NEW YORK (WFAN) — Nobody can ever accuse Bart Scott of not keeping it real.
The former Jets linebacker, who is now an analyst for CBS, was an in-studio guest of Boomer & Carton on Friday and offered some unique perspective on what it was like to play for Rex Ryan.
Ryan, who was fired along with general manager John Idzik back on Dec. 29, following a 4-12 season, was hired as head coach of the Jets prior to the 2009 season. One of his first moves was to bring in Scott, who he had coached for seven years as a defensive assistant with the Baltimore Ravens. What followed was a two-year run that saw the Jets get to the AFC Championship game in back-to-back seasons.
Ryan was heralded as a defensive genius and Scott gained the trust and adoration of Jets fans for his play on the field and how he helped change the franchise’s culture from one of acceptance of mediocrity to expecting greatness.
But along the way the one thing that held the Jets back was their failure to develop a modern-day offense, something that still haunts them to this day. Scott told Boomer & Carton the offense he saw every day in practice, while not great, was a far cry from what the Jets have now.
“They have no leaders on the offensive side of the ball. You need a guy that is going to ring the bell. Guys who did that were Tony Richardson and Damien Woody,” Scott said. “Damien Woody brought a swagger about himself. He was an athletic big man. He had been successful everywhere he went, has two Super Bowl rings. But when they lost him and they lost Thomas Jones you started to lose the heartbeat, because (Nick) Mangold is not going to say much and D’Brickashaw (Ferguson) is going to say even less.”
The Jets relied heavily on their defense and stout running game to go a combined 20-12 during the 2009 and ’10 seasons, and 4-2 in the playoffs. Scott lamented about what could have been possible had the defense not been as dominant as it was during training camp and regular-season practice.
“(Santonio Holmes) tried to bring some competitiveness, but he couldn’t get open against (Darrelle) Revis. So, if you are not catching any balls you can’t say anything,” Scott said. “We were just smacking up on them all the time. For them, a win was to get a touchdown in red-zone coverage. Somebody scrambling. Like c’mon, really? We can’t hit you but you are going to scramble and run for a touchdown and celebrate?”
Scott played four seasons with the Jets, and said the offense struggled so much at times during his tenure that the defense had no choice but to try to take matters into its own hands.
“Me and Calvin Pace used to have this thing, we’d come to the sideline, we’re not even finished stretching: ‘Defense, we’re by ourselves today, boys. Hey, it’s on us. We’re going to have to figure out a way to win this game because the offense is not gonna to get it done,'” Scott said.
Scott was quick to defend Ryan and the perception that he always wanted nothing to do with the offense.
“I hate when people always say he has to learn more about the offense. I guarantee Andy Reid isn’t going over to Bob Sutton and telling him, ‘Hey, run under wheel fire zone.’ He’s not doing that, Rex trusts the people he hires to do their job,” Scott said.
Ryan is currently a serious candidate for the head coach openings in Atlanta and Buffalo, and reportedly has a second interview scheduled with the Falcons. Scott said if Atlanta owner Arthur Blank called him up and asked his opinion of Ryan he’d make it clear that the search should end with him.
“Rex is going to engage and he’s going to excite the fan base. He’s going to bring a bravado and a confidence,” Scott sad. “The great thing about Rex is he believes in you more than you believe in you sometimes. He instills confidence in players that may be afraid to pull the trigger. He’s going to put you in a position to be successful in practice and find out what you do well and put you in that position. So now you are going to play at a tempo that you never played and you’re going to start to believe.”
When asked what are realistic expectations next season should the Falcons hire Ryan, Scott said the combination of Rex finally having a quarterback and other weapons on offense and his prowess as a defensive guru would make them the favorites for a lot more than simply a division title.
“Not even close. They are a threat to win the Super Bowl. I’m telling you. I’m telling you, I never played with a lead, man!” Scott said.
Scott spoke about several other topics, including his new career as a broadcaster, what it was like to play with Tim Tebow, his experience at the AFC title game in Pittsburgh back in 2011, and he offered his thoughts on this weekend’s divisional round playoff games. To hear his complete interview, click on the audio link below.