Ask the experts: Tim & Jerry

by Gary Shelton on November 16, 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.

Today’s reader question comes from Carlos Ubinas: "Do you think the Glazers ever discuss bringing in a "football czar", a VP or team president, a la Tom Coughlin with the Jaguars? Tony Dungy would be a good candidate. I think all this losing is a lack of ownership's effort. Since they bought the majority of Man United in 2006, they've had one losing season there, and 11 here with the Bucs, if we count this year. The results tell the story.

Tim: I do believe they've probably discussed that in the past.  In my era with them it was Tannenbaum-Parcells, etc. who were being discussed.  As time has gone on as owners they've become more and more familiar with the inner workings and nuances of the sport.  My

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hunch is that they see themselves in that role and would see bringing someone else in as wasteful and unnecessary.  If the general manager and the head coach aren't getting the job done, they've not been shy about making changes.  If they change their mind Jerry and I are available at a fair wage.  Just give us good parking spots.

Jerry: It’s a good thought if you get the right person. Too many chiefs make for bad tribes. The sharing of power is a very delicate balance. Most of the time it fails, because there are too many varying opinions in professional sports, particularly football, emotions and perceptions can change weekly. People handle pressure differently and that’s where the problems lie. I feel an ex-general manager is a better fit than an ex-head coach. For no other reason, the general manager has more overall knowledge of an organization and how to weigh the sum of the parts. Tom Coughlin is a doing a good job, but Doug Marrone is the major reason why the team is winning. And I’m sure Coughlin would agree with that. Taking nothing away from Coughlin, because he’s a great coach and a team player, but the head coach has the most influence on winning and losing.

Ex-Buc Adrian Clayborn had six sacks in one game against the Cowboys. His quote was “I have one move and I kept doing it.” What’s the best game by a pedestrian player you can recall?

Jerry: That’s a rarity, what Clayborn was able to do. I’ve never seen that in my career. Good for him! I can’t think of many or any player, pedestrian or not, who had a game like that.

Tim: Dexter Jackson won a Super Bowl MVP award for the Bucs on the strength of two picks, one was on a tipped pass and the other on errant throw under duress.  Made a ton of money from it as well.  Hooray for Dexter.

Jerry Jones seems within his rights to oppose the new contract proposal of Roger Goodell. But doesn’t he embarrass himself a bit by being so public about it?

Tim: A bit?  They say Jerry Jones built that new stadium to house his ego only to find out it wasn't big enough.  His biggest regret in life might be that he didn't decide to run for President.  Not sure you can embarrass Jones or hurt his feelings and as far as being public on his comments?  He lives for it.  Once again the league will get Roger’s deal done by doing the old “end around” around Jones.

Jerry: That’s his style. He loves publicity, good or bad and in the end it’s about him. So, this is typical behavior of those who follow the NFL. The problem with the league today, contrasted to years past, is they used to keep their business in-house. The NFL is turning into a big soap opera and Jones has the lead role.

The New Orleans Saints have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Do you think they have the staying power to continue and get deep into the playoffs?

Jerry: Why not? There isn’t any clear-cut dominant team. You have a handful of good teams and the Saints are one of them. They need, like everyone else, to stay healthy. They are playing good defense. They haven’t done that for years and that is really the difference in their team. Because of that they will compete right up to the end of the season. Their biggest challenge is within in their division. The Panthers and the Falcons are legitimate contenders as well. So, they need to win their division; if so, the sky’s the limit.

Tim: I don't but a few weeks back I would have said "hell no," so they are moving up fast on my extremely complex rating scale.

If I asked you to do a power ranking of the top six teams in football, how would it read?

Tim: 1. Philly; 2. New England; 3. LA Rams; 4. Pittsburgh; 4. Minnesota; 6. New Orleans

Jerry: 1. Kansas City; 2. New England; 3.  New Orleans;'4. Seattle; 5. Minnesota; 6. Carolina.

And the bottom six?

Jerry: 28. Cleveland; 29. New York Giants; 30. New York Jets; 31. San Francisco; 32. Chicago.

Tim: 27. Cleveland; 28. NY Giants; 29. San Francisco; 30. Cincinnati 32. Indianapolis; 32. NY Jets

In today’s game, how important is the pass rush? The Bucs won with six sacks Sunday after getting eight in their first eight games.

Tim: It's still very important.  It's not just the sacks it's also the ability to bring consistent pressure to harass and disrupt the quarterback's rhythm and timing.  Forced scrambles and tipped passes are every bit as effective as sacks, especially when they lead to errant throws and turnovers.

Jerry: Getting to the quarterback has always been one of the key components to winning. Understanding turnovers, third-down conversions, defending and scoring in the red zone are also critical areas in determining games. But the team that can rattle the quarterback with sacks and pressures, usually wins in the other areas I mentioned, as well.

Ryan Fitzpatrick won a game for the Bucs Sunday, as ugly as it was. Who is your all-time favorite aging vet to be a backup quarterback?

Jerry: There was none better than Earl Morrall. He was the best!

Tim: George Blanda, Earl Morrall and Jim Plunkett are three of the most famous ones in history.  In the modern era its hard to find any who have had that level of success as a backup.  You do have to tip your hat to the Fitzpatricks and the McCowns of the league who always seem to give their teams a chance to win.

Who is more important to the Cowboys. Zeke or Dak?

Tim: Both are important, but the importance of the position makes me say Dak.  The Cowboys offensive line makes any runner better and they should be able to craft a decent run game in his absence.  If Dak went down they'd be in real trouble.

Jerry: Dak, although a big part of his success is contingent on the running game. The Cowboys can’t win without him. He has some magic to him and that factor is infectious to his team.

Fans and critics want Ben McAdoo fired from the Giants now. The owners say they’ll evaluate after the season. How do you two look at interim coaches and the process of replacing a coach?

Tim: If your season is shot (as theirs is), I like the idea of the interim hire. You can get a jump start on your search without having to be secretive about it. If you wait too long you could potentially miss out on the best candidate.  It also makes the players and fans feel like you're listening to them especially with an unpopular coach which losing coaches tend to be.

The predictions:

Tampa Bay at Miami 

Jerry: The Dolphins. They  can’t lose this one at home.

Tim: Tie. The Irma Bowl. Has either team been the same since? Overhyped in off season?

Rams at Vikings 

Tim: Vikings. Great game. Going for home field advantage on this one. The Rams are  a slightly better team.

Jerry: Vikings. The Rams play well on the road, but not in this one.

Redskins at Saints

Jerry:  New Orleans. The Saints aren’t going to lose at home again this year.

Tim: Saints. The Redskins' defense is just not good enough.

Eagles at Cowboys 

Tim: Eagles. They are just better, especially with Zeke out.

Jerry: This is a must-win for the Cowboys and they will find away.










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