Ask the experts: Tim & Jerry

by Gary Shelton on November 2, 2017 · 0 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.

Overall, Deshaun Watson was still a No. 1 draft pick, and nothing’s wrong with going 12th overall. But he was the third quarterback taken. What didn’t the league realize about Watson (who threw for 402 yards and four scores this weekend)?

Tim: Good question.  First of all, I’d say we should give his evaluation a bit more time.  There are multiple of examples of young quarterbacks starting strong and then not holding on to that early success i.e. RGIII / Tannehill / Bradford etc. Additionally,  some high picks were bad early and then turned it on like Derek Carr and perhaps Jared Goff.  However, Watson looks like he has

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the magic and I expect him to be good and possibly great for a long time to come.  The reservations on him out of college were the number of picks and the inconsistent accuracy and decision making based on his final college season.  Thus far those look like minor concerns in his overall play.

Jerry: Who’s to say, for sure? Both Mitch Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes, who went ahead of him, were closer to the prototype and obviously easier to project in terms of the traditional traits you look for at the position. Watson was very intriguing, but had greater risk concerns. What’s coming across loud and clear right now, he has the IT factor. He had it at Clemson and it’s transcending at the next level.

That factor doesn't always project at the next level, but in his case it did. It’s easy to look back now and second-guess why he wasn’t taken earlier, particularly by the Browns and 49ers, who both desperately needed a quarterback. The Texans were equally as desperate, but recognized the fact he had enough physically speaking, though raw, to go on. Given they were a pretty good team and needed to win now. That said, he was worth the risk. One thing quarterbacks do when your right in your assessment, they save lives and if you’re not, no one will remember much about your tenure.

The 49ers acquired New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo for a second-round draft pick. Do we know enough about Garoppolo to know if h’e the real deal? It’s hard to beat Bill Belichick in a trade.

Jerry: I’ll say this, what do the Niners have to lose? That trade made all the sense in the world for them. I think they got him cheap. He’s by far a better bet than most draft picks and he can come in right now and play. No downside from San Francisco’s perspective. The only potential problem is what they are going to have to pay him -- if he’s good and not great such as Kirk Cousins -- but in their case that’s a good problem.

Tim: No, we do not know and we won’t know until he plays for an extended period of time.  History has shown that these kinds of trades for unproven quarterbacks generally do not work out well for the acquiring team (there are exceptions: Favre.).  Obviously the Niners liked him based on the fact that they tried hard to get him this past off season. They need hope at the position and he gives them that.  New England liked Garoppolo but you wonder if they truly felt he was elite.  Additionally, it would have been very tough to sign him going forward with Brady saying he wanted to go several more years.  To their defense, the Niners can rent Jimmy prior to signing him to a long term deal. Time will tell.

The Bucs are now 2-5 and reeling. Why did the world think this team was ready to make a move? The good finish last year? The quarterback? Free agency? The draft?

Tim: All of the above.  I can’t help but think something is missing with these Bucs.  Jameis has taken a step back as has the defense and I’m not convinced that Koetter is the real deal as an NFL Head Coach.

Jerry: Hard to say. There are many factors that go into winning and losing. The only thing I can say at this point  is the Bucs don’t know how to win, regardless of all the factors you mentioned. There is something wrong, but I’m not going to sit here and tell you I have the answer. Sometimes an organization’s chemistry is wrong. Again, I’m not there, it’s just frustrating when you do everything you know and you still come up empty. I, like many others, am tired of seeing them lose. At this point it looks like another season down the drain. I know one thing some type of change is needed somewhere. It’s not about reinventing the wheel; it’s about getting it right.

You’ve both seen this movie before? How many wins do you think the Bucs finish with this year?

Jerry: You know, who really cares at this point? Every season, for every team, the goal is to make the playoffs. If you don’t do that, you've failed regardless of how many wins you get. The Bucs are underachieving -- or maybe we overrated them. Regardless, they are failing to meet the expectations they set for themselves and their fans.

Tim; I have officially departed the band wagon.  Turned out the driver worked for Uber.  Who knew?   Seven wins for the Bucs.

Oddsmakers now say former Buc coach Jon Gruden is the favorite to be the next Tennessee Vols’ coach. Hard for me to believe, since he’s undefeated in the broadcast booth. Can you picture Gruden as a college coach?

Tim: No.  That would be silly of him.  He is currently living the dream.

Jerry: Why not? He should be a natural recruiter, which is the number one criteria of being a college head coach. He knows offense and he is nationally known. The only question is, is he motivated to leave the booth and make his living on the sidelines again?

Chicago’s Jerrell Freeman has been suspended for 10 games for PEDs. After all the players who have been busted, why do they persist in cheating? Do that many get away with it?

Tim: I do not have an answer for why, other than it must increase your ability to bounce back from injury and increase your strength and endurance.  Which is why I think Angelo still takes Viagra.  I may be naïve but I don’t think that many players are getting away with it anymore.

Everyone seems to agree that, although the Patriots are 6-2, they don’t look like a Super Bowl threat. Ah, but with Belichick and Brady, will they look like that when the playoffs come?

Jerry: Like the team to beat.

Tim: You asked and answered the question.  Thank you.

Who would be the most disappointing team thus far in the NFL? The Giants? The Browns? The 49ers? The Bucs?

Tim: All are legit candidates but the Giants came in with the highest expectations followed closely by the Bucs.

Jerry: The Bucs, because we expected much more and for good reasons.

What do you think is behind the improvement of the Jacksonville Jags? Fournette? Playing around Blake Bortles? Tom Coughlin?

Jerry: Their head coach (Doug Marrone) was the perfect choice for the roster they had. Don’t forget what he did with a poorer roster in Buffalo. Marrone knows how to build a team. Drafting Fournette was the right move for a team with a struggling quarterback. They have been drafting and signing defensive players for years. They are finally coming to fruition. They're overdue to win.

Tim: All of those factors have contributed, but let’s also give Marrone and his staff credit for their disciplined approach and overall leadership style.  They are a smarter more physical and more aggressive team now.  Also, kudos to the personnel folks for the steady acquisition of talent over the past several drafts.

Do you think Roger Goodell’s friction with certain owners will cost him his job? Or do you think it’s evidence he should keep it for some time to come?

Tim: Tough one.  Guess it’s why you pay me the big bucks.  Sounds like the owners are evenly split on this with 24 votes needed to oust him.  My question would be more along the lines of “Does he really want to stay in this job much longer?”  Is he having any fun at all?

The Predictions

Tampa Bay at New Orleans

Jerry: The Saints. They seem to have the Bucs number. Unfortunately, so do most of Tampa Bay's opponents.

Tim: New Orleans. Remember I am off the band wagon.  Probably means the Bucs win but…


Denver at Philadelphia

Tim: Philadelphia. Easy one / Denver is kaput

Jerry: The Eagles. They are better and playing with a lot of confidence.

Atlanta at Carolina

Jerry: Atlanta. The Falcons  will win this one. They match up better and have for the last few years.

Tim: Atlanta. The turn around begins for the Falcons…..maybe

Chiefs at Cowboys

Tim:  Chiefs / Is Ezekiel in or out / You’re making me declare too early

Jerry: Kansas City. The Chiefs play as well on the road as they do at home.

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