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New York Jets: Should Bart Scott Return at a Reduced Rate?

Jim Rogash

Bart Scott's career with the Jets can be evenly divided by his most famous interview. It took place after what we will probably remember as the high point of Rex Ryan's run. The Jets had just shocked the world by beating the Patriots in the Playoffs in Foxborough. The final 7 point margin of victory did not indicate how the Jets controlled the game. Coming a month after a 6 touchdown loss to that same team in that same venue, the win seemed to announce to the NFL that the Jets were there to stay. They were going to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year.

Although the Jets overpaid to land Scott, it would tough to complain about his work. His first two years in New York, I thought he was one of the most underappreciated players in the league. He helped Rex Ryan install the defense that finished first in the league in Rex's first year. His contribution could not be measured in numbers. Scott was the guy who did the dirty work to make others look good. He would sacrifice his body, throwing himself to eliminate blockers so that David Harris had room to make tackles. He did it better than anybody.

Since that day in Foxborough, Scott and the Jets have been in a nosedive. Scott played miserably the next week in Pittsburgh as the Steelers ran all over the Jets in the first half in a painful 24-19 loss. Then Bart's play declined in 2011 and continued to go downhill. I can only guess his style of play has something to do with his decline. Like a running back, Bart's body took such a pounding that he probably reached a point where his physical ability is permanently diminished.

I think Bart's work with the Jets might have been a bit underappreciated, but it is time to move on. He is a shell of the player he used to be. His prospects for bouncing back do not seem very good. Remember, he entered 2012 allegedly in great shape and ready to have a big bounce back season. Instead, he looked really slow and was blowing assignments that led to long plays on a weekly basis.

The Jets next year should fill their training camp with players who are either good or who are young and have good athletic ability. Bart is neither. All his presence in camp would do is take a spot away from a potential diamond in the rough. The odds of finding a player from the scrap heap are not that good, but you still want to maximize your chances for finding one.

There is another danger with bringing Bart back. Demario Davis is slated to take the starting role. Bart Scott has been with Rex Ryan for a long time going back to Baltimore. There is a lot of precedent for a situation like this. I can name you many examples where a coach has too little patience when a young player does not start well and turns to a trusted veteran. Having Bart Scott play next year will do the Jets no good in what will likely be a transitional year. The Jets should give Davis a long look to see what they have and how he makes it through growing pains. If Davis struggles, Rex Ryan would probably be pretty tempted to go to the familiar Scott with his job possibly on the line instead of doing what is right for the team over the long haul. This is the head coach who said in public that he made a mistake not giving Scott more playing time against New England even though he blew a coverage that resulted in an 85 yard touchdown. Rex cannot be given the temptation.

The Bart Scott era was an interesting one, but it should be over.