Ask the experts: Tim & Jerry

by Gary Shelton on December 1, 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.

Some receivers go off from time to time. What Julio Jones did against the Bucs (12 catches, 253 yards) was something else. Have you ever seen a receiver have a day like that?

Tim: Pretty special. He is easily the best in the business right now.  His only flaw is his propensity for getting hurt.  To his credit, he does everything he can to try and play.  I was initially skeptical of what they had to give up to get him -- especially being a receiver -- but I was wrong.  He has been well worth it and more.

Jerry: Thank God, no! Maybe I just forgot, but that was unbelievable, particularly when you have a defensive coordinator

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who knows him and the quarterback. Really hard to comprehend. The one thing you know when an offense needs to make a play, they go to their best player. Their star running back is out, so it really leaves you only one guy to concern yourself with. What happened shouldn’t have happened. No excuses for that one.

The Bucs have faced five great quarterback performances, five great receiver performances and five decent running back performances. All of them have come on the road. Are bad teams even worse on the road?

Jerry: Yes, they are. Now they have a hard time hearing, particularly on offense. Playing on the road is a real test for any team, because it takes more resolve and focus to execute. The Bucs have failed most of the time in those areas, particularly when it counts.

Tim: The easy answer is yes.  All teams -- with few exceptions -- aren’t as good on the road.  Road games are about handling noise and increased pressure.  Good teams overcome that with excellent preparation and elite leadership and poise across the board. Additionally, if players sense fear or trepidation or doubt from the head coach and his staff, it can negatively affect the entire team.  Everyone has to strongly believe they can win those games.  Former Bucs-Seahawks-Browns wide receiver Joe Jurevicius would go around the locker room asking players, coaches and even me if we were scared prior to big games and he wasn’t kidding.  It was a  great focus mechanism for all and it worked.

The Chiefs have lost five out of six, and Alex Smith isn’t playing well. Do you think the Chiefs would be wise to get rookie Patrick Mahomes some playing time?

Tim: Wise…yes.  Will it happen…no.  If they don’t pull out of this tail spin then changes will be made in the off season.

Jerry: I would. At this point they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. He’s their future and when your losing like they are, your future is now.

The Browns still have the Packers and the Bears to play. Can both of them stop Cleveland from going 0-16, and if so, would these Browns be worse than the ’76 Bucs and the ’08 Lions?

Jerry: I think they are terrible and have been terrible for a long time. There is something in the water in Cleveland and their whole organization is drinking it. Yes, both those teams and the old semi-pro team from Youngstown, called the Youngstown Hard Hats could have beaten them as well. Bring Josh Gordon back with all their issues? Are you kidding me! Somebody had better tell the Browns they are no longer sinking, they have plugged.

Tim: These Browns are bad, but I was with that Buccaneer bunch of ’76 and they were super bad.  It was the land of the misfit toys football wise.  If the two teams played, the Browns would win on a botched Buc extra point.

Dirk Koetter’s Bucs were down seven points with 7:10 to play, but he went for the first down  and was stopped instead of kicking a field goal to get close. But wouldn’t the Bucs have had to stop Atlanta regardless? Was it a good call?

Tim: Had they made it and scored a TD ... yes.  I didn’t think it was a terrible call because they were rallying back and had some confidence and momentum going.  It seemed like, as a team, the players and coaches thought they could get it done.

Jerry: It was a good call, but a bad play. The Bucs needed only a yard. There had to be a better play in the play book in that situation. Their tight end hadn’t done anything up until that point. Something quick, be it a run or a pass. The play took too long to develop and gave the Falcons to much time, in a very congested area on the field, to react to it.

Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy, on the other hand, tried a 57-yard field while leading in the third period. Wouldn’t he have been better to punt and play defense?

Jerry: Absolutely, that was poor judgment on Mike’s part. I’ve seen him do things like that in the past. It’s about field position, not points, at that juncture. The last thing you want to do is give your opponent a short field to work with. Their playing-calling is less predictable because you’ve given them great field position.

Tim: I didn’t like that call because of where they were going to give Pittsburgh the ball on a miss and the odds of making that kick were extremely poor.

The rumors are that Jeff Fisher might return to the NFL next year. Where do you see him landing if he does?

Tim: I see him landing in the unemployment line.

Jerry: Anywhere. The field is wide open.  Jeff’s got a lot of tread on his tires, but when you're stranded like a lot of teams are, you have no choice but to jump in.

Jimmy Garappolo finally got into the game for the 49ers. Do you think it’s time he shouldered the load?

Jerry: Yes, it is time. They traded for him to see if he can be counted on to be their quarterback of the future. They don’t have a lot of time to audition him, so playing him now makes all the sense in the world.

Tim: The way their offensive line is playing, I would be very cautious about handing over the reins if I could help it.  John should play the season out with backups and then work to rebuild the offense in the off season with Garappolo at the helm.  Media and public pressure to play him will be intense so this is a good early test for John's and Kyle’s leadership ability.

If you ran an NFL franchise and decided to hire a college coach, who would you hire? Urban Meyer, Jimbo Fisher, Brian Kelly or Dabo Swinney?

Tim: Given that group I would probably chose Urban and Kelly as being more NFL ready.  If I had to choose between that group, and a seasoned NFL head coach or assistant, I’d probably go with the latter.  There really isn’t a no-brainer pick from either category, which is disheartening.

Jerry: Dabo. I like him. He’s for real and can handle the pressure of what it takes to be a head coach at the highest level. He’s got humility and his players believe in him. Because it’s not all about him, it’s about them.

Aqib Talib now faces a two-game suspension for getting tossed after his fight with Michael Crabtree. He’s a talented guy, but when you consider all the headlines in the guy’s career, is he worth the trouble?

Tim: No.  It’s been my experience that loud troublemakers with talent divide teams and locker rooms and force players to choose sides which can be a cancer in your building.

The Predictions

Tampa Bay at Green Bay

Jerry: Green Bay. And I don’t care who’s the quarterback for either team.

Tim: Green Bay. I would watch, but we’ll be looking for a tree

Vikings at Falcons

Tim: Atlanta. Great game but I have to go with the better quarter plus home field. The  Falcons are back.

Jerry: Falcons, they are hitting their stride. The Vikes have to trip somewhere along the line.

Panthers at Saints

Jerry: Saints. Too much offense. The Panthers still need to find their identity on offense.

Tim: New Orleans. Tough one to call, so I'm going with home field in a rebound game for the Saints.

Eagles at Seahawks

Tim; Philadelphia. Real tough gritty test.  Statement game for the Eagles if they want to be considered  elite and the best team in the NFL

Jerry: The 'Hawks. Though they are wounded, they’re learning to play with a limp.








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