Linebacker Bart Scott is still the strong vocal presence we're accustomed to hearing on the football field. But away from the field he has been quiet.
Scott ended his silence this afternoon when he spoke with reporters during a conference call discussing the Jets' 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
"I think we didn't perform well in situational football," Scott said, "kind of let the game get away from us. It still was a ballgame coming out of halftime. But going into halftime, I think we could have done a better job in securing the points and maybe going in 7-3, at worse 7-0. We've got to do better in the two-minute situation and being able to hold them out."
Two weeks ago the Jets defense allowed only 66 yards rushing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the Green & White's two most recent opponents, Miami and San Francisco, have been unstoppable on the ground against them, combining for 430 yards. Scott said the key to making sure the run defense progresses is communication and knowing where everyone is supposed to be on the field.
"Knowing how to play particular runs and stuff that we have to work on, and understand how we're going to play certain plays and not getting two people stuck in the same gap," he said. "It's the same principles, to set the edge and funnel everybody into the inside, get off a block, playing with your hands and not getting caught up on blocks and things like that."
Now in his fourth season with the Jets and 11th overall, Scott, has produced 15 tackles through the first four games. Yet what seems to frustrate him most about the current season is the Jets rush defense ranking next-to-last in the NFL, giving up an average of 172.8 yards per game.
"It's absurd," Scott said. "We pride ourselves in that and it's something that we have to improve on. The thing is, we know that we can stop the run. We just have to play better. These are the same guys that stopped the run last year and, for the most part, since we've been here. We've been a top-five defense. We just have to get it corrected and figure out where we're falling short and make the adjustments."
Scott also defended quarterback Mark Sanchez who drew heavy heat for his performance in the loss. Sanchez finished the day 13-of-29 for 103 yards with one interception and one lost fumble playing without two of his receiving options: tight end Dustin Keller and wide receiver Stephen Hill, who both are still rehabbing hamstring injuries.
"That comes with the position," Scott said. "You get more of the praise when you win and you get more of the blame when you lose. It's unfortunate, but it's the society and the game that we play and it's kind of the rules of the game. Of course, he's getting a lot of, I believe, undue criticism. You're talking about a guy going against an elite defense, with two of his top two receivers not even in the game."
When the Jets return to practice Wednesday, they will begin another week of preparation. And although Sunday's loss can't ever be taken away from them, Scott and his teammates surely aren't going to shy away from their upcoming tasks.
"We have to continue to keep improving," he said. "We have to stick together. We have to take accountability, watch the film and move forward and get better, because it doesn't get any easier. Last week we played the best team in the NFC. This week we're probably playing arguably the best team in the AFC. So it doesn't get easy in this league. Every game is going to be a challenge."