Ask the experts: Tim & Jerry

by Gary Shelton on December 14, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Winston has been wild for a long time./STEVEN MUNCIE

Winston has been wild for a long time./STEVEN MUNCIE

Here at, 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 with "ask the expert" in the subject line. The most interesting questions will be selected.

Thursday, 4 a.m.

Today’s opening question comes from reader Carlos Ubinas, who asks: "Dirk Koetter attributes some of Jameis Winston’s 'wild' throws to youth. Do you think he’s being overly optimistic when he says that?  I think Jameis Winston will be successful, while also be a guy who will throw the ball up for grabs more than he probably should.

Tim: I agree that Jameis will probably never be a consistently accurate passer in the NFL.  For him to be successful, though, he has to consistently make smart decisions and take great care of the football.  He's not doing that at a high level right now and it is hurting the team.

Jerry: I don’t buy that personally. It’s an excuse to me, not a reason. Jameis has had a penchant of throwing balls

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wildly since his days at FSU. You can get it away with it in college, not the case as we’ve continually seen throughout his pro career. Part of it is his fault and part of it is coaching. It has to stop or he’s going to continue to regress. Unfortunately, those wild throws turn into turnovers and those turnovers are having a negative effect on the scoreboard.

The news of the week was the ACL injury of Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz. This year, where did Wentz rank in the top half-dozen quarterbacks in the game? Can the Eagles endure such an injury?

Jerry: I would have put him right under Aaron Rodgers. He was playing exceptionally well and worthy of serious consideration for MVP honors. The Eagles are where they are because of him.

Tim: I had him right after Brady and Rogers.  That was the impact he was having for the Eagles prior to his injury.  The Eagles will still be good but I don't see them making it to the big show now.

If you had to bet on a team to win the NFC now, who would it be?

Tim: Tough to call, for sure.  Pressed to the wall, I'd probably say the Vikings, but the Rams and the Saints are fully capable of beating them.  The Panthers are good as well but woefully inconsistent. Don't count out Seattle or Atlanta just yet. And then there's the Philly conundrum.

Jerry: My bet would be the Vikings. They have shown they can win around their quarterback, both home and away. That is a really big deal in my opinion. They will, in all likelihood, get home field advantage and if so, they will be the favorites once the playoffs start. The Panthers are the scariest team. Their defense and elite quarterback can beat anyone, anywhere.

How about the AFC?

Jerry: The AFC is much more predictable. It’s a two-horse race. I like the Steelers. They have found themselves and are playing with a lot off swagger. This is not a typical New England team. They are good, not great. The AFC is so bad this year that a good team can have a great record.

Tim: Even tougher.  Let's see who takes charge between the Pats and Steelers this week. The Jags have to be the dark horse.  The Titans are going the wrong way at the wrong time. A three-horse race as I see it.

The Seahawks concluded their game against Jacksonville with several confrontations with the fans. Pete Carroll says there is no excuse, but have the Seahawks crossed the line with their controversies this year?

Tim: Yes.  I put most of that on Michael Bennett. He was the instigator and clearly the guy who should have been ejected initially.  Coach Carroll did absolutely nothing to help get the situation under control.  If anything he further fanned the flames with his antics.

Jerry: I think so. They are very liberal thinking, like their coach. Nothing wrong with that, but they are more apt to say things out of turn because of their constitutional rights, as we’ve heard some players say. What they fail to accept, that they are representatives of a highly visible and followed profession which has a lot of influence in society. Because of that everything they say or do is a reflection of the all who play professional football. They don’t get that, and maybe, they just don’t care.

Former Jets and Bills coach Rex Ryan compared Giants quarterback Geno Smith to a marshmallow. Is it just me, or is that a little over the top?

Jerry: No, I think Rex is right. He coached him long enough. My question: Was he talking about his body or brain.

Tim: Considering the source, it's perfect and predictable.  You may have exposed yet another fetish.

The Bucs’ Gerald McCoy injured his bicep over the weekend. He’s 29 now, and he’s never been to the playoffs. At under-tackle, how many good years does he have left?

Tim: Since this wasn't one of them, I'd say several.  This was a defense that was capable and talented but way too often listless and uninspired. If he was with the Jags or the Eagles right now, he'd look like a completely different player.

Jerry: He’s probably got a few more given his upper-echelon talent level. He was a top-five overall pick in the draft.  The fact he takes care of himself, also bodes well for him. Most players at his age are declining, not drastically, but they are no longer what they once were.

Now that Brett Hundley has taken out the trash, the Packers are looking to Aaron Rodgers again. Still, it seems a little soon to me.

Jerry: It may be too soon given the severity of the injury. What was it, ten or eleven screws inserted into his shoulder? Ouch!

Tim: They won't do anything stupid.  Rumors are that he is throwing very well in practice.  If cleared, he'll play and play well.

The Cleveland Browns keep losing. But an interception in overtime after blowing a 14-point lead. That’s particularly harsh, isn’t it?

Tim: Losing teams find new ways to lose even in the throes of imminent victory.

Jerry: It is, but when you’ve been losing as long as they have, you find ways to lose. When you look up losing in the dictionary, a little brown helmet is going to appear.

What sort of early draft grade do you have on Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield? How does he compare to other Heisman winners as far as his grades?

Tim: My draft-grading machine is now up in the attic. Ten years ago, we probably wouldn't have thought twice about Baker because he isn't a true pocket passer with great arm talent and accuracy.  As the NFL teams have incorporated more of the college-type dual-threat quarterbacks and subsequent plays and schemes, guys like Mayfield have gained greater value.  Therefore my grade is: W for Who knows? In comparing him to other Heisman winners, he appears shorter and more volatile, personality wise.

The Predictions

Atlanta at Tampa Bay 

Jerry: Atlanta. They have to much on the line and the Bucs have no clue about either of their lines.

Tim: Atlanta. Is this still considered a rivalry?

Dolphins at Bills 

Tim: Cutler didn’t like playing in Chicago weather. He’ll like Buffalo’s even less.

Jerry: The Bills. With or without snow.

Eagles at Giants 

Jerry: Eagles. They can play with ten players and win

Tim: Eagles. Foles will do just enough to win the game, and Manning will do just enough to lose it.

Patriots at Steelers 

Tim:  Steelers. They say never go against Brady after a loss, but sayings are made to be broken.

Jerry: Steelers. A preview of the AFC championship game.

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