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 GarySheltonsports@gmail.com with "ask the expert'' in the subject line. The most interesting questions will be selected.
Thursday, 4 a.m.
The end finally came for Rams’ coach Jeff Fisher, who hasn’t had a winning record since Jon Gruden was with the Bucs. Still, he’s been a mainstay in the NFL. I know it sounds silly to ask, but does he get another shot?
No. No head coach worked for more patient owners than Jeff Fisher. In a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business, Fisher was treated more than fair in terms of getting every opportunity to succeed.
His record speaks for itself. I don’t know of many head coaches who had as many losing seasons -- and consecutively -- as he did in the modern era and kept their job.
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At 58 years old, he made a lot of money with little to show for it in terms of winning seasons. That’s why they keep score.
Which of today’s top college coaches — Jim Harbaugh, Jimbo Fisher or Urban Meyer — are most likely to try to the pro game? And could any of them be successful?
Well, Harbaugh was successful with the 49ers. I think at some point he will return to the NFL.
I think any of the other coaches you mentioned can be successful, because they have proven track records at very demanding programs. There is little difference between the expectations of a major college coach and a head NFL coach. The biggest challenge college coaches have, from my perspective, is handling shared power.
Head coaches in college are in total control. They are the Caesars of their programs. They really answer to no one. That’s not the case at the next level. There are so many things happening at the next level that they have to rely on others to do and accept their verdicts. The problem comes when they don’t get there way, or like what they hear. They are used to having their way, as they did in college.
It is a much bigger adjustment than they think and that’s where the real problem takes root. In my opinion, they are much better off staying where they are. They are making as much or more money than most NFL head coaches. They have total control and are the face of their r3spective universities. What am I missing? Oh, it just came to me…EGO!
I’m not a guy who watches the Pro Bowl regularly. I don’t think a dodgeball game is going to tune me in. You?
I’m with you brother. I’d rather watch curling. It’s more lively and entertaining!
The Bucs’ have the NFL’s longest winning streak (tied with Detroit), and most of the attention has gone to the offense. But it’s the Bucs’ defense — which has allowed 64 points in the five games — that has been the difference. Is this team on a hot streak, or has it turned the corner?
This team is on a very hot streak and can beat anyone at this point. It’s because of their defense, and not turning the ball over, that has them where they are today. As long as they can play the type of defense they’re playing, why not the Bucs? I’m not totally sold on them, but they are playing good football and at the most perfect time of the year. Go Bucs!
Ryan Tannehill’s injured knee won’t require surgery, but did his injury cost the Dolphins their playoff hopes?
It may have. I haven’t seen their back up quarterback play yet. It’s not that I’m a fan of Tannehill’s, because I’m not. Their team is built to run the ball and play top notch defense. That’s how they are winning.
If the guy behind center can’t make a handful of first downs or turns the ball over, their fans will be watching the Bucs represent their state in the playoffs.
Hue Jackson says he wants Terrelle Pryor to stop trash-talking. For goodness sakes, how can a receiver from a winless team rip anyone?
He’s in a coma in terms of what’s going on with his team. I think he still thinks he’s in Columbus. Somebody needs to pinch this guy. But maybe that’s a bad idea, because he may put a bag over his head rather than a helmet. That’s the reality of playing in Cleveland.
During the Bucs’ five game winning streak, punter Bryan Anger has punted the ball inside the 20 nine times. How much hidden yardage has that helped Tampa Bay?
That is an unbelievable stat. Those hidden yards you are talking about are vital for the Bucs, particularly with their defense. It's one of the main reasons the Bucs are playing the kind of defense they are presently.
When offenses are backed up, their chances of scoring greatly diminish. That’s a proven fact. The punter is the defensive unit's best friend as the kicker is the offense's.
There are a lot of safeties on the Hall of Fame ballot. Forgetting that it’s hard for any safety to get to Canton, place this in order by your personal appreciation: Steve Atwater, Darren Woodson, John Lynch, Brian Dawkins.
I’m a Lynch fan. I respect the others, but John defined the position in my book. After him, it would be Dawkins and Woodson.
Forgetting Tampa Bay and Chicago, where you were a key member of the front office, what are your top stadiums in the NFL?
Seattle, Denver, Detroit, Minnesota, Kansas City -- those are tough places to play. You can hardly hear yourself. Passionate fans in a great environment, in uniquely designed stadiums, have you holding your ears when your team has the ball.
Rookie Ezekial Elliott leads the NFL in rushing. But who’s the best running back? Is it DeMarco Murray? Le’Veon Bell? David Johnson?
I like them all. They all carry the load for their offenses. They guy that is probably the most consistent, in my view, is Bell. He is an uncanny rusher. He is very patient and runs with great vision. When you’re talking about those guys they are all top runners, but Bell would be my flavor. And that’s what it comes down too with these guys: flavors.
Today’s best-of question involves a very young team: the Tennessee Titans. Is their best-ever player:
a) Chris Johnson
b) Bruce Matthews
c) Steve McNair
d) Jevon Kearse
3) Albert Haynesworth
Bruce Matthews is one of the greatest linemen to ever play. No linemen could play multiple positions like he did and be a pro bowler at any of them.
Tampa Bay at Dallas
Dallas isn’t going to lose two in a row. The Bucs really only need one more win and they are in.
Patriots at Broncos
Going with the Broncos. They are at the wall. It’s do or die.
Lions at Giants
The G-men are on a roll and need to win to get in.