Ask the experts: Tim & Jerry

by Gary Shelton on January 25, 2018 · 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.

You’ve seen it before.Tom Brady has 42 fourth-quarter comebacks in the regular season, only three behind Peyton Manning. When you rate a quarterbacks’ success, how much do you consider how good he is in the final quarter? What makes a good comeback quarterback?  (Marino, Unitas and Elway round out the top five).

Tim: The best I ever saw was Staubach.  He won’t be on this list because he didn’t have a long enough career.  As I recall, Joe Montana wasn’t bad either but I guess they weren’t behind in the fourth quarter all that much.  Great quarterbacks have great accuracy and poise with nerves of steel.  They rarely get rattled when under pressure and they possess supreme mental toughness.

Jerry: Well, they obviously have to have special skills, both physically and emotionally speaking. They have a calmness that few have when the adrenalin is running at a fever pitch for most. They

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have total command of their offenses. They know where everyone is supposed to be and their peers have total confidence that they will get the job done. It’s chemistry at its finest. It happens over time, but can be expressed in the moment. And the moment that matters the most is when the game is on the line.

Nick Foles has been amazing in the playoffs. Can he go toe-to-toe with Brady?

Jerry: No, but he doesn’t have to. The way the Eagles win is not to turn the ball over. Foles doesn’t have to win it, as Brady does for his team. He needs to make the makable plays, particularly on third down. He needs to move the chains. If he can do that the points will take care of themselves, as they did against the Vikings. The rest is up to their defense, and that’s the strength of their team. If they can get to Brady enough and keep him out of rhythm, particularly in the second half, their chances are pretty good.

Tim: No…but his team can.  If his offensive line protects like they did against the Jags he can be effective and they can win the game.  If, however, he all of the sudden wakes up out of the this dream he is having (see Case Keenum) they’ll be in big trouble.

What are your three favorite Super Bowl memories?

Tim: On a personal level:

Going to my 1st one in person with my best friend and my Parents down in Miami….the 1st Pittsburgh vs Dallas one.

Winning my 1st Super Bowl with the Bucs.

Being the GM of the Seahawks and helping to get them to their 1st Super Bowl in franchise history.

As a fan:

Watching Joe Namath and the Jets dismantle the Colts.

Leon Lett of the Cowboys fumbling before scoring a touchdown.

The “helmet catch” that helped the Giants defeat the Pats.

I’ve likened Foles to Jeff Hostetler of the Giants and Doug Williams of the Redskins, relievers who took over late and drove their teams to Super Bowls. Is his task tougher than theirs? Easier?

Jerry: His task is difficult, no doubt, with the exception of Hostetler. The Buffalo Bills were a great team that year; if it weren’t for the missed field goal by Scott Norwood they would have won it. The Patriots aren’t a great team, they were the best team in a weak AFC conference.

Tim: Easier, I’d say.  They rules are heavily favored to the offenses and the quarterbacks much more now.  They are better protected from hits and the wide receivers are much freer to run their routes and gain separation then they were back in the day.  Play-calling has become more science than gut feel so they can spend more time on reads and look offs and utilizing play action.  Free agency has made it easier to get a back up or an upstart QB ready to play competitively whereas that would almost have been unheard of years back.

The new coaching hires are almost complete. Can you rank them? The Giants’ Pat Shurmur, the Cardinals’ Steve Wilks, the Raiders Jon Gruden, the Bears’ Mike Nagy, the Colts’ Josh McDaniels, the Lions’ Matt Patricia and the Titans Matt Vrabel?

Tim: No I really can’t.  You can’t know what a good position coach will become until he has taken the job.  The head coaching job brings the type of pressure precious few can handle expertly.  Gruden will be the leader in the clubhouse until proven otherwise.

Jerry: Sure. This is easy. Let's see: 1.  Andrew Luck, Josh McDaniels;  2. Matthew Stafford, Matt Patricia; 3, Derek Carr, Jon Gruden; 4. Marcus Mariota, Mike Vrabel; 5. Mitch Trubiski, Matt Nagy; 6. Eli Manning, Pat Shurmur 7. ????, Steve Wilks.

Both Johnny Manziel and Josh Freeman are back in the CFL. Which player do you think has the better season in 2018?

Jerry: Manziel. He can play and that league fits him perfectly. Josh Freeman can’t play and there isn’t a league in any country that fits him.

Tim: If Johnny can stay out of the hoosegow he is tailor made to run roughshod over and through that league.  How many scrabble points did I just get.  Conversely, Josh Freeman will not be a good fit for the CFL and has a real solid shot to not make it past camp.

Some of the early draft buzz has the Bucs drafting guard Quinton Nelson. Only three times in this century has a guard gone in the top 12 picks, however. Is the position just not worth addressing that highly?

Tim: I’ve watched and scouted Quinton Nelson for the past three years, and I think he has a chance to be an All Pro.  With that kind of rating, he would be worthy of the pick.  Generally, guards shouldn’t be taken that highly in the draft but the great ones can make a difference on your team and you’ll make your quarterback and running back very happy.

Jerry: The Bucs need to draft linemen, regardless of what side of the ball they come from. Quinton Nelson is special. The Bucs should throw a party if he’s there at their pick. Assuming their is no special pass rusher on the board, which I seriously doubt will be there.

Blake Bortles played pretty good for the Jags Sunday. If you ran the Jacksonville franchise, would you go into next season with him as the starter, or would you try to upgrade?

Jerry: Try to upgrade, Bortles played solid throughout the playoffs, but his body of work isn’t good enough. They should look hard at Alex Smith. He’d be a perfect fit for them.

Tim: No.  Blake can be a quality back-up in the league -- in the manner of a McNown, Fitzpatrick or Schaub -- but he isn’t good enough to be a starter who can consistently get you where you want to go as a team.

Likewise, if you’re the Vikings, do you stay with Case Keenum?

Tim: Yes, I would.  He is their new Fran Tarkenton.  Who knows what the future holds for both Bradford and Bridgewater durability and career-wise?  They need to lock him up!

Jerry: Absolutely. The guy was incredible. If there is one thing for certain, Keenum will be back with the Vikes. They can’t afford not to sign him. Why? What are their options? The only option that may make sense is trading for Alex Smith, but that going to cost a lot and are they that much better with him given they will have have to give up a top draft pick or picks.

Taking the quarterbacks out of it: Who are your choices for MVP for each team for the Super Bowl.

Jerry:Patriots, Danny Amendola. Eagles, Jay Ajayi.

Tim: Philly: Alshon Jeffrey . He catches the game-winner in the end zone over the Pats' diminutive DBs. New England:  Gronkowski. He makes us forget about Willis Reed

This is the Eagles’ third trip to the Super Bowl. Is this team better than the team that lost XV to the Raiders with Ron Jaworski. Is it better than the Eagles team that lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX?

Tim: Hard to say, as I have not taken my Prevagen this morning.  With Wentz I’d say it probably is.  Those were good teams top to bottom for the era they played in with more big name stars then this present Philly group.

Jerry: The Eagles team that lost to the Patriots was probably their best team. They lost to a very good Patriot team.

How would this team rank with the Patriots’ Super Bowl champions? The 01 team that beat the Rams, the ’03 team that beat the Panthers, the ’04 team that beat the Eagles, the ’14 team that beat Seattle or the ’16 team that beat Atlanta or this one?

Tim: I’d put them at the bottom of the list.  This defense is not as good as any of those units and Brady does not have the skill people man for man that any of those teams had.  Having said that, they should win the game.









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