Rex Ryan’s right hand man is none other than 11-year veteran linebacker Bart Scott. Last season, No. 57 became disgruntled with his diminished role on defense as coordinator Mike Pettine utilized Scott primarily as a situational defender. Scott enters training camp 15 pounds lighter after working feverishly this offseason to increase his speed and agility. New York’s man in the middle is aiming to contribute as an every down defender this time around.
Scott amassed 65 tackles, 4.5 sacks and forced one fumble in 16 games last year. While productive totals for a 31-year-old backer, Scott’s numbers went down across the board with the exception of his sack total, which happened to be the second-highest total of his career. Following last season’s late collapse, Scott directed a profane gesture at a camera man, drawing a fine from the team and bringing into question his future outlook with Gang Green.
During the offseason the Jets gave Scott’s agents permission to explore trade possibilities with the Giants rumored to be a possible landing spot. Ultimately Rex Ryan mended the fences with Scott and the linebacker reaffirmed his commitment to staying with the Green-and-White. Scott is due $4.2 million this season, a hefty hit against New York’s salary cap. With speculation growing that Scott could be a potential training camp casualty, the likelihood is slim the Jets would cut ties with their veteran leader.
New York’s mantra “One Step Faster” was embraced by Scott, who took his offseason conditioning and training to an entirely new level. With the Jets ratcheting up their defensive intensity, Scott is planning to play an integral role in Pettine’s newly revamped attack. Even with the Jets transitioning from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3, Scott could have ample opportunities to showcase his playmaking prowess.
Critics contend that Scott may be overvalued by the front office, yet his intangibles and positive impact on the Jets newcomers cannot be overlooked. A forceful leader and fierce competitor, Scott’s work ethic and passion for the game become infectious. As New York ushers in a new wave of rookies and builds its young core, many players will turn to Scott for guidance and inspiration, which is something that will not show up in the box score.