Ask the experts: Tim and Jerry

by Gary Shelton on October 5, 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.

Thursday, 4 a.m.

After four weeks, the Bears turned to rookie quarterback Mitch Trubiski. What does watching teams play rookie quarterbacks over the years tell you?

Tim: I think that dynamic has changed of late. The league has adopted many of the college schemes and formations in the modern era of the game.  That has in part allowed younger quarterbacks to play and play well much earlier in their career than they used to.  Coaches are doing better jobs of dumbing down and catering to the strengths of some of these new quarterbacks.  Look how quickly and effectively guys like Winston / Mariota / Prescott and now Watson have been able to perform.  A good defense surely helps those situations as well.

Jerry: Well, it’s becoming more and more the norm. When you draft them high,

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you’re saying you don’t have one. Kansas City and New England are the exceptions to the rule. They look at the big picture. They know the value of the position and also know the best way to bring them along is to have someone in place to learn from. Most teams that draft the quarterbacks are on a short lease. They need a guy that can help them right now  without much development time.

There are rarely no brainers like Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and John Elway at the quarterback position. The Eagles took the one they liked, as did the Rams, both look like pretty good picks, so far. Deshaun Watson looks like the rookie of the year so far. Why in the world San Francisco and Cleveland passed on a quarterback in the first round -- given each team had multiple picks in the first round -- fooled me. Cleveland may have gotten lucky by getting Kizer in the second, but he was the last of the four to go. The Niners look totally inept on offense and have an 0-4 start to prove it. It’s surprising, because Shanahan is an offensive-minded head coach who specializes in developing quarterbacks.

The Bears are doing the right thing. Glennon is not the answer. He’ll be a journeyman back-up in the league for a long time. A highly paid one now. The hardest thing to do in football in my opinion, is play around the quarterback. It’s the true litmus test for any organization. I was fortunate to be with top coaches and exceptional defenses and special teams. That’s the formula if you don’t have a great quarterback. The Bears' only chance of winning this year is if Trubiski pans out right away. The odds don’t favor him, but he gives them the best chance to win now and they have to go with him because of it.

I know the smoke hasn’t cleared yet, but the Patriots are 2-2 and struggling mightily on defense. Do you think this is the year the NFL catches up to New England?

Jerry: It depends on the play of Brady and that their key players staying healthy. They are still the team to beat. New England usually gets better as the season rolls along. Certainly there are concerns, particularly on defense. But anyone that rules them out is fooling themselves. Belichick and his staff are masters of making the needed adjustment or changes to remedy their ills.

Tim: I still believe they will right the ship based on how many times they have done in it the past.  It is alarming that their pass defense has been so poor in the early going along with the inconsistent pressure.  I would say the jury is still out.

Doug Martin returns from his three-game suspension this week. Would you ease him in against New England, or would you throw him in the middle of it?

Tim: They need him to get it up to speed.  Let him play until he fatigues or spot him early and use more toward the end of the game.

Jerry: Put him in there, he’ll be fine. You don’t coach running backs; you monitor their work load and how to best use them. There will be some rust, but he’s their best running back and getting him up and going is paramount for the Bucs, because their offense once again will have to carry the load if they any chance of getting into the playoffs.

The Chargers have gotten mild support from their new home in Los Angeles, enough so there are whispers of the team going back to San Diego. Does that play any part in the team going 0-4 so far?

Jerry: I think so; it was absolutely dumb for them to leave in the first place. What, so they can make more money at the expense of their loyal fan base for over 50 years. You just don’t flush that and expect things to work out. In my opinion, they will live to regret it. They aren’t going to draw flies in L.A. Who wants somebody else's seconds? That’s what they are -- orphans without a home.

Tim: They just look bad to me on both sides of the ball.  I think we are seeing the drop off in performance from Rivers due to his age and the defense is Swiss cheese.  The low attendance and the whispers are due in part to the realization that you’ve just inherited a bad football team.

When a receiver has a meltdown on the sideline like Antonio Brown of the Steelers did on Sunday, do other players simply shrug it off or is a real threat to the team?

Tim: As we saw with Terrell Owens and continue to see with Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant, it can be very detrimental to team chemistry because it divides the team in two…the for and the against.  If you’re not careful it can pull your whole team apart.

Jerry: It can be, but I think Mike Tomlin and Roethlisberger will defuse this and show the leadership and maturity needed for a great franchise. Guys like Brown and Beckham can be trouble if not handled correctly. I don’t see a long range problem with him. They had a guy by the name of Plaxico, who thought he was bigger than the team and found out the Steel City could live without him.

Adrian Peterson has a total only 81 yards on 27 carries. What were the Saints thinking when they signed him to a two year, $7 million contract?

Jerry: I think they wanted to add another weapon into their arsenal. Remember they signed him before they drafted Alvin Kamara.They had success with two pounders, if you remember, with Ingram and Pierre Thomas.

The problem with Peterson is that he’s a poor receiver and really limits his role in their offense. He can’t be used as a decoy. Teams just gang up on the line of scrimmage when he’s in the game. He no longer possesses the explosive speed he once had. He is your pr0verbal square peg in a round hole with the Saints.

Tim: They thought they could sell some more tickets.  How’d that go?

So far, the NFL season has been unpredictable and a bit ragged. Why do you think that is? Could limited practice times be having an effect?

Tim: That could be a part of it combined with the increased movement of players and coaches year to year.  This problem has been unfolding over the last 10 years or more, in my opinion.   The teams that try to keep their core players and coaches in tact and are able to simplify their schemes and ask their players to only do what they do best tend to do the best jobs i.e..New England / KC / Steelers and of late Atlanta.

Jerry: I think the lack of practice time hurts all teams. You need to have some contact during the week without it being measured. The owners made a serious mistake by acquiescing that to the union or they just may have volunteered it, to get more money into their pockets. Who knows, other than them. But I can tell you, it doesn’t help preserve or ensure the quality of the game.

Dalvin Cook is out for the year after a good start. How much will his absence hurt the Vikings?

Jerry: It’s definitely going to impact them. He was on pace to have a 1,200 yard rushing season. He helped take the pressure off the quarterback. Opponents will be less worried about their ground game and focus more on the rush and taking away their receiving threats. Cook was a weapon on all three downs. You don’t replace what he could do.

Tim: He was playing well and gave them a jolt and a change of pace back.  It will hurt for sure but they seem to have a team that is playing hard and believing in themselves.  Be interesting to see what they can accomplish.

The Rams Jared Goff was awful when he played as a rookie. What’s been the difference in his pretty good start?

Tim: He is getting better coaching and better support around him.  He lost all of his confidence last season to the point where I thought he was going to be a bust, but with this surrounding cast and an energized new coaching staff he looks like a guy who could win in this league.

Jerry: Coaching. They have done a great job with him. He’s playing with more confidence and awareness. They have made his reads much easier and have put the ball in Gurley’s hands to help carry the load.

Not long ago, the world seemed to think the Jets were tanking. But look at them now. They’re 2-2. Is that a product of the schedule or a better plan than we thought?

Jerry: Really it’s more luck, than good. The Jets are one of the poorer teams in the league and we’ll see it as the season unwinds.

Tim: Both of those must be factored in but I still see them in the bottom 1/3 of the league and I believe they will struggle going forward.

The predictions

New England at Tampa Bay

Tim: New England: They play well with their backs to the wall and there is a hint of fall in the air.

Jerry: New England: They’ll play better on defense and exploit the Bucs with their quick passing game.

Packers at Cowboys

Jerry: I’m going with Cowboys. They can’t lose two in a row. They haven’t forgot last year's game either.

Tim: Cowboys: They have righted the ship / Packers having issues with the OL and D.

Chargers at Giants

Tim: Giants: Last week was a must win for the Giants / This is the ABSOLUTE must win.

Jerry: Giants: They will get their first win. Who cares.

Seahawks at Rams

Jerry: Seahawks. They’ll rattle Goff and score enough points to win in the forth quarter.

Tim: Rams: They’re starting to belive / even when bad they played the ‘Hawks tough / Close one.









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