Scott Explains Remarks About Ryan

August 28, 2009|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,mike.preston@baltsun.com

Former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott has been involved in controversies before, but he was surprised by the one he stirred up after the Ravens' preseason game here against the New York Jets on Monday night.

Scott, now starting for the Jets, spent his first seven seasons in the NFL with the Ravens before signing a lucrative contract with New York once free agency began this past offseason.

After the game Monday night, Scott appeared to take some shots at head coach John Harbaugh, who took the Ravens to the AFC championship game last year in his rookie season. Jets coach Rex Ryan was then the Ravens' defensive coordinator.

Ryan "was the head coach of that football team [the Ravens] last year, whether you guys know it or not," Scott said. "He kept that team together. The defense leads that team over there, and he controls the defense."

Scott was surprised by some of the feedback from those comments and called Wednesday night to clear up his statements. He said he wasn't trying to offend Harbaugh, but rather to bolster Ryan to the New York media.

"Look, I went to war with Coach Harbaugh and that team, so there is nothing bad to say about him or the organization," Scott said. "I didn't say anything bad about them when I was there or when I left because those guys gave me an opportunity. To disrespect Coach Harbaugh goes against everything I stood for when I was there and everything I stand for now."

There's more, but let's introduce a little background first. Scott didn't particularly care for Harbaugh's long practices or the way he talked down to certain players, but he never publicly expressed any dislike for Harbaugh.

"The question Monday night was what I thought about Rex Ryan as a head coach," Scott said. "I was explaining to the reporters that Ryan had already been a head coach, that he was the bridge between Harbaugh and the players last year. He had already worked with Harbaugh before, so when the players didn't know why he did certain things, they would go to Rex and he would say: 'Don't worry about him. I've known him for a long time, trust him, and he is just doing what is best for the players.' He gave John Harbaugh instant credibility.

"It was the same way with Cam Cameron," Scott added. "He had been a head coach already, and he was the bridge to the offensive players. He already had head coaching experience, and John used that. It's the same way with me and Rex here in New York. The players come to me and ask why does Rex Ryan do certain things, and I explain to them why because I've been in his system. That was the point I was trying to make, just like it was in Chicago with Buddy Ryan and Mike Ditka. Buddy Ryan was already prepared to be a head coach."

The Iron Man

Ravens tight end L.J. Smith pulled his left hamstring Monday night, and is not expected to play Saturday night against the Carolina Panthers.

My question is: When is Smith going to play, not even a game, but two consecutive quarters? He came here with the reputation of being injury-prone the past two seasons in Philadelphia, and so far he has done nothing except add to his reputation, and the list of injuries he has suffered.

"He had the hip flexor, the groin, the sports hernia, the upper hamstring," Harbaugh said.

Stop. No more. And while Smith keeps sitting out, starting tight end Todd Heap continues to practice every day. Mr. Heap has turned into the Iron Man.

Rookie's welcome to Carolina

Ravens rookie offensive tackle Michael Oher, the team's top draft pick in April, has started two preseason games, but his welcome-to-the-NFL moment might come against the Panthers.

On the other side is defensive end Julius Peppers, a four-time Pro Bowl selection in seven seasons in the league. Yeah, the Peppers with the nonstop motor.

"I'm looking forward to it," Oher said. "I'm playing against a great player. Julius Peppers is big, strong and physical. He has all the tools. He's a proven player in this league. You have to bring everything you've got to the table. I grew up watching this guy. Of course you look forward to those types of games playing great players."

Wide receivers

Ravens wide receiver Mark Clayton said he might play Saturday night, but Harbaugh said he wouldn't, and that wasn't surprising. Clayton hasn't practiced since Aug. 2, when he had to leave the field with a partially torn hamstring.

It makes no sense to play him and possibly risk further injury. The Ravens already know what Clayton can do, and Clayton's absence would give more repetitions to receivers like Justin Harper and Kelley Washington, who are competing for playing time.

And as much as they like to catch one and then drop one, they need the time.

McAlister to 'Big D'?

Rumors have been circulating that former Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister was close to getting a tryout with the Cowboys, but Dallas officials say that isn't on their agenda.

There is little question that McAlister can still play in the NFL. He might have slowed down a little because of the knee operation, but McAlister could easily make the switch to safety.

Cornerback concerns

I'm already concerned about the Ravens cornerbacks in base defense, but it will be really scary when they are in nickel or dime coverage. Ravens Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed covers a lot of ground on the back end, but he might have to apply for a real estate license to cover some of the property that might be left open in passing situations.

I would describe that situation as shaky at best.

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