|Bears FS Chris Conte thinks the NFL needs to retool its fine system. He got dinged for $21,500 for a hit he says was nowhere near as bad as the $30,000 hit that Texans LB Tim Dobbins put on Jay Cutler. (US Presswire)|
Bears FS Chris Conte was in head-scratching mode over NFL fines and suspensions protocol after hearing about the $30,000 fine that Houston LB Tim Dobbins received for delivering a concussion-causing helmet-to-helmet blow to Bears QB Jay Cutler.
Conte was fined $21,500 a week earlier for his blow to the head of defenseless Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell.
"Mine was nothing compared to that one," Conte said.
Conte made contact with LaFell's head by accident, as LaFell appeared to lower his head at the last second and initiated the contact. Dobbins actually made helmet-to-helmet contact with a quarterback, according to officials, and got fined only $8,500 more with no suspension.
"I don't know the scale they go off of," Conte said, "How much contact means how much money? I don't know. But it kind of just shows the system is kind of off."
Conte had filed an appeal on his suspension but hasn't yet heard back from the league.
Early polling: DT Henry Melton admits he was walking on clouds when he saw he was leading in fan Pro Bowl balloting for NFC defensive tackles. "I saw that on Twitter. I got a little excited, like a little kid. But you can't let it go to your head and you can't get too excited about it. It is still early and there are a lot of games left to be played."
Melton has had a past of playing well, then sputtering. He has four sacks this year but only one in the last five games. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, perhaps mindful that Melton's head is easily turned, didn't exactly sing the praises of his three-technique tackle.
"He's doing a solid job, just doing a good, solid job," Marinelli said. "Leave it at that."
Injury update: WR Alshon Jeffery went through his first full practice since suffering a fractured hand Oct. 7 and looks good for a return Monday in San Francisco. ... DE Shea McClellin (concussion) and DT Matt Toeaina (calf) did not practice. If McClellin and Toeaina do not play, it could mean the first playing time for DE Cheta Ozougwu, who had three preseason sacks.
Damn the stats, full speed ahead: Offensive coordinator Mike Tice, creator of the Randy Ratio, is always good for looking at stats. Not this week.
"It's not the time now for even me, a Brian Billick stat guy, to be staring at stats or a lack of stats," he said. "What we have to do is win football games any way we can win them."
Tice may not want to look at those stats for a reason: The Bears offense is now ranked 28th overall and 30th in passing.
Follow Bears reporter Gene Chamberlain on Twitter @CBSBears.