If you didn't know it before the Jets' first workout under Rex Ryan, you do now. Bart Scott has perfected the art of motion — with his play and with his mouth.
"We want to have fun, we want to be ourselves. If a young man likes to go out there and talk and express himself that way, then so be it," Ryan, the Jets' rookie head coach, said today. "Generally those are the guys that have to back it up, so it's a lot of fun to see. It's just Bart being Bart and that's one of the reasons why he's here."
Even before 7-on-7 drills began, the 6'2", 240-pound Scott (a.k.a. the Madbacker) was barking at Kareem Brown. Let's just say Scott didn't think Brown, a converted defensive tackle, was having any success getting off of Scott's press in coverage. So "pleasantries" were exchanged with words that might make sailors blush.
"One thing Coach really stressed is having fun at practice, and having guys like Bart on the opposite side jawing with the quarterbacks, jawing with the skill guys, that's having fun," said veteran FB Tony Richardson. "You can't have fun in this league if you don't enjoy your work. I think guys are going to feed off his energy."
And once that 7-on-7 session actually commenced, Scott was at it immediately. He neatly broke up a pass intended for Leon Washington and then the former Raven chirped away.
"That's just who I am. It's part of the game. You have to set a tone," Scott told newyorkjets.com after practice. "I'm sure a lot of guys were curious: 'What kind of guy is this guy? I hear a lot about him. Is he good? Is he not? Is he small? Is he big? Is he a thumper? What can he do?'
"It's a new challenge. First you have to prove yourself to your teammates. They can't look at film and instantly give you respect. And I earn it by showing him how I play and how I practice. That's how you respect — one play at a time. They'll come around and say, 'OK, this guy is who he says he is.' "
If the Green & White allowed fans into minicamp, Jets senior director of merchandise Chris Pierce wouldn't have had enough No. 57 jerseys at his disposal. Scott will be a fan favorite, an intelligent, charismatic person who just happens to be one of the top defensive players in football.
"He's intense," T-Rich said. "Every time you played against Baltimore, you knew they would come after you from all different angles. Bart is one of those guys you'd better account for and you'd better know where he's at, because they really allowed him to be pretty free in the defense and line up in different positions.
"You had to know where he was at because he'll hit you from the first play until the last. You knew what you were going to get. And now I'm glad that he's on our side and he's only going to make our defense better."
When Daily News reporter Rich Cimini first got to Scott in the locker room, Scott threw out a term you don't often hear — "swaggalicious." According to urbandictionary.com, the term applies to "someone or something with lots of swagga." Scott's got swagger and it's a welcome sight in the Jets locker room, which had been marked for its reserved nature the past three seasons.
"I can't be in situations where it's tight. You can't be afraid to fail. You should be excited you have the opportunity to step on the football field and play a game," Scott said. "You are paid a lot of money and you're a role model to kids. What better job is there in America, especially considering that we have a recession-proof job? You ought to be excited to go out there."
After today's early practice, Ryan brought his players into a huddle and told them to have more fun. Scott, who after seven seasons in Baltimore is quite familiar with the Jets' new boss, provided a great example for his teammates under a sun-soaked sky this afternoon.
"If you can have fun and work hard, then time goes by faster. You can get some quality work done, quality reps done, but at the same time you're having fun," Richardson said. "Having more guys like him around, you feed off that."
The Jets targeted Scott in free agency not only because he's 28 and in the prime of his career but also because he will lead by example. It's fitting that Scott's uniform color has changed to green because he's always full-go ahead.
"I just want to set the tone, the tempo — how we practice, how we work," he said. "You have fun but it's 100 miles an hour. It's either you stop or you go. There is no in-between, there is no cruise control. We come out here to work and Xs and Os can be worked out, but we have to set a tempo and set a standard. We put it up high and we don't compromise."