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Scott’s year is like team’s

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Lineman got going when Chargers did

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    The U-Haul trailer was in the driveway and the second car was on the market. Ian Scott knew his destination, even if he didn’t have a clue about his future.
    Hobbled by a sore knee in training camp, Scott had been a surprise casualty when the Chargers made their finals cuts in early September. They told the nose tackle to get his knee repaired, to work hard and wait by the phone.
    Nobody called for five weeks, and Scott was preparing himself to make that break from San Diego and move on.
    His wife, Crystal, and their three kids — all under the age of 5 — were ready to go back home to Gainesville, Fla., where the couple had grown up together. Scott was 28 and he didn’t know whether he’d play another down in the NFL.
    He’d already been cut by two other teams after starting for the Chicago Bears in their 2007 Super Bowl loss to Indianapolis. How many more chances was he going to get?
    Then the Chargers did call, and Scott is as good an example as any of the way San Diego’s team has adjusted and thrived when faced with adversity.
    “There are so many great stories on our football team, and he’s one of them,” head coach Norv Turner said.
    The Chargers were 2-2 and thin at defensive line when they re-signed Scott on the October day they jettisoned veteran safety Clinton Hart. Stalwart nose tackle Jamal Williams had been lost for the season with an injury, training camp acquisition Travis Johnson had a sore groin, and first-year player Ogemdi Nwagbuo was green.
    The Chargers lost to Denver on the Monday night of Scott’s return, but they have gone 11-0 since. A rotation on the defensive line that’s included Scott and Johnson sharing the work at nose tackle has shored up the team’s run defense. In the first four games, San Diego allowed an average of 151 yards rushing. For the last 12 games the average was 106.5.
    The regular-season rush defense ranking of 20th (117.8) was not great, but it’s been more than enough to hold opponents’ scoring down and support the high-powered offense.
    Of particular note has been the stingy way the line has played in short-yardage situations. Among the best efforts was the impressive four-down, goal-line stand in the win at Dallas. Linebacker Tim Dobbins made some huge plays in that series, but effectively clogging gaps was the 6-foot-3, 315-pound Scott, who drew rave reviews from defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, who coached him in Chicago.
    “He knows the role of a defensive lineman,” Turner said, “and on our team that is to take pressure off the linebackers, hold the point, be physical and competitive. He’s relentless.”
    Said Scott, “Things have worked out well. I’m extremely happy to be a part of this team. I’m having fun.
    “We’ve continued to tighten things up on defense, and I’m here to do whatever the coaches ask me, to try to make sure my teammates can count on me. I have not been the marquee guy or anything like that. I go in there and do the best job I can.”
    Having to cut Scott nine days before the season opener was wrenching for Turner, who knew the player could make a contribution if he were healthy. “It was the hardest one we had,” he said.
    “I was shocked,” Scott said of being cut. “But those are the decisions people have to make.”
    Scott had limped through much of training camp with a sore left knee that he eventually had repaired days after being released. Instead of sulking, Scott began working out as soon as he could after the surgery, making trips to Arizona to trainers he worked with when he left Florida for the NFL draft after his junior season.
    “I’ll say this: He was ready when we brought him back,” Turner said.
    A previous knee injury derailed Scott. After starting in the Super Bowl for the Bears, he was a free agent and signed with Philadelphia. But an injury in training camp knocked him out for a year, and after being cut by Carolina following training camp in 2008, Scott signed with the Chargers and saw limited duty last season.
    Heading into Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Jets, Scott can’t help but ponder the extraordinary circumstances of the season. He was once destined to return to his native Florida and a future unknown. He’d now be ecstatic to play in the Super Bowl in Miami next month.
    Miami happens to be where the Bears lost to Indy in the title game three years ago.
    “No doubt,” Scott said of being strongly motivated. “This team has worked hard to have the chance and hopefully we can take full advantage of it. Everybody in this locker room has the strong desire to do it. Nobody can take this away from you, and you don’t get too many opportunities to do it.”
  2. boltssbbound

    boltssbbound Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2006
    Scott's really shored up our interior line. Good thing he was still available when we needed him. I expect Vaughn Martin to continue to get some reps, too. He has really started to play well.

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