Ask the experts: Tim and Jerry

by Gary Shelton on September 28, 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.

Thursday, 4 a.m.

NFL teams reacted strongly after President Trump suggested that a sitting player was a “son of a bitch.” How would you have handled Sunday? Sit or stay inside the locker room?

Jerry: You know, this anti-standing at attention during the national anthem just doesn’t seem right to me. I understand that people have a right to protest, but to dishonor our flag and the many Americans who have sacrificed their lives for our great country and the freedoms we have, discrediting our national anthem is not the venue to air your gripes. So for me to say, which is the most honorable way to disgrace the American flag, there isn’t one.

Tim: I think it’s important in this kind of situation to keep your head about you and not let your emotions dictate your response. I would have talked with ownership, the head coach and  the Players Leadership group to see if there was a consensus on how they wanted to react. It was a bit different for every team.

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I think the teams that handled it the best were the one’s that came up with a plan that the whole team would be comfortable with. I was proud of the owners who joined ranks with the players, especially the ones who were outspoken supporters of the President in the past. That said something to their fans and their players. The President’s remarks were in part meant to divide fans and divide the players. Most of the teams worked hard to ensure that didn’t happen.

The Jags won 44-7 in London. Does that mean that the Brits think the Jags are juggernauts?

Tim: I think the Ravens would say this proves that you shouldn’t eat the food in Europe and play football at 9 a.m.

Jerry: Absolutely. The Jags have been big fans of playing overseas. At some point, the Brits are going to have to declare who their favorite team is. The Jaguar have always been a trademark of craftsmanship for our English allies. Why not continue to adopt the Big Cat as their own with our American football?

Whose the bigger surprise so far? Buffalo or the Los Angeles Rams?

Jerry: Clearly, the Bills. When they made all those trades and lost their best corner, Gilbert, in free agency. I saw the white flag going up for them this season. New coach, rebuilding. But that hasn’t been the case. They had a plan and so far it looks good on the field, unlike what I thought it did on paper. Right now Sean McDermott is my Coach of the Year.

Tim: The Rams, for sure. They were awful at the end of last season and it appeared as though their quarterback was a giant bust. Fast forward to the fall: they have added juice to the offense and the quarterback looks like a different human being. The are playing aggressively, attacking football. I see some Gruden influence there. Buffalo will wake up soon and realize that they still live in Buffalo.

Does the end of the Detroit game, where the clock ran out on the Lions after a 10-second runoff following a review, make you rethink that rule. If the officials had called it right to start with, after all, the Lions would have gotten another play.

Tim: Detroit handled that whole two-minute sequence poorly, but it still should have won the game. You have to throw the ball in the end zone! Having said that, the officials misplayed the whole thing. The 10-second runoff in that particular scenario is unfair and needs to be eliminated.

Cam Newton had a tough day Sunday. He was sacked four times and intercepted three times. Can Newton return to being an elite player?

Jerry: I think it’s going to be very tough for big Cam to rewrite his script. The wheels are falling off a bit with injuries to two of his favorite receivers. His line is showing wear-and-tear at his expense. I don’t feel his offensive coordinator has a handle on his new rookie weapons quite yet and the growing pains have been painful to watch for Carolina fans. The Panthers missed the mark in terms of evaluating their team coming into the season, in particular with Newton.

Tim: The short answer is yes. He doesn’t appear healthy and recovered from surgery to me. He has lost his big guns of late now add Olsen to that list


The Dolphins have scored only 25 points in two games and coach Adam Gase has referred to his offense as “garbage.” Don’t the Dolphins have better personnel than that?

Tim: You have a QB who just got there and would rather have been in the booth with Romo. There is no leadership or confidence on that side of the ball at present. You have Cutler being Cutler. There is no guarantee that situation gets turned around, either.

Jerry: They certainly do, it’s still a little early to pull the plug on the Fins. If you remember, they started out slow last year. They will get it together and look a lot better than what we’ve seen. You start evaluating teams in weeks three and four.

Both the Bengals and Browns are 0-3. Which team is the king of Ohio?

Jerry: The Bengals are a good team, but need better management. The Browns are a bad team with no management.

Tim: Lebron's!

Who is your player of the week for week three? Would it be Tom Brady, who led a comeback, Eagles kicker Jake Elliott, who hit a 61-yard field goal to beat the Cowboys or Aaron Rodgers, who threw a winning touchdown pass in overtime? Feel free to suggest another player if you want.

Tim: Marcus Mariota was superb in the 2nd half of the Titans-Seahawks game with his accuracy and his key runs vs a very tough defense. He showed the poise and moxie of some the elite guys in this game. Keep an eye on the Titans.

Jerry: I’m going with the young kicker. He showed tremendous poise and talent in a very clutch situation against one of their arch rivals.

Joe Flacco had a tough day for the Ravens on Sunday. Is he still an elite quarterback?

Jerry: Flacco has never been an elite quarterback. He is certainly a good one, but not elite. Elite quarterbacks make their team better than the sum of their parts. Big Joe is the sum of their parts, that’s the difference between good and great.

Tim: Which country? In the USA I would say he was at times elite but not consistently and the arrow is going down. In Europe he is Chutney on a stick.

The Tampa Bay Bucs managed only 26 yards rushing on nine carries against the Vikings, and after two weeks, Tampa Bay is averaging only 3.3 yards per rush. Did the Bucs do enough in the off-season to prepare for Doug Martin’s suspension?

Tim: Apparently not. Bad game for the entire team vs. the Vikings. I wouldn’t say that game defines who they are. Here is my take: The official season opener was cancelled / They played game 2 like they always do….well / They decided to play game 3 like it was their normal season opener….a dud. Don’t be too hard on them. I think they’ll just stop thinking and play now.

Jerry: The Bucs have an O-line issue and the Vikings exposed it. No back, short of an elite one, would have faired much better. The whole team looked bad. To pin it on one area would be wrong. You chalk that game up as the stinker it was and move on.

The Predictions

Giants at Bucs

Jerry: Giants -- The Bucs defense is wounded with the loss of several of their keys players. Their offense was exposed and the G men are 0-3.

Tim: Bucs -- This could be a replay of the ’99 Giants-Bucs classic won by the Giants 17-13 (behind 28 yards rushing). The one where John McKay Sr. remarked “It looks like (Mike) Shula is calling plays for both teams”

Rams at Cowboys

Tim: Cowboys- Cowboys may have hit there stride vs the Cardinals in the 2nd half / Rams are improved but still a work in progress.

Jerry: Cowboys -- The Cowboys will run away with this one.

Raiders at Broncos

Jerry: Broncos: The Broncos can’t afford to lose this one at home.

Tim: Raiders- Raiders bounce back and the Broncos realize again that they do not have a QB


Lions at Vikings

Tim: Lions- I flipped a coin and it landed on its edge / Going with the better QB,

Jerry: Lions -- The Vikings play well at home, but the Lions can move the ball and I’m not sold on the Vikings offense.

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