That’s the question that will be on the minds of Steeler Nation this Sunday when the Steelers take on the Tennessee Titans.
Starting left tackle Max Starks suffered an ankle sprain during last week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. The sprain still seems to be giving Starks problems, so it is likely that Jonathan Scott will get the start. Which is why many fans are asking “Who is Jonathan Scott?”
Scott is new to the Steelers, though he is not new to the NFL. He’s actually a 4-year veteran who has been in the NFL since 2006.
Scott played his college football at Texas (Casey Hampton, Tony Hills, and injured WR Limas Sweed are also Texas alumni). He was drafted in the 5th round (141st overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He spent two seasons with the Lions where he never quite broke into the starting line-up. He came close several times, but each time it looked like he might be on the verge of becoming a starter, he got sidetracked by injuries. The Lions finally tired of Scott’s constant injuries, and they released him at the end of training camp in 2008.
In December of 2008, Scott was signed as a free agent by the Buffalo Bills. He spent 2008 & 2009 with the Bills. He didn’t play in any games in 2008, but in 2009 he started 8 games as the Bills’ offensive line was hit with a rash of injuries. Scott missed several games that season himself due to recurring ankle injuries.
The Steelers signed Scott as a free agent during the off-season. Because of his constant injuries, there is not a lot of game film out there on Scott. However, the biggest testimonial to his potential is that Sean Kugler, the Steelers’ new offensive line coach, wanted to sign Scott. Kugler was his offensive line coach in Buffalo. Kugler knows Scott very well, and he knows exactly what he is capable of. Since Kugler wanted to make a good impression with his new employer (the Pittsburgh Steelers), it is doubtful that he would have recommended signing a player that he didn’t believe would make him look good.
For what it is worth, Scott has always been viewed as a player with a lot of potential. He is big (6’6″, 318 lbs), and very athletic. That is a good start for an offensive tackle. However, it seems that each time he starts to establish himself, he gets sidetracked by injuries.
It is interesting that the Steelers are calling on Scott to replace Max Starks rather than fellow Texas alumni Tony Hills. Hills has been with the Steelers longer, and is more familiar with their offense. However, Hills started off poorly with the Steelers. Last year he was routinely destroyed in training camp. He was so bad that I gave him the nickname “Neo“. But he looked much better this year, and he ended up making the Steelers’ final 53-man roster.
Despite his improvement, it is obvious that the Steelers feel more confident in Scott than they do in Hills. So Scott is the replacement for Max Starks.
This Sunday, Steeler Nation will find out “Who is Jonathan Scott”. I hope we like the answer.
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