topics this morning:

—What was going to be a normal, ho-hum Tuesday preseason practice at Redskins Park will now be on hyperdrive thanks to the addition of Adrian Peterson. After mostly ignoring the Redskins for most of the offseason the national media will turn out in force to chronicle the arrival of AD. Yes, it’s AD as in All Day as I was reminded by several Sooners on Twitter in the past few days. I suppose that now that he’s here I’d better get it right. 

Derrius Guice underwent surgery to repair his torn ACL yesterday (see his tweet below). I haven’t heard but I assume that someone will say that the surgery was a success. Looking at a recovery time of about nine months, Guice could be ready for the start of OTAs in mid-May. But given how cautious this organization tends to be with injuries during the offseason program, we may not see him on the field until training camp. 

—Speaking of injuries, there were over a dozen players who were not participating in practice on both Saturday and Sunday. As I noted here a couple of days ago Jay Gruden has become very tight-lipped when it comes to giving out information on injuries. And teams are not required to give out any injury information at all during the preseason. So it’s hard to sort out veterans’ days from players with minor injuries that are being rested because the game isn’t until Friday from injuries that are reasons for legitimate concern. The first injury report will come out two weeks from tomorrow, so we are mostly in the dark until then. 

—I’m hearing from fans and some in the media that undrafted free agent Cam Sims is a lock to make the 53-man roster. I would suggest pumping the brakes. He has a great opportunity and I have him on the 53 in my last prediction. But he has been erratic. The Jets preseason game, where he made a big-time error when he had a pass bounce out of his arms, turning a completion into an interception then made some key, acrobatic catches was essentially a microcosm of his training camp. He needs a strong finish both in practice and in the two remaining preseason games to get locked into a spot. A few plays like the botched reception and he could be on the outside looking in. 

—Montae Nicholson quietly had a good camp and he has played well in two preseason games (he was one of the few starters to play against the Patriots). He struggled in coverage in the early part of camp. The Redskins are changing their scheme to play left- and right-side safeties instead of free and strong. That means that Nicholson, who played free last year, had to learn the coverage responsibilities for both positions on both sides of the field. It took him some time to get up to speed and during that time it was not unusual to see Nicholson trailing behind a receiver who had a couple of steps on him. He is not immune to making mistakes or just getting beaten on occasion (news flash: NFL rules are set up for DBs to get burned). But he should get the job done most of the time and be the player the Redskins hope he will be. 

Bureau of statistics

Nicholson’s 40 time at the NFL Combine in 2017 was 4.42, the third fastest among safeties and tenth fastest Amon all defensive backs. 

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The agenda

Today: Practice at Redskins Park 1:00; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 3 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 11 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 19 days

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page,Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler


 

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Ravens hold on to another close preseason win in Week 2

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Ravens hold on to another close preseason win in Week 2

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Baltimore Ravens spoiled Andrew Luck's Indianapolis homecoming.

They picked him off before allowing a completion, and Terrell Suggs nearly chopped the ball out of Luck's hands on a sack. The Ravens then secured a 20-19 preseason win over the Colts by stopping a late 2-point conversion run.

Luck was just OK in his first home start since Jan. 1, 2017. But he did receive a roaring ovation from the crowd when he took the field, led the Colts to one score and apparently emerged unscathed after going down twice on sacks.

"Not too sharp, certainly red-zone turnovers are a negative, missed a couple of throws I'd like to hit," he said. "And I didn't feel like we, as an offense, got into any semblance of a sustained rhythm."

Expectations were high following a solid start in Seattle.

This time, the Colts (1-1) looked sloppy.

Luck missed his first three throws, the third winding up in the hands of Ravens safety Anthony Levine Jr. Luck rebounded to finish 6 of 13 for 50 yards and set up 45-year-old Adam Vinatieri for a 57-yard field before leaving in the second quarter.

If Luck had his way, he might have played longer. But first-year coach Frank Reich wasn't taking any chances with Luck's surgically repaired arm.

"We just never found a rhythm for him and some of his balls were not his best balls," he said. "But I still have a lot of confidence we're headed in the right direction."

Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens looked better.

Flacco went 7 of 9 for 72 yards and one touchdown. Jackson then showed flashes of what helped him win the 2016 Heisman Trophy.

Jackson was 7 of 15 for 49 yards and a TD and carried four times for 26 yards before giving way to another Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III, in the fourth quarter.

Indy still had a chance at the end after Tarell Basham recovered a fumble at the Ravens 9. Five plays later, Phillip Walker threw a 9-yard TD pass to Zach Pascal with 2:24 left. But the Ravens (3-0) stopped Walker on the 2-point try, recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

"Happy to get the win," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We did a lot of things that weren't winning football, especially in the second half."

The Ravens made it tough on Indy all night.

They stopped Indy twice in the red zone and nearly had a third when Jordan Wilkins fumbled the ball into the end zone, where it bounced right into the hands of receiver Chester Rogers.

Flacco gave the Ravens a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter when he hooked up with John Brown on a 7-yard score, and Jackson's masterful hurry-up drive at the end of the first half ended with Justin Tucker's 38-yard field goal with 2 seconds left.

When Colts rookie Nyheim Hines fumbled away the opening kickoff of the second half, Jackson hooked up with Chris Moore on a 7-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.