Ask the experts: Tim & Jerry

by Gary Shelton on October 19, 2017 · 2 comments

in general

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.

I know the NFL is a war of attrition, as ex-Giants g.m. George Young used to say. But the loss of Aaron Rodgers is a gut-punch to the league. How does this alter the NFC North race? Or the NFC race itself?

Tim: The NFC North is officially up for grabs with anyone capable of winning the division if they can put a streak of games together.  Chicago’s probably the longest shot but their D can be pretty good and the young QB is giving them some hope.  Detroit and Minnesota are both at least capable of playing good football if not consistently.  In the NFC overall, I now like the Eagles , Seahawks and the Falcons to emerge as the season progresses.  Dark Horse?  The Rams,

Jerry: Clearly, the loss of Rodgers is the most

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significant injury of the season. No player means more to a team than Rodgers to the Packers. They are now a very average football team. They will not make the playoffs. The NFC is wide open with the loss of Rodgers. In my mind the Packers were the team to beat this year. The Cowboys and Falcons were the favorites coming into the season, but are struggling given where they were a season ago. So, it will much more interesting the rest of the way in the NFC. My guess is whoever comes out of the South will be my favorite.

The Bucs were clobbered by Arizona on Sunday. What were the  problems that will carry over as opposed to the ones that can be fixed. With five of the next six games on the road, is it all uphill from here?

Jerry: It will be uphill, simply because the Bucs haven’t established an identity to this point. That’s the real problem. It’s not a good sign for a team that is poised to make a playoff run. Their firepower on offense gives them a chance to win on any given Sunday. But that’s assuming Winston stays healthy and plays well. Their defense is spotty, as well as their special teams. Sometimes things aren’t broken. They’re just bad.

Tim: I’ve been disappointed in the Bucs. Especially the defense but also Winston.  This was the year to take the next step on both fronts and that hasn’t happened.  Inconsistency is running rampant in the NFL and Bucs have their own poster.  Also, The NFL is full of head coaches who are capable of getting an average team to the .500 mark level but not much further.  Those same coaches are also capable of pulling an even better team down to .500.  Just sayin’.

I know we’ve talked about Colin Kaepernick. But now that he has filed a grievance charging the owners with collusion, what is the overriding reason that you think he’s not with a team? Is it talent, pay scale, type of offense, style of play, lack of victories or, in fact, collusion?

Tim: Just a second…let me get my 10-foot pole out.  I was good with you until you got to the collusion part, which I have no clue or opinion on.  The big option you left out is this: running these teams is a hard-enough struggle without bringing in the extra added weight of a potentially divisive distraction at the quarterback position.  Then there’s the issue of Colin not being an elite football player anymore -- assuming he ever was.  Is it worth it?  Add the optics and the economics and this is what you are seeing happen.

Jerry:  I can’t say for sure. You probably touched on some of the reasons, but I don’t think anyone can say definitively. Personally, I’m not a fan of Kaepernick. He has some traits you like i.e. size, arm strength, athleticism, but his flaws are just as obvious. At this juncture of the season he’s not going to offer much to any team. He’s a name, but he's no solution.

In the AFC South, every team is within one game of each other. In the NFC South, a game a half separates first from second. How do you see these races going?

Jerry: The NFC south is by far the most interesting one. Any of the four teams are capable of winning it. I would put the Bucs in fourth place. The other three are on equal ground. The potential loss of Kuechly would be almost as devastating to the Panthers  as Rodgers was to the Packers. The Falcons will get better on offense, but they need to get a lot better. The Saints are the biggest surprise, but it’s the play of their defense that has put them back on the map. They again,have a home field advantage in their Superdome.

Tim: The AFC South is up for grabs much like the NFC North.  Let's take Indy out of the mix for now and the rest can all make a run at the division crown.  You want to count the Jags out, but they have a great new running back and potentially the best defense.  Houston is juiced up with the performance of Watson as they should be despite losing JJ.  It’s the Titans division to win but they have to stop falling on their faces when they get the chance to separate from the pack.  

Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater reportedly has been cleared to practice. If you were in charge, how slowly would you proceed with him?

Tim: Insert a turtle picture here.  Keenum is on a roll so no need to speed the process.

Jerry: Absolutely, you take your time and make sure he’s 100% real. He’s a little guy with a now fragile body. He’s going to break again. That’s why it paramount to make sure he’s as whole as he can be physically. Bridgewater is a good fit at quarterback for the Vikes based on how their team is built. He’s not going to be much better than Keenum, but he gives them another solid player at a position that has been very tenuous for them.

The Jets had a touchdown overturned against New England that the TV analysts said should have stood. Did you agree? Wasn’t the ball out short of the goal line?

Tim: It was a brutally difficult call to make but I think it was the right one.  The ball was clearly out prior to the goal line and not repossessed prior to going out of bounds. Touchback.  Next question.

Now that the Packers are starting Brett Hundley at quarterback, will the Packers’ offense change?

Jerry: Yeah, less points!

Tim:  Yes.  You’ll see a tremendous dropoff in efficiency / accuracy / production and scoring.

Do you buy the L.A. Rams as legitimate playoff contenders?

Tim: Yes, because they believe in themselves and have talent on both sides of the ball.  I like McVay for his energy and smarts and intensity.  They play to his personality.

Jerry: Yes I do. Going to Jacksonville and coming out with a win made a big statement in my mind. They can win on either side of the ball and they can win on the road. Winning on the road is the biggest litmus test for teams and so far so good for the Rams. The coaching has been superb thus far and there is no reason why they can’t contend.

Have either of you ever had a quarterback try to play with a sprain of the AC joint in his throwing shoulder?

Jerry: No, because you can’t. It's no different than a sprinter trying to run with a slight hamstring pull. A pitcher trying to throw with a sore elbow. It’s not happening. You can try, but your going to fail and if you don’t, it’s not sprained.

Tim: Yes we had Dilfer and his was a permanent condition

The Raiders signed 49ers castoff Navorro Bowman. Does he have enough left to get the Raiders over the hump?

Tim: Maybe.  Are they even on the hump or is it a Mirage….get it Mirage / Vegas….help me out here.

Jerry: Are we talking about a hump or a lump? How can a player cut by a team that’s 0-6 put a team over the hump.?

The predictions

Tampa Bay at Buffalo

Jerry: Buffalo. The Bills don’t beat themselves, the Bucs do.

Tim: Buffalo / I’m off the Buc wagon for now but leave me a spot just in case

Cardinals vs. Rams (London)

Tim: Cardinals. I love the Rams but they’ll eat the same Chutney the Ravens ate.

Jerry: The Rams. They have shown incredible poise for a team under a new coach. Peterson won’t have 50 yards.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

Jerry:  The Curtain is starting to show some steel in it. I’m going with the home team.

Tim: Pittsburgh. Their KC win was impressive as was Bell and the defense.

Atlanta at New England

Tim: Atlanta.  Unless they get way ahead early on.

Jerry: The Falcons won’t lose this game if they play it on Pluto.










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