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.
There have been a lot of reasons cited for the diminished TV ratings of the NFL. Protests, bad calls, bad match-ups, no Peyton or Brady when the season began. What do you think the cause has been, and what do you think it will take to get the ratings back?
I’m no authority, so I can’t give you more than an educated opinion. From my perspective we’re watching the same game we have been watching for years.
Why ratings are down, I can’t answer. Other than say I’m still watching. There probably will come a time where people aren’t as engaged in the sport as they once where. That is no indictment on the game; people's interests change.
Part of the reason the NFL is so intent on getting into the European market is this. They know that nothing last forever and to continue to grow and maintain
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the revenue they need other market places. It’s America and people have a right to spend their time and money on what matters to them.
Denver, Carolina, Green Bay, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Arizona all have at least three losses. Can you see any of them making the playoffs?
I think Denver and Green Bay have the best chances to earn playoff spots. Pittsburgh should be in good position to do so as well.
The reason for optimism is they have a good nucleus of players and know how to win, particularly when the going gets tough. It will be during the second half of the season. Their coaches are seasoned and their key players are experienced. When the music stops and there are only a few seats left, I like their chances of getting to the last dance.
USA Today says the Tampa Bay Bucs will finish 1-7 in the second half. Do you still have hope for Dirk Koetter?
Right now, I’m not very impressed with Koetter. The Bucs don’t look any different from last year’s team while they’re more experienced at most all positions. He doesn’t make excuses, but he doesn’t offer any real solutions either.
Being a head coach is more than knowing how to manage one side of the ball. You have to have a pulse on what needs to be fixed, while keeping your players optimistic and focused on what needs to be done. There has to be sense of urgency, a “Do or Die" mentality while staying confident and hopeful things are going to work out. Right now is the litmus test for him and the team. They are taking on water. They either right the ship or go down with it.
We often hear about coaches on the hot seat. But which quarterbacks do you think have less of a grip on their jobs than at the start of the season?
I think that Brock Osweiler, Blake Bortles, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Casey Keenum -- to name a few, are struggling. These guys aren’t getting it done for their teams. They have no excuses. They have a good nucleus of other players around them and aren’t doing their jobs well enough for their teams to win based on expectations.
The Jets’ Muhammad Wilkerson missed a meeting this week where the team had brought him in a birthday cake. When you remember all the meetings that Dez Bryant has missed over the years, how populated are team meetings? Do stars frequently miss them?
The true stars don’t miss meetings. They show up early and take notes and ask questions. They want to be great and they want their team to win. They aren’t self-absorbed. They are team absorbed. Those meeting are every bit as important as any practice. That’s where they determine how to win the game.
I have no respect or patience for guys who think they are above everyone else. Ultimately they create more harm than good and require a lot of unwanted maintenance for other people.
Obviously, a lot of NFL teams are going to try to find Jim Harbaugh’s phone number in the off-season. Do you think he’ll answer? Do you think he’s destined to return to the NFL?
I can’t say for sure and neither can he. I personally believe there will be a desperate NFL team that will come calling and offer him the moon at some point. They will give him the money, the power and anything else he asks for. He’ll eventually get restless with the college game, as he did at Stanford and make the move.
Do you like the new NFL extra-point rule? Is it worth the bother?
I think it’s worked out great so far. The extra point is no longer a gimme. It’s made the game more exciting and has put more pressure on the kickers. What’s wrong with that? These guys are professionals and there is nothing wrong with challenging them. Every play in football is important. Why make any of them easy?
Do you think the Browns will go 0-16? They’ve actually played close games (losing to Miami in overtime after missing a kick, losing by two to Tennessee, etc)?
The Browns will win a game. To me, the worst team in football is San Francisco. At least the Browns are competitive on most Sundays. The Niners just roll over.
Jameis Winston hasn’t thrown an interception in three of his last four games. Do you see progress, or has his lack of weapons at wide receiver hurt him?
Winston has gotten one legitimate weapon in Mike Evans. After that, who do you fear? The Bucs have no running game because of injuries. Jameis is doing all he can, but he can’t do it all.
This is a tough one. In our best-of-the-franchise rankings, today’s team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lots of choices. Is their best-ever player:
a) Terry Bradshaw
b) Franco Harris
c) Jack Lambert
d) Joe Green
e) Jack Ham
Geez, I have to go with Joe. It was those vaunted defenses that made the Steelers scary and Mean Joe was the scariest!
Chicago at Tampa Bay
The Bucs will get a feel good win against a team that is as maligned as they are. They'll win at home!
Dallas at Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, won’t be close.
Seattle at New England
I’m going with Seattle. They have the right make up for this game.