Concussions are the NFL's biggest headache at the moment, and now the Atlanta Falcons will be worrying about it too.
Understand that this could have been worse. DeSean Jackson is facing a serious concussion and may have some short-term memory loss to go along with it. Dunta got his bell rung and, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter, is under "league protocol" requiring an independent doctor to verify he's okay to play. Considering the way Jackson and Robinson crashed together and then fell to the turf like rag dolls, we could be talking about paralysis. I truly hope both players suffer no lasting effects from their horrific collision.
The NFL is going to implement a suspension system for hits like this one and the more flagrant hits that the Steelers' James Harrison put on not one but two Browns receivers on Sunday. Unfortunately, this is just as likely to make players timid about hitting as it is to stop serious injuries from occurring. The best thing the NFL can do is develop better, safer gear for its players and work directly with players and coaches to make its rules clear. Suspensions may make people feel better, but they're really only going to slow down the intentional hits. The ones that were unfortunate mistakes—like Robinson's—aren't going to be solved by punishment after the fact.
But I'm no league official. All I can concentrate on now is Dunta, and I vote that the team hold him out of the Bengals game. A banged-up Dunta with a concussion is useless to the Falcons and he risks making things worse, so I hope the coaching staff sees fit to give him two weeks of rest with the bye approaching. The Falcons can survive a game without him, even one that could get ugly with Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens matching up against Brent Grimes and Chris Owens. Although Owens DID look pretty good against Owens last season, now that I think about.
After the jump, we'll talk about Sean Weatherspoon, who has already been ruled out for the upcoming game.
We've been told that 'Spoon's injury is not severe, so unless we're being screwed with—and Mike Smith is the illegitimate child of a Jedi and a wizard, so I'm not discounting that—the fact that he's out for the Bengals game indicates an abundance of caution on the part of the Falcons.
As I've said several times in recent weeks, Stephen Nicholas is a capable replacement. If Mike Peterson wasn't so darn endearing with his big eyes and his creaky run stopping, the Falcons might be starting him right now. So losing 'Spoon isn't going to kill this team, even if he's already achieving legendary status in Atlanta. It's just going to mean that the Falcons will have to nut up and stop Cedric Benson, who is hardly an unstoppable force behind an offensive line so patchwork a scarecrow would be embarrassed to wear it.
Hopefully, the Falcons can gut out the Bengals game without two of their talented defensive players. A little rest will ensure they're ready to make a difference in the second half of the season, and make no mistake, the team needs them.