Chicago Bears vs San Francisco 49ers: The Battle of the Concussed QBs

Bob WarjaSenior Writer INovember 13, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 11:  Cornerback Kareem Jackson #25 of the Houston Texans hits quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears in the first half during the game at Soldier Field on November 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A concussion is serious business, so I'm certainly not making light of the situation. Still, it seems odd that two QBs who left their respective games this past weekend with concussions could be battling against each other on Monday Night Football.

Yet it could very well be the case if Jay Cutler and Alex Smith are each deemed healthy enough to take the field on Monday. It's still early in the week, so there are no concrete decisions yet.

But here's betting that both QBs will push hard for the right to play, as each of their teams are coming off a weekend without a win, with the Bears losing to Houston and the Niners ending in a tie.

Plus, both QBs are staunch competitors. But it won't be their decision to make.

So just what goes into such a decision following a concussion? Well, first of all, the team must gauge how the player is doing, and as Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune reports, Lovie Smith says that Cutler is feeling "a lot better."

But McClure also reports that Smith went on to say that the Chicago Bears will be careful with Cutler, as he has had a history of concussions. "We'll never put a guy at risk,'' Smith said. "No game is that important for us. Of course the players have always come first with everything that we do.''

Cutler has had concussions with the Denver Broncos and while in college, and he missed a game in 2010 with the Bears after suffering a concussion against the New York Giants.

As for the San Francisco 49ers QB, ESPN is reporting that Smith had blurred vision during the game but is improved.

Again, the decision will not belong to Cutler or Smith. Each player will meet with a neurologist, who will work with the team in making the final determination. And with the game not being played until Monday, we may not know for sure about Smith until late into the weekend.

But we may know sooner about Cutler, since he is not likely to travel with the team to the West Coast if he is still experiencing symptoms.  

If Cutler can't go, Jason Campbell will get the start. Campbell looked rusty but fair on Sunday night against the Houston Texans, and he has experience starting in the league and should be in a better position than Smith's replacement with the Niners.

Colin Kaepernick would get the start if Smith can't go, and the 25-year-old QB is in his second year. While he has looked good in limited time this season, he is less experienced than Campbell.

Kaepernick has a strong arm but has never started an NFL game. He tossed just five passes in his rookie season last year. Going up against the Bears defense in front of a national television audience might be a lot to ask of the 6'4" Nevada-Reno product.

Even if both Cutler and Smith get the start on Monday, they will be monitored carefully. Concussions are no laughing matter, and it's definitely a factor in evaluating the Bears prospects going forward.