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, 5 a.m.
Does this years’ Atlanta team, at 4-2, have more staying power than last year's 5-0 Atlanta team?
I think so, partly because it looks like their division is much weaker than years past. The Bucs look like the only true challenger at this point.
The Falcons offense looks for real. They are doing a nice job of incorporating all their weapons and have a good balance between the run and pass. They don’t just rely on one guy. Matt Ryan looks much more comfortable this year. He isn’t panicking and doing dumb things with the ball. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is doing a great job. So far, he is locking himself in as the best head coaching candidate for the off-season.
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Their defense is still a concern. They are more bend than break than they have been in past years.
Naturally, there is a lot of criticism of the Green Bay Packers, including a scathing analysis of both Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy. Are the Packers still an elite team?
They are a contender, but to be elite has to be proven on the field and right now they aren’t. You don’t lose to Dallas at home. The season is still young and they have enough talent to get themselves back in the top tier of the elite teams.
With Ben Roethlisberger out with a knee injury, how successful can the Steelers be?
The Steelers won last year when he was out temporarily. I like their young back-up quarterback, Landry Jones. He’s a tough guy, smart and has a live arm. They will be more reliant on their run game.
The key for them now is to play solid on defense. That will be their biggest challenge now that Roethlisberger is out.
Dallas won an impressive game over the weekend. Are they really the best team in the NFC East?
Right now, yes. The division has been one of the worst in the league for years. So it’s a matter of who can play consistently on each Sunday.
But they are the Cowboys and they have a stronger history of failing than ascending. I like their young quarterback (Dak Prescott) and the combination of him and Ezekiel Elliot, their young running back, makes them the team to beat in the NFC East.
The worst thing they can do is put Tony Romo back in as their starter. It would be a major miscalculation on their part, but their owner/GM has a penchant for paying and playing his favorites.
Do two straight losses tell us that the Eagles were counting on Carson Wentz to do too much?
No, he’s going to be fine. These are the growing pains. Losing their right offensive tackle for 10 games has really hurt their offense, because young quarterbacks need protection to continue to develop.
It’s hard to grow and learn when you can’t sit in the pocket with a degree of confidence in your protection. Quarterbacks develop based on what they see and if all you're seeing is the rush, then progress stops and your survival instincts take over and that’s what’s going now for him.
If someone is going to catch the 0-6 Browns, the favorites would probably be 1-5. Who is bad enough to pass the Browns? The 49ers, the Bears or the Panthers?
The Niners are a bad team, and the Bears are right behind them. Right now the Niners are my bet, because they aren’t competitive.
The Jets benched Ryan Fitzpatrick in their loss to Arizona. Would you go with Geno Smith for a while, or return to Fitzpatrick?
The Jets are taking on water and taking it on fast. Neither of those guys mentioned are going to save their ship.
They need to start looking and developing those two new young guys they drafted (Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenburg). Whatever future they have, it’s going to be with one of them.
In our best-ever question of the week, this week’s team is the New York Jets. Is their best-ever player:
a) Joe Klecko
b) Curtis Martin
c) Mark Gastineau
d) Joe Namath
e) Don Maynard
Are you kidding on this one? There is only one guy I know that was given a nickname after one of their most prominent districts. Broadway Joe!
Denver at San Diego
Denver is going to rebound. They will get back to what they were on opening weekend. Smart conservative offense and let their defense win it for them.
Tampa Bay at San Francisco
The Bucs had some time off, coming off a win and playing a team that has more holes than a cheese grader.
Seattle at Arizona
This one is going to be a good one. Arizona has got themselves back to their old form. They will win this one at home. Seattle doesn’t have enough offense to match the red birds.