PITTSBURGH PA - JANUARY 23: Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs down field against Bart Scott #57 of the New York Jets during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23 2011 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
What are some of the words you think of when you think of our LBing core of 2011? A few I think of are old, slow, and limited. All three of those criticisms apply to Bart Scott. In football years, Scott is a living fossil. When it comes to speed, there are few LBers slower. Someone who is old and slow isn't a problem if they can still contribute a good deal of productivity. Unfortunately for us, Scott is really only useful on running plays. With the league shifting to a pass 1st league, Scott's usefulness is dwindling.
At around $6 Million this year, and $8 Million next year, the level of production Scott produces doesn't match his price tag. The Jets needed to get younger, faster, and cheaper in the worst kind of way. In free agency there were some flirtations with some ILBers, but nothing really materialized. I had a strong feeling they would be taking an inside linebacker at some point in the draft. My prediction was proved correct in the 3rd round, with a player a lot of us fell in love with. Demario Davis fits the bill of an ILBer with youth, speed, and a cheaper price tag.
What this tells me is that the end is near for Scott. Rex has all but said that Demario will be replacing Scott. This can be inferred by him calling Davis a young Bart Scott. We made the right move by drafting a replacement, rather than signing one off the free agent market. A free agent might be more experienced, and polished, but they are far from cheap. With the rookie wage scale in place, it is cheaper than ever to draft replacements for any position. This tells me that the Jets might be shifting philosophies. In prior years, Tanny has been more willing to fill positions of need with big name free agents. This has put us in a lot of money trouble. Mike might finally know what it means to build through the draft.
What I think will happen is that Scott will be used specifically on 1st downs or obvious running plays. This is a roll Scott can play, and thrive in. There is no one I would want more doing the dirty work, than Scott. Then on all other downs, Davis can be rotated in to do everything Bart can't. I feel this is the best rout to take. We wouldn't be throwing Davis into the fire by burdening him with a 3 down assignment. Instead, we allow him to get his beak wet this year in a limited roll. Next year, when Scott is most likely released, he will take over the full time.