Chris “Mad Dog” Russo Talks To Joe

September 8th, 2019

Talks Bucs.

Joe is always humbled when a true radio legend, a pioneer of sports talk radio, offers Joe a few minutes of his time. And so it was the case earlier this year when Chris “Mad Dog” Russo of SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio talked Bucs with Joe.

While Russo may be a New York guy, he keeps his thumb on the pulse of the Bucs. First, he is tight with internationally popular columnist Ira Kaufman and has Ira on his show each Wednesday at 5 p.m. through the Super Bowl, Russo’s son also attends the University of Tampa and Russo makes several trips to Tampa each year as a result.

Additionally, Russo went to college and worked radio in Orlando before he hit the big time.

JoeBucsFan: Your impressions of Bruce Arians coming to the Bucs?

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo: I can understand why they did it. I do think Arians is a little overrated. I know he got to the one championship game. He obviously did a good job with Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck. So he is kind of a quarterback whisperer. He has to get Winston on-page. He gives [the Bucs] credibility after trying Koetter. So I kind of get it. I understand why. But I mean, I don’t think he’s Vince Lombardi. And I do think people in Tampa kind of think they hired that person. But I understand why Tampa did it.

Joe: The people that think that [Arians is Lombardi], are they just that desperate for wins?

Russo: Yeah, I think they are. Tampa has been a franchise — and I think they are desperate to sell seats, too. They get tired of empty seats in that nice stadium. The team has been a non-factor for a long period of time. They have done nothing. They haven’t had very many good seasons. The quarterback, you can’t count on him. He always does something to get himself in trouble. So I think it is a situation where this is a big-time for the Bucs. They have enough offensive players. They have enough offensive weapons. Their defense stinks but [the team] really should get — I know it is a tough division — but they really should show some improvement and maybe they think Arians can get the job done.

Joe: Jameis Winston, do or die season?

Russo: I think so. I mean, I don’t think he is that great, to begin with. And if he is not that great — and I know the suspension is for something that happened a long time ago — he is very immature. I know people love him. But I wouldn’t trust him and I would be nervous if he is was my quarterback of the future, to be honest. I would be nervous.

Joe: When you say immature, does not also mean the Bucs are thinking, ‘Well, we stuck with him this long we can’t turn our backs on him because he will mature somewhere else and be good?”

Russo: Oh, you have to stick with him [this year]. Getting a quarterback is hard. You have to give him the $20 million and hope he develops.

Joe: And part of that is, if you cut him loose prior to the season and he matures, you will still stink unless you find a solid replacement?

Russo: That’s exactly right. You let him go and all of a sudden he turns into Joe Montana, you will look stupid. You almost have to live with his growing pains [until you find a replacement] or there will come a time he has to go out there and play well. Play 15-16 games, be consistent, don’t turn the ball over and stay out of trouble. He is going to have to do that eventually [to earn a new contract] and he really hasn’t done that in his career where he has put everything together properly. Marcus Mariota cannot stay healthy. [With Jameis] it is his last chance.

Joe: You weren’t a fan of Gerald McCoy?

Russo: Listen, I don’t watch him on a day-in, day-out basis. I know people in Tampa think he is the next Mean Joe Greene. I haven’t seen it. The defense [with GMC was] never any good. Does he go out there and make big plays to help the team win? I can’t ever remember him making a play to win a game. When is the last time that defense made two big plays to win a big game? I just never see it. And Ira, among others, just loves him. The average fan has not seen that.

Joe: Tell us how you got to be friends with Ira so long ago.

Russo: Well, Ira and I, he covered a lot of New York sports when he worked for UPI. This is back in the early 80s and I did the same thing when I just came out of college, out of Rollins College [in Orlando] and we ran into each other at a lot of games. I think the first time was at a New Jersey Devils game. As a result, we became good friends and then he went down to Tampa and I went to Orlando and we weren’t too far apart. The last 10 or 12 years, we’ve been really close. He’s a great get [on radio] and he does a great job. But our friendship goes back to the days of New York.

16 Responses to “Chris “Mad Dog” Russo Talks To Joe”

  1. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Very interesting. Hard to disagree with his comments, they seem well thought

  2. JA Says:

    As the former latter half of “Fatso and Fruit Loops,” I used to listen to him on occasion while stuck in traffic in Manhattan. Back then, all he seemed to do was scream, ala Steven A. Smith–probably where Smith got the idea. Now Russo is more of a stat geek, which I like as a good alternative to our local radio, which tries to pass itself off as a sports channel.

    As for today, let’s get er going. Today begins the fastest 17 weeks of our lives before we all climb aboard the turtle that moseys us along to next September. For me, the NFL and even the Bucs rule over college football. Realize many in this area would rather watch a 77-6 college blowout of Nowhere U than a 24-21 Bucs game. Yesterday, Alabama was a 54 point favorite and “only” won by 52.
    Sad stuff from the low IQ fan base that populates a good chunk of Florida and refuses to back professional sports. The crackers always say something akin to, “college football is pure, without high paid crybabies and morons like Antonio Brown.”
    Maybe so. But if you find entertainment value in 77-6, 70-14, 62-10 and 45-0 you need your head examined.

  3. Snook Says:

    Spot on about McCoy!

    Never made a memorable play.

  4. BuddhaBuc Says:

    I agree with JA except the cracker statement. But I don’t take offense to that. I like crackers, especially with soup. Support your Bucs people.

  5. Go Bucs 72 Says:

    I agree with him about McCrybaby except that NOBODY has ever confused him for Mean Jo Greene. That’s laughable.

  6. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Hate to see national championship contenders lower themselves by playing teams that aren’t fairly matched. That said, Clemson and A & M was an interesting match-up. Followed up by LSU – Texas was an exceptional contest with some very good QB play. Hope the Bucs can keep the good times rolling.

  7. Richard Dickson Says:

    I used to listen to Russo all the time when he was in Orlando. He kinda took me from casual sports fan who just watched games when they were on to someone who followed things more closely.

  8. orlbucfan Says:

    Rollins College, huh? That’s the one the rich kids attend over here. Russo wasn’t impressive back then. Not into the Mad Dog bit and never was.

  9. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    Is it just me, or does that dude look like Henry Winkler?

  10. LargoBuc Says:

    I do listen to Mike Francesa during football season. He absolutely rippen Ben Macadoo a new one a couple of years ago. We don’t have any local media that will tear an incompetent coach to shreds like that.

  11. Kobe Faker Says:

    “If Mike Francesa was in Tampa Bay , there would be no incompetent Jason Gump

    Gump would have been gone in 2 years

    Gump owns the keys to 1Buc place

    Gump controls the local high school like media in Tampa Bay. You want access? Dont go against Gump

    No 31 other city would accept the incompentence of Jasin Gump

    Without Tmaxcon, Ghost of Darrell Henderson and Kobe Faker

    There would be no Truth and Justice”

    Kobe Faker

  12. NPRSageBoy Says:

    I’m with Mad Dog…. JayMiss is average at best

  13. Ndog Says:

    Let’s be honest does this guy ever watch our games or know anything about us? It’s like interviewing most of these clueless people that post on this site in that all they do is just regurgitate stuff people say without any clue as to what actually has transpired.

  14. Bucnjim Says:

    This had to be a tough interview just for the simple fact that he feels exactly opposite of the Joe’s.

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    I literally have never heard one person comparing Arians to Lombardi.

  16. Oneilbucs Says:

    I thought Goff was so great!!!lol lol lol he has a good running game and defense what’s the problem???