Ask the expert: Jerry Angelo

by Gary Shelton on August 19, 2016 · 1 comment

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Jerry Angelo is a former personnel director for the Bucs and former general manager of the Bears. Each week, Angelo answers your questions regarding the NFL. Send your questions to with "ask the expert'' in the subject line. The most interesting question will be selected.

Friday, 6 a.m.

The Dallas Cowboys say they don’t need a veteran backup quarterback because of rookie Dak Prescott. How much does a team that wants to contend need a veteran backup?

I’ve never been a fan of going into a season without an experienced veteran backup at the quarterback position. Most of the time if your starter goes down, your chances of winning greatly diminish.

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Saying that, you still have a chance to win if you have a strong supporting cast around your back-up QB and can play good defense and special teams. I’ve seen it, been part of it and know it can work.  But the guy under center has to be a guy who understands that he isn’t in there to win it, as much as he is not to lose it. That’s the key for any good back-up at QB. Just don’t lose it.

It’s been my experience that can happen only with a guy who has been battle-tested and knows who he is. A young guy doesn’t know who he is. He’s out there trying to prove himself. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s usually at the expense of the team.

I’m not a big fan of the Cowboys in terms of their organizational philosophy. They do more shooting from the hip than most clubs. They think like a gunslinger and most of their seasons wind up on boot hill, if you know what I mean.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has been hospitalized with stomach pain. When you consider the hours, the pressure, the horrible eating habits, is it a miracle that more coaches don’t have health problems?

Coaches have a very tough job. The hours, the stress, their diets, all can have a negative impact on their health. But they know that. It’s been well documented by their predecessors over many years.

To let yourself fall into that trap is foolish. It’s an excuse, in my opinion,  given all the knowledge and medical staff that’s at your disposal, particularly in pro sports. It takes a certain amount of discipline and will power to take care yourself. You ask it of your players, so it’s not something you don’t understand the importance of. I have sympathy for anyone who has health issues. But it’s incumbent upon all of us, particularly coaches, who are at a higher risk given their occupation, to safe guard themselves from that happening.

The Rams’ William Hayes said he doesn’t believe dinosaurs existed, but he thinks mermaids may have been possible. Ever have a player, away from the field, believe in something so silly?

I’m sure there have been, probably a good handful, but they didn’t advertise it. Because they knew when you say something that may be construed as stupid, it forever will stay with you, so you say nothing. We know one thing for sure, there is no Shakespeare in this William!

The Bucs spent a lot of money on guard J.R. Sweezy. With Sweezy out for the first five weeks, how much does that sort of signing come down on the front office?

You can’t blame anyone. When you sign a player there are no guarantees.

What I would say: if you sign a player for big money you better know for sure there are no durability concerns, character concerns or a pattern of underachieving. If so, that’s on the front office and coaching staff. I’m not saying you can't sign any of those types, but you, as a club, have to have the leverage. What’s leverage? It's where you can cut them without any serious cap ramifications if he doesn’t work out.

When you pay a player big money, you become a hostage to him, because if things don’t work out. He knows one thing for sure: he isn’t going anywhere. So you better think long and hard about who you pay.


Patrick Chung: Overrated. Has talent, but not the grey matter (instincts) you need to play consistently.

Allen Robinson: Underrated. Competitive with size and talent.

Matt Ryan: Overrated. More stats than wins.

LeSean McCoy: Underrated. You can build an offense around him. A three-down back. 

LeGarrette Blount: Underrated. A work horse who doesn’t get the credit he deserves because of his lack of character.

The Jags are talking about how much they have to prove in this week’s joint practices against the Bucs. Can a team hone its mental edge in such practices, or are they just double practices?

There is nothing to prove. The benefit of working out with another team is you get to see more players in game-like situations. It’s a great opportunity to evaluate your younger players. That’s about it.

I’m not minimizing the benefits, but it’s not the end all. Teams that are desperate, like the Jags, will over-analyze most any opportunity, because that comes with losing. 

I find Jerry Jones amusing, but now I see the Cowboys owner is up for the Hall of Fame next year. Except for hiring Jimmy Johnson, am I missing the reasons why?

Putting him in Canton would be a disgrace to everyone who earned the right to be there. It goes to show you that the NFL is about show biz and Jerry Jones is the biggest P.T. Barnum this side of the Mississippi. Surly the HOF committee can’t be a panel of suckers!

Buffalo’s Marcell Darius will miss another opener after another drug suspension. If he played for you, how would handle a player you can’t count on?

You remove him from your squad. You trade him. You can’t win with him, because he is self-centered and driven by his vices. You can’t have a positive identity as a football team when you have players that have more faces than Sybil.

For today’s franchise-best question, we come to the Houston Texans. Is their best player ever:

a. Andre Johnson

b. Arian Foster

c. J.J. Watt

d. DeMeco Ryans

e. Mario Williams

Watt. He’s a super star. The next Reggie White.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rick Martin August 19, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Enjoyable reading.


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