The New York Jets finished 2011 with an 8-8 record, which was another disappointing finish. I mean, head coach Rex Ryan did guarantee a Super Bowl appearance after all. Well, that didn’t quite happen. Part of the blame falls on the coaching staff, and part falls on the play of the offense and defense.
In particular, the defense was less than spectacular in 2011 for the Jets. One player that stood out because of an atypically bad season — linebacker Bart Scott. Scott only racked up 66 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2011. That is a surprise given that Scott played in all 16 games, but didn’t put up the numbers that we are used to seeing out of him. Part of the reason may be attributed to the constant turmoil in the Jets locker room throughout the season. There was also constant speculation that Scott wouldn’t be returning to the Jets in 2012. But that situation has been settled, and Scott can now focus on getting better and improving his play.
And he appears to be doing just that. Scott’s agent, Harold Lewis, told me Scott has been working hard. “All is going great for him (Scott). (He) worked out harder this off-season than ever. Weight is down and speed and strength is up,” Lewis said. He also added that it “should be a fun year being Bart Scott and a Jet fan.” If you’re a Jets fan, that should definitely be encouraging news. Defense has been a primary focus for the Jets, a team that allowed 22.7 points per game in 2011. If everyone on defense puts in the extra work this off-season like Scott appears to be doing, the team should definitely see an improvement on that side of the ball in the upcoming season.
However, there has been speculation that Scott’s playing time will diminish in 2012 because of the switch to a 4-3 defensive scheme. In the 4-3 scheme, the outside linebacker is a sideline to sideline player, which Bart Scott is not. Scott’s game, throughout his career, has been based around blowing up plays in the backfield by bursting through the line of scrimmage. His play style isn’t an ideal fit for the new scheme. It’s just not.
But that doesn’t mean Scott won’t be able to make the adjustment. As his agent mentioned, he’s lighter on his feet and much quicker. Scott is talented enough to make the adjustment in the new scheme, but it may take some time. The adjustments that Scott will have to make aren’t easy, but a veteran like Scott should be able to fit into the new scheme and have a much better 2012 season.