On a day where the rain sometimes was coming down in sheets and head coach Rex Ryan had his players going head to head in the trenches, linebacker Bart Scott was ecstatic. Beyond the weather, it was the fact that Ryan had his players working on goal line situations and running game drills that made Scott so amped up. This Jets team is one that won't back down from a fight, and Scott said it showed today in practice.
"That's where the man comes out," Scott said. "You can really point out the non-physical guys on your team. Everyone knows what you're going to do. You're going to run in this gap or this gap. Can this linebacker hit this fullback? Can this D-lineman get penetration and move men off the ball?
"There's no trick — it's man's football."
At SUNY Cortland, Scott has been one of the most vocal leaders on the field, and after practice even dusted off his term from last season, "swagalicious," a derivation of "swag," which he explained as "the bravado that you walk around with."
There's no lack of machismo on this Jets team, as teammates, Kris Jenkins and Antonio Cromartie, have displayed throughout the past week. Scott believes that attitude is fantastic, and that individuality within a hard-hitting team framework is celebrated within the Jets organization.
"That's for all of us," Scott said. "I wanted to come to a place where I could play first of all the type of defense that I love to play. Aggressive, nasty, not one of those bend-don't-break type of deals. I can also be myself."
"Bart being Bart," as Ryan says, has allowed Scott to be one of the focal points of HBO's "Hard Knocks" cameras, but it also means he has the reputation and status to assist others on the field. He has exhibited his knowledge of the game and willingness to be a leader this offseason. From discussing the team's depth on the defensive line to how events like the Green & White Scrimmage can help the squad, he demonstrated maturity and perspective.
When Scott mentioned Vladimir Ducasse, the rookie left guard, he showed his ability to be a teacher and positive influence. He went into detail about how, early on, Ducasse was tipping his hand to the defense during certain situations, and explained how he and his teammates go about fixing those problems.
"You have to just light him up," Scott said. "You teach him by making him pay. With those types of things, after you defeat him and smack him around a little, you're like, 'Hey man, you're sending me a text message.' "
While they learn from each other on the field with violent impacts and smashmouth football, there is a pervasive mentality in the organization to protect one another, which comes straight from Ryan. Scott believes that this defense has a wonderful personality, which manifests itself in different forms. From David Harris' quiet, lead-by-example mentality to Scott's and Jenkins' barking, the "D" is intimidating and gives the offense no quarter but still plays as one cohesive unit.
"You have to be able to go live but still take care of your teammate," Scott said. "Because at the end of the day this is the same guy you have to depend on Game 1."
The culture of this team makes the players feel like family and like each person matters. This is why Scott trusts that veteran players like LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor and even he chose and will continue to choose the Jets over other organizations. For those older veterans looking to jumpstart a career, the Jets have proven to be a perfect landing point.
"I think coming here rejuvenates them when they first start getting around the energy that flows within our building and the energy that comes off our head coach," he said. "The way we go about business, the way we have fun, it really makes football a game again and not a business."
Scott said players on other teams "lie to the media every day" but Jets players are able to tell it like it is. For this team, the most popular sentiment is that they have the best NFL team and a great chance to win the Super Bowl — a brazen attitude that some members of the media have attacked.
"But we have big backs and we can take it," Scott said. "We're not concerned about what other people think of us. All I'm worried about is the respect and how the owner, the GM, the head coach and lastly my teammates feel about me."