Scott played his high school football at Southeastern in Detroit, and after being undrafted out of Southern Illinois in 2002, has worked his way back to his hometown to show off his skills as the Jets' starting inside linebacker.
“It was good to come home,” Scott said. “It was exciting, a tremendous atmosphere. I had to make sure I could control my emotions because this is the first opportunity I could come back as someone who has actually put in some work.”
Scott described to newyorkjets.com’s Eric Allen on "Four Quarters" in the past week just how much growing up in the city of Detroit impacted his life. He returns to his high school frequently and gives back in the form of equipment, uniforms and bleachers, so in the locker room after the nailbiting win he was very expressive. The ninth-year veteran knew that all the eyes of his hometown fans and family would be on him during this game and made sure to give them something to cheer for.
“Last time I was here I was just a guy trying to get down and get my feet wet and get on the football field,” Scott said. “Since then I’ve accomplished a couple of things. It was exciting for me to come back and play in front of a true fan base that has supported me since day one. It’s great to come back and make those guys walk around with their chest out.”
The game itself was physical, characteristic of head coach Rex Ryan's and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s crew. It was also a sloppy affair, with a combined 22 penalties for 201 yards, with the Jets accounting for 11 for 99 yards. The slugfest also included four personal fouls (one was declined) and several chop-block calls. Many times it got heated and chippy, and while Scott was rung up with one of the personal foul calls, he noted the team needed to try to rise above it.
“It was tough, just trying to be a professional, and we realized, hey, this is how it’s going to be called," he said. "That’s how it’s going to go and you just try to play. You try to let your talents speak for themselves.”
Scott had six tackles and his first sack of the season in between many times expressing himself physically and vocally inside Ford Field. The only other time he’s come back to Detroit to play against the Lions was in 2005 with the Baltimore Ravens. He wasn’t a starter then but made five tackles in the early-season game before starting the final 10 games of that season and recording 92 tackles.
The Jets needed every one of his plays during Sunday’s come-from-behind victory over the Lions.
“We don’t want it to get down to this, the last minute of the game,” Scott said. “We have to go back and work hard in practice. It shouldn’t be this difficult. This is a talented football team. We just have to continue to grow as a football team, keep trying to establish our identity and get better. It’s the small things, technique things. We can’t put guys on short fields.”
The Green & White came into the game as the second-ranked defense in the NFL in points allowed and seventh in yards allowed per game. Against Detroit, which had been averaging 38 points per game at home, the Jets allowed 306 yards and the 20 points but held the Lions' rushing attack to 78 yards on 28 attempts.
The Jets are 6-2 and back atop the AFC East with a 3-0 division record that includes a win over 6-2 New England, but there are plenty of things to work on moving forward.
“We're happy where we are with the record,” Scott said. “But we have to get a lot better because when it comes down to November and December when you’re trying to go for the gold and go for the playoffs and home field, you really have to make sure that you’re playing a lot better than you’re playing right now. But we’ll take it.”