Ask the experts: Tim & Jerry

by Gary Shelton on November 9, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

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.

It was ugly enough when the Bucs were clobbered by the Saints Sunday. Then there was the silliness with Jameis Winston and Mike Evans and their sideline antics against Marshon Lattimore. Is that the sign of a team losing its composure?

Jerry: It’s a sign of a team with poor discipline. Totally

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unacceptable, particularly when you're getting your butts kicked. The Bucs are struggling in a lot of areas, but the one they can control, they failed miserably at Sunday and that’s class.

Tim: There’s that, but I also think there is something bigger going on. I’m not seeing true leadership out of the head coach or from the players.  If true, lacking that element from your staff or in your locker room will be a fatal flaw for this team.

The Giants have talked about benching Eli Manning. Is that a mistake?

Tim: They probably need to make the move at the head coach position initially and then let the interim hire make those kinds of moves to get them to the off season. Then the hammer will drop and the big moves will occur.

Bill Belichick says that Gil Brandt deserves to be the Hall of Fame. I’m not sure I agree. How about you guys?

Jerry: I do, but my question would be, as what? He wasn't the general manager and the bulk of all the personal decisions rested with head coach, Tom Landry, as well as their famous computer data. He was a master marketer and innovator. I would put him in just for that. No one marketed himself or a brand any better than he did. He branded the Cowboys and promoted the Cowboys Star like P.T. Barnum did for his circus. The players and coaches he influenced to be among Cowboy faithful is unparalleled. Those allegiances served the Cowboys well for decades. He was so far ahead of his times in so many areas that he created a huge chasm between the Cowboys and the rest of the league when it came to recruiting players and building valuable allies. The Cowboys were legendary for their college free agents and their mid-to-late round draft picks. I respect what he did; let's leave it at that.

Tim: I'd say no. Why?  For what? He was never a general manager.  He is more well known for his post-career media work than his football exploits.  Plus: if how you treat the people who work for you matters at all, then he wouldn't even warrant a participation trophy.

USA Today lists six coaches on the hot seat: Chuck Pagano, Hue Jackson, Ben McAdoo, Dirk Koetter, John Fox and Bruce Arians. In order of 1 (the hottest seat) to 6 (the coolest), what order would you put them in?

Tim: 1. McAdoo; 2. Jackson; 3. Pagano; 4. Koetter; 5. Fox; 6. Arians

Speaking of which, you’ve both had to evaluate coaches. What are the key elements when you’re considering making a change?

Jerry: I have to believe that my coach has several things going for him:
1. Got to be a leader. That means keeping the team focused, disciplined and motivated when they hit adversity, which all teams do at some point during the season. It shows in their effort and execution on Sunday.

2. A continual way of developing and evaluating players during the season. So to make the needed adjustment or changes. if need be.

3. He has to have the ability to hire the right assistant coaches and then manage them. Too many times a head coach will get fired, because he let the tail wag the dog. The team has no identity, because the coach let others it.

Being a head coach is a very difficult and demanding job. Few can do it, as history as shown us.

Tim: Do the players still believe and trust in him and his staff?

Is your relationship (HC / GM) still open, honest and productive?

Is he using the players in the right way to maximize their ability to succeed?

Is he reacting well to the pressure and is he able to handle and overcome adversity.

Is the relationship between him and his staff working the way in needs to be working?

Does he have the ability to pull out of the slide the team is in and right the ship?

Is he able to put the success of the team over loyalty to his coaches?

Tony Romo says Deion Sanders was a poor tackler. Deion says Tony never won the big one. What do you say when both are both correct?

Jerry: They are both right! We have the tape and the stats to prove it. So what?

Tim: I thought Deion was in the wrong and overreacted.  Tony was trying to be funny and maybe got a bit too cute but he wasn't taking a personal shot. Even Sanders would openly admit to not being fond of tackling back in his hey day.  Many announcers have mentioned this as the only flaw in his otherwise Hall of Fame career.  He got his feelings hurt and ended up lashing out at Romo and it came across as petty and immature.  Overall it was much ado about nothing and I have spent too much time on it.

Yahoo.sports asks this question: Who has been the more disappointing team in ’17, the Falcons or the Bucs?

Tim: The Bucs.  They aren't consistently competing to a high level or handling adversity well at all this season.  The Falcons are doing that stuff but are not playing smart, efficient football and also the ball just isn't bouncing their way.  They could still turn it around.  The Bucs are yet to show signs of a turnaround.  They do have the talent to do that but the mojo and leadership just isn't there thus far.

Jerry: You really can’t say the Bucs. To be disappointing, you first have had to won. When was the last time the Bucs were relevant or in the playoffs. If you're talking about disappointing based off perception, then you can talk about it. To me, perception is a mirage that coaches, fans and players buy into. Unfortunately, the Bucs thought they were nearing the well springs of glory only to find themselves eating sand.

The Eagles made an interesting move when they brought in Jay Ajayi from Miami. Why would the Dolphins let him go at a relatively cheap price?

Jerry: Something went wrong. You’d have to be a fly on the wall on that one to say for sure.

Tim: The Dolphins are essentially done. With or without Ajayi, it was going to be the same season.  They got what they could and moved on.

The Browns and 49ers are both winless at the halfway point. Do you think either team can go 0-16 this year?

Tim: The Niners have come so close to victory on multiple occasions and are still playing hard and competing. They should get a win here very soon. Jimmy G at QB gives them hope and the arrow is pointing upward.  For the Browns ... not so much.  Not going 0-16 might be the bigger surprise for the Browns.

Jerry: My money is on the Browns. They have patented losing.

At the halfway point, would you vote for Carson Wentz as MVP?

Jerry: Why wouldn’t you? No one has done more for his team. He's got the record and stats to prove it.

Tim: Yes.

The Predictions

New York Jets at Tampa Bay

Tim: Jets. They are finding ways to win and the Bucs are finding ways to lose

Jerry: Bucs. The Bucs are playing a very beatable team when you match them u] on paper. I’m going with Fitzpatrick. He knows the opponent and will get it done.

Chargers at Jaguars

Jerry: Jaguars. The Jags will unleash an embarrassed running back to victory.

Tim: Jags.  They are starting to believe in themselves and now get the big rookie RB back.

Cowboys at Falcons

Tim: Cowboys at Falcons:  Falcons / My upset special or do I just like to see Jerry’s team get beat?

Jerry: Falcons. The Falcons were embarrassed last week and will find revenge Sunday.

Patriots at Broncos

Jerry: Broncos. Denver got humiliated last week. They will and have to win or that horse will turn into a donkey.

Tim: Patriots. A lock

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