Ask the experts: Tim & Jerry

by Gary Shelton on October 26, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Here at GarySheltonsports.com, we have doubled our experts with the addition of former Bucs' personnel director and former Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell. He joins his old friend and co-worker Jerry Angelo, a former personnel director for the Bucs and former general manager of the Bears. Each week, Angelo and Ruskell answer 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 Bucs are 2-4, but it feels much worse than that. They’ve lost three in a row, and they’re making stars of average players, and now the whining about playing time has begun. Is there any hope?

Jerry: There is always hope when you are honest with yourself and take accountability of your wrongs and make the needed changes. The Bucs lack something. They have for many years. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone. I believe they have enough in talent and coaching to win, but there is an intangible that all winning teams have. Some define it as culture. A team-first attitude, coupled with hard work and a blueprint that adheres to the strengths of their roster. For whatever reason the Bucs haven’t been able to define a winning culture. Right now it can go either way for them.

Tim: Yes! There is hope because nobody in the division is that good or really running away from the competition. However, something is missing with these

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Bucs. Is it talent? Coaching? Chemistry? Or all of the above? This is when head coaches assert their will and show what they’re made of ... or not.



Joe Thomas of Cleveland is out for the year. He’s been the bright spot on a lot of bad Cleveland teams for years. Shouldn’t a lot of fans acknowledge him?

Tim: Ha…I hope you’re not asking that question in Cleveland to those fans. Joe Thomas is in the same boat that our old friend and all star OT for the “men of orange” Paul Gruber was in. He will be fondly remembered in retirement….unless he jumps the boat……quickly.

Jerry: Personally, I couldn't care less if I were a Browns fan. Sure, I like and respect Thomas, but he certainly hasn’t done anything to change the woes of an embarrassing franchise. As a fan, that’s what I want and expect from everyone involved in the organization. I’m not blaming Thomas, but I’m not going to acknowledge anyone who's paid by the Browns, until they start winning. Any other attitude supports losing.



The Falcons are 3-3 following up their Super Bowl. Do they miss Kyle Shanahan that much, or is another Super Bowl hangover at work?

Jerry: I think it’s the combination of the two. I said before the season that Shanahan was their biggest loss. Ryan is not an elite quarterback, but he was with Shanahan.The Falcons still have a good roster and enough time to get it going. It’s going to take total dedication on their part. If there is any type of hangover from the Super Bowl they will be in  a long line of teams who ran with their success rather than building off of it. Given how they lost, I thought they’d come into the season with a chip on their shoulder. Right now that chip looks very dull.

Tim: I am very familiar with the Super Bowl hangover. It is real and it is tough to overcome. With Atlanta; they didn’t just lose the Super Bowl, they gave it away on a silver platter. Given all of that, I still believe Dan Quinn will keep ‘em focused and right the ship and win the division. I think Kyle Shanahan misses them more than they miss him.

The Indianapolis Colts gave up 10 sacks to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Maybe that’s why Andrew Luck has been slow to return. Would you risk him?

Tim: If Luck were playing the sacks would be much less because he would not hold on to the ball like Brissett and others are doing. He should play when he is ready and knowing his competitive nature…he will. When will that be? Who knows? His injuries have not healed properly and he has had several setbacks.

Jerry: Not if that’s a sign of things to come. It's bad enough to give up that many sacks, but what makes it more scary is they did it at home. Most of the time when there is breakdown of that magnitude it usually happens on the road. They are having problems with their offense and their defense. They need to think long and hard about how they want to introduce Luck this season. Sometimes the best decisions you make are for the long term and not the short ones. I think the Colts get it and see the big picture  and know without the Stanford grad there is no picture worth seeing.



The Broncos lost 21-0 to the Chargers on Sunday. Are the Broncos trusting quarterback Trevor Siemian too much?

Jerry I don’t know that they are trusting him any more or any less than any good team who thinks they can contend for a championship. He’s young and still growing. He’s playing under a new head coach and teams are smarter about defending him. I think they will be fine in the long run. Their are always growing pains with young quarterbacks. If the Broncos are going to be real contenders they are going to have to get it done with their defense.

Tim:  Probably, but it may also mean that Paxton Lynch was a mistake.

Now that Jay Cutler is injured, Matt Moore will step in for the Dolphins on Thursday night. Is he good enough? Are most backups good enough?

Tim: Matt Moore is a good quarterback who could start in this league in the right situation for several teams. Miami might just be that team because of their strong defense. He is not an elite guy but he can be a strong game manager who brings passion and leadership to the position.

Jerry: Most back-ups aren’t good enough, but Matt Moore is about as good as you can get as a back-up. He’s smart, plays within his limits and he knows  Dolphins personnel as good as any coach. The most important quality of a back-up quarterback is not to lose the game. Moore gets that and if the Dolphins are going to win, it’s going to be because of their defense.



Who is the best running back in the NFL right now? Is it Kareem Hunt, La’Veon Bell? Todd Gurley? Zeke Elliott?

Jerry: Pick your flavor!

Tim: I’ve been most impressed with Fournette for his speed, power and vision. He was on his way to a monster season as a rookie prior to the injury. He’ll pick up where he left off upon return. He could be the next dominant back in the league.



If you had to pick a Super Bowl favorite right now, who would you pick?

Tim: Philadelphia has been consistently good and the quarterback  has gone to another level in only his 2nd year.

Jerry: The Chiefs. They are a seasoned team with a quality coach and quarterback and know how to win on the road.



Why do you think the NFL ratings are down? Is it just the time of year? Is it bad quarterbacks? Is it mediocre teams?

Jerry: I think the quality of play so far this year is poor. There are no great teams. The bottom teams are beating the top teams too routinely thus far. That shouldn’t happen as much as it is. Quarterbacking has been very mediocre. Overall, the NFL looks very mortal. I’m enjoying Saturday games much more this year because the quality play is much better. I feel that the 2011 CBA deal, where the NFL agreed to shorten game week with the number days in pads to one, is a detriment. This rule, in my opinion,  has hurt the overall performance of the game and development of all players young and old. We are seeing a negative  impact of that decision. Players need to practice game-like situations in pads. Coaches need time during the week to work on certain fundamentals and/or drills to keep players sharp. I can’t prove it, but what I’m watching isn’t the same quality of football I’ve been accustomed to seeing.

Tim: The anthem controversy has hurt for sure. Oversaturation of the sport plays a role. On the bell curve of the NFL success through the years I think the league has plateaued and is on the slide down. It has been so dominant for so long that history alone tells you that kind of success can’t last forever. The league would have to catch fire internationally to rebound and get to another level. That’s a long shot. Additionally the game in general has become less popular among parents and kids and the youth participation level drops are fairly dramatic on a national level. We are starting to see the effects at all levels of play. A big part of that is the concussion dilemma which looms over the sport like a dark cloud. Happy Halloween!



Legend Barr Starr returned to Lambeau Field this week. I was always a Unitas guy, but what do you guys remember about the way Starr played quarterback?

Tim: He was the epitome of efficiency for the position and an elite game manager. He would not have been great for all teams or in all situations. It was the perfect storm of a great head coach and a great defense and a run-oriented, ball-control offense. The guy never threw careless interceptions and he always seemed to make great decisions. Unitas was the better arm talent with amazing accuracy, poise and toughness.

Jerry:  Well, for starters, he won a lot of championships. He was as consistent a quarterback as there was during his era. He wasn’t flashy, but he didn’t make many mistakes. The Packers were a machine on offense, that could beat teams on the ground or in the air. Starr was their captain. He kept everything in order. The ship never sunk and his team always flourished with him as their leader. He extolled the virtues of the type of character it took to play the position.



The Predictions



Carolina at Tampa Bay

Tim: Tampa : I’m back on the band wagon!…but could I get off on the next stop please

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Jerry: Carolina: Betting on the Bucs is like pinning the tail on a donkey. The only difference, you feel like the ‘Ass'.

Bears at Saints

Jerry: New Orleans: The Saints aren’t the Aints’ any more at home.

Tim: Chicago: The D is for real, as is their run game. Their quarterback gives them hope. Saints = paper lion

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Cowboys at Redskins

Tim: Redskins:  Going with the home underdog this week

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Jerry: Redskins: Skins can’t afford too lose at home again to a divisional rival.

Broncos at Chiefs

Jerry: Chiefs: Chiefs will secure their lead in the AFC West.

Tim: Chiefs: KC is the more well-rounded team and they win at home

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