Ask the expert: Tim Ruskell

by Gary Shelton on February 15, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

This week on Ask the Experts, noted personnel man, ex-general manager and noted music historian Tim Ruskell, who may have been the first-ever person ever fired by the Tampa Bay Bucs, goes it alone. Jerry Angelo is out of town, leaving Ruskell to help you sort through the changes in the NFL as of late. Send your questions to "Ask the Expert" at

Do you understand why Josh McDaniels chose to stay in New England rather than take a head coaching job with Indianapolis?

Yes.  He thinks he will be the heir apparent to Belichick.  He thinks Brady will live and play forever and he knows the owner is infinitely more stable.  Additionally, Indy has a

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rookie general manger and a quarterback in a body cast.  If you can get past his lack of integrity and character deal it’s a fairly obvious choice.

Tony Dungy called McDaniels out for backing out because he verbally agreed. But that’s happened before (See: Parcells and the Bucs).

Tony always has and always will stand up for what is right and honorable.  He is unfortunately, a dying breed in the business of professional sports.

Will the Colts be as well off with Frank Reich? He had one great afternoon at quarterback, didn’t he?

I think they’ll be better off because he is a better human being and a team oriented guy who will work better with the general manager.  McDaniels would have started day one trying to figure out how to get all the power and become the next general manager/head coach  like his mentor Belichick.

Speaking of hiring a head coach, as general managers what are you looking for from an NFL assistant?

Tough, smart and energized.  A man of integrity and passion for the game who easily wins the respect of his players and maintains that respect over the long haul of his career.

Lane Johnson of the Eagles suggests that the Patriots are
"fear-based” and don’t have fun while they’re playing. Do you think the robotic responses mean less fun?

I think the Patriot players by and large enjoy playing for Belichick and his staff and they especially enjoy all the winning.  I believe Mr. Johnson was practicing the art of "uneducated guessing."

Where do you think the best landing spot is for quarterback Kirk Cousins?

I think the Dolphins' situation would be best due to their potentially strong receiving corps and solid plus defensive talent.  The Giants and Jags could also benefit from his presence and get better.  He is a good starting NFL quarterback but not a difference maker.

Johnny Manziel hasn’t played in two years, but he predicts he’ll be a starting quarterback in the NFL again. He’s 25, but are the odds against him staggering? I can’t remember a quarterback in his position coming back to be a success.  

The key to Manziel is cleaning up his personal life.  If he could do that I still believe he’d have a chance.  I think you’ll see him in the CFL first, and I think he would be successful their and would earn another shot in the NFL.  The closest thing to comebacks like his would be Garcia with the 49ers.  Don’t forget about Favre. He was a mess in Atlanta and was traded to Green Bay.  Manziel will not be another Favre. I just like the story.

I see Jerry Glanville is back in coaching after signing on with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Jerry had some bluster, but I thought he was fun. What did you guys think?

I would fall solidly into the Bluster camp.  He was a "smoke and mirrors" guy who the league figured out fairly quickly and then he was done.  He has now been sent to the equivalent of Siberia in coaching circles.  Let’s not confuse this with a comeback.

USA Today says the Bucs are the 27th best team in the NFL. If that’s true, should they have fired Dirk Koetter last year instead of this year?

Hmm….27 seems a bit high.  As you know I’ve not gotten on the Koetter bandwagon.  We may never know what did or did not happen with the whole Gruden fiasco but it apparently distracted the Glazers long enough to decide to stay the course.

How would you rank the rookie quarterbacks of 2017? We’re talking about the Bears’ Mitch Trubisky, the Texans’ DeShawn Watson, the Browns DeShone Kizer and the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes?

DeShawn Watson

Mitch Trubisky

Patrick Mahomes….because he didn’t play.

DeShone Kizer…….because he did.

One of the reasons for the Patriots’ success is that no one in their division can challenge them. Do you see that changing in 2018?

Dolphins No

Buffalo No


No I do not see change.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cecil DeBald February 15, 2018 at 8:36 am

As a follow-up, who are the best NFL coaches of all time, and how did they break down on a “Authoritarian-Team Oriented” continuum? Was it different in the past? Will it be different in the future?



Gary Shelton February 15, 2018 at 8:55 pm

Of all time? I think you have to start with Halas. You quickly are going to have to bring up Shula and Walsh and Lombardi, Landry and Brown and Belichick.

Yes, it’s different these days because of free agency. It’s a rare coach who rules through fear these days. Shula and Lomboradi used that like gasoline. Players feel more entitled with bigger money and more social media. Coaches have to coax as much as threaten these days.

The thing that aways impressed me about Shula, in the years I covered him, is that his team was always first or second in least-abount of penalties. A guy didn’t dare jump offsides; he’d find himself watching.

I don’t think it will change much in the future. You Arne’t going to have the threat of three-a-days anymore. You can’t run a guy senselessly. You can’t scream into a nearby face. I don’t think NFL players practice enough these days, and that might be increased through negotiations with the union. But it’s never going to be what it was.

Still, it’s a decent game.


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