The season began with a story of Bart Scott’s rebirth — lost weight, increased speed and strength — but it has developed into a tale of toe woe for the 11th-year linebacker.
“It’s tough. It’s like losing a thumb on your hand. Everything you do comes off your big toe,” said Scott, who said he injured the painful digit on the second defensive play of Game 3 at Miami and isn’t sure of his availability for Sunday’s home rematch against the Dolphins.
Scott, who spoke to reporters after today’s practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, said the toe has been “beat up” since his college days at Southern Illinois. He described this latest episode as basically “turf toe, ligament damage, capsule strains and things like that. You’re talking about running on a toe that’s not all the way in the socket and it’s loose and swollen and you’re wearing an extra large shoe.
“I’ve always prided myself on being able to have a high pain tolerance and to be able to play through things. I just want to show my teammates that I’m willing to bite down and continue to play and do what I can to help us win,” he said in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room following today’s practice. “If we have to shut it down, we shut it down. If not, then we’ll be ready to go.”
Shutting it down for a game is not something Scott has done in a long time. Since 2004 with the Ravens, he has played in 119 consecutive regular-season games, the fifth-longest streak among active NFL linebackers and the eighth-longest among all active defensive players. Throw in 10 playoff games and the streak reaches 129 consecutive games. For the Jets, those streaks are 55 straight regular-season games played and 61 straight including playoffs.
Then as far as starts go, he’s started 111 of the last 113 regular-season games, and 121 of the last 123 including playoffs, and with the Jets it’s 53 starts in 55 games, 59 in 61 including playoffs.
The only start he didn’t make last season was Game 5 at New England, when the Jets opened with seven defensive backs on the field against Tom Brady and company. Then on Sunday he missed another start at Foxboro and played in what was likely an eight-season low of nine plays on defense and 16 total.
“Whatever is best for the team. I don’t care about a streak,” Scott said about the possibility of missing this start. “I care about helping my team win and trying to win a championship. That’s always been my primary goal, and that’s why I came here. If helping the team best is for me to be on the sideline and help these young linebackers see what’s going on and help slow the game down for them, then I’ll do that. If it’s biting down so we can get to the bye at 3-1 in our division, then that’s what I’ll do.”
The one young linebacker most impacted by Scott’s injury is third-round rookie Demario Davis, who was in for the most plays of his young career and the most among the Jets on Sunday, 98 total and 69 plays on defense.
Despite the difficulties, Scott did make one contribution vs. the Patriots, tackling RB Stevan Ridley for a yard loss on the Pats’ third-quarter touchdown drive. He’s tied for the Jets lead at 4.0 tackles for loss this season, and he leads the Jets in TFLs from 2009 to present with 25.5.
Scott’s being benched, as some reports had it today, doesn’t quite capture the situation, as head coach Rex Ryan explained at his news conference today.
“New England did a lot of stuff where they put him in space with a lot of empty sets, four and five receivers,” Ryan said. “Normally I like to keep Bart out there. But if he can’t change directions in space as well as he normally can, we’ve got to do what’s best for our football team. Is he going to be 100 percent this week? No. Hopefully when that bye comes, we’ll rest him that whole time and he’ll have two weeks to get ready for Seattle. Hopefully that will really help him.”
The Rest of the Injury Picture
Aside from Scott, the Jets’ health continued to slowly improve. DT Kenrick Ellis (knee), S LaRon Landry (heel) and RBs Joe McKnight (ankle) and Bilal Powell (shoulder) didn’t practice. But TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist), C Nick Mangold (ankle) and S Eric Smith (knee) all got some limited work in team drills and DT Sione Po‘uha continued as a limited participant. “Sione moved around and looked pretty good,” Ryan said of Big Bo’s Wednesday practice. “His strength numbers are up. I’ve been encouraged by that.”
Among the Jets’ full-go guys, WR Clyde Gates (shoulder),who’s missed two games, “looks like he’s coming around,” according to the coach.
Miami’s report remained short and static. DT Randy Starks, who was excused from Wednesday’s workout for non-football reasons, returned today and was taken off the list.
Tags: Bart Scott, Clyde Gates, Demario Davis, Miami Dolphins, Rex Ryan, Sione Pouha
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