Ask the experts: Tim and Jerry

by Gary Shelton on September 15, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

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.

Friday, 4 a.m.

In New England, Patriots fans are so distraught over being clocked by the Chiefs that they’re ready for Tom Brady to be benched. Have these guys forgotten that, in the NFL, even the good teams lose?

Jerry: The Patriots are coming into this season with extremely high expectations and why not. They improved their Super Bowl roster in the off season and the talk was of an undefeated season. So, losing as they did, at home, by a lopsided score and their forever favorite hero, Tom Brady, looking more mortal than the beer man,  was something no one was prepared for. I think the Pats are going to be fine. The fans will have to eat a little humble pie for a week and when they beat the hapless Saints next weekend all will be forgotten.

Tim: Yes, good teams lose even at home for the opener.  Another truism about the NFL is to not get to carried away with how your team did in the opener.

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Any many instances both college and pro it is not an accurate indicator of what your team will or will not be.  The Patriots will figure out their problems and be just fine.

Who had the best week in the NFL openers? Was it Kareem Hunt, Carson Wentz or Jarad Goff?

Tim: Kareem was spectacular, that’s for sure.  He was an impressive player in college for all the different ways he could help his team.  He just happened to be at Toledo who apparently are banned from being on TV or being talked about in the media.

Jerry: You have to go with Goff. Given what he and his team looked like last year. He gets my vote. Their offense looked very efficient and he was the reason why.

Who had the worst week? Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer or Scott Tolzien?

Jerry: Tolzien isn’t an NFL quarterback and he proved it again against the Rams. If the Colts love him so much, make him a coach. He’d better serve the team in the press box than on the field. He played terribly. For a guy whose been around as long as he has, there is no excuse for turning the ball over. He’s the back-up and back-ups know they aren’t supposed to win the game. They just have to make sure not to lose it. He failed miserably in that one.

Tim: It's a tough call, because none of them were very good. I'd go with Tolzien, who had a Total Quarterback rating of 7.4. The sad thing was, he played worse than that number would indicate.

Whose loss was the biggest for his team? David Johnson, Allen Robinson or Kevin White?

Tim: In the case of Kevin White, “you can’t lose what you never had." Both Robinson and Johnson are big blows.  If the Jags win this year, it will be due to their D and their ability to run the ball.  Robinson is a blow, but Johnson is bigger due to his importance to his team’s success.

Jerry: Without question, David Johnson. With an aging Carson Palmer, he was burdened to carry the load for their offense and take some pressure off. They will struggle mightily without him, because defenses will be more focused on defending the pass and won’t let Palmer beat them with whatever arm he has left. It’s going to be a rough road; if the opener was any indication of where Palmer is in his career. At some point the wheels come off.

Were you surprised that the judge ruled in favor of Zeke Elliott, and do you think the league will eventually get his six games of suspension?

Jerry: Nothing surprises me when something goes to arbitration. The judge most always is going to be more lenient to the plaintiff.

Tim: I was surprised a bit, but if you go off precedent the league usually wins these battles (see Tom Brady). I could see the number of games getting reduced.

Jameis Winston has historically gotten off to slow starts with the Bucs (1-3 both seasons). In his third season, is it imperative that he gets off to a better start?

Tim: Not really (see answer #1). But Jameis is such a competitive player he will do everything in his power to play well this week and beyond. But especially this week.

Jerry: It sure is. He’s poised and ready to have a break out year and it starts at home this Sunday against the Bears. There are no excuse or reason for him not to play well early. He’s been with the same coach in the same system for three years.

Cleveland’s DeShone Kizer had a nice start in his team’s loss, but he was sacked seven times. Does that make it tougher on a young quarterback?

Jerry: Absolutely, it makes it tough. For a young quarterback to develop, he needs time in the pocket to be able to go through his progressions. If he doesn’t get that time, then his eye level starts to drop from the secondary to the rush and that isn’t a good thing for the Browns. Now he’s in survival mode and when quarterbacks get to that point development stops.

Tim: Yes

As the NFL season gets underway, which coaches have the hottest seats? Marvin Lewis, John Fox, Chuck Pagano or Todd Bowles

Tim: 1 . Pagano -  New GM / No QB / Memory loss.

2. Bowles -  Bad team / GM on hot seat as well / Bad team / Bad team.

3. John Fox -  Getting older / Newer younger GM / Young team but with upside / 50-50.

4. Marvin Lewis -  The Teflon coach / coating is wearing off / bad start or a bad season and he’ll be gone.

Jerry: All of the above need a bag of ice under their tails this season, because they put themselves in a do-or-die situation this year. It’s one thing to lose, but to lose the way they did, particularly last year, leaves their fans with little hope. When hope is gone, all credibility is lost. That’s where these coaches are at. One of them may salvage the ship, but the forecast doesn’t looked good for any of them. If there is one, I’d go with Fox. The Bears look much better on both sides of the ball, but they have to win games, not just look good losing.

The last three times the Patriots started the season 0-1, they’ve won the Super Bowl. But from what you saw, can the Patriots do it again?

Jerry: Way too early to write them off. They will rebound this week and get things back on track. They are still the front runner and for all the right reasons. Shall I list them? Brady and Belichick. Does the list have to go any farther?

Tim: Yes.  I saw a bunch of good things with the run and pass on offense.  The D seems to be lacking a big play man or a pass rusher.  That is where the attention will go and I believe Belichick will figure that part out.  He always has.

One of the more impressive games last week was the Jags beating the Texans. Have the Jaguars turned it around, or was it merely a matter of finding a less impressive quarterback than even Blake Bortles (Tom Savage).

Tim: It could be the week 1 syndrome (see above), but I think they have something here.  They have stockpiled some top defensive talent in the past few years and most people thought that unit was ready to shine.  On offense, the line has improved as has the run game which gives you a chance.  If the QB can just manage the game and not give it away, they’ll win games.  Think of the Tampa Bay Bucs in the Dilfer years.

Jerry: No, I think the Jags are going to turn it around. They are ready to make a move. They have a solid roster, a proven head coach and they should be tired of losing. This is their year.

The predictions

Bears at Bucs

Jerry: Bucs going away. The Bears played well last week against a very good team, but they lost at home.

Tim: Bucs / Jameis wills a win / Glennon will be a sitting duck / Bucs need to respect the Bears run game.

Eagles at Chiefs

Tim: Chiefs / Home opener / Alex stays hot as does the run game as does the D.

Jerry: Got to go with the Chiefs. Andy Reid is not going to let his protege come into his back yard and beat him.

Vikings at Steelers

Jerry:  I’m going with the guys with the black helmets. They squeezed by the Browns, they won’t need another wake up call.

Tim: Steelers / Bradford goes back to being a pumpkin / the Steelers get the wake up call from Tomlin.

Packers at Falcons

Tim: Falcons / Fired up by the Bear win / Fired up by the new Digs / Good close game though.

Jerry:  I’m on the Falcons' bandwagon. They had a tough one in Chicago, but they won’t lose their home opener in their inaugural game in their new stadium.









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