When you stop and think about it, it’s really not surprising that multiple fights have occurred in NFL training camps over the last week, including ones involving quarterbacks Cam Newton and Geno Smith.
“Camp is already a tense situation,” former Jet and current CBS Sports NFL analyst Bart Scott said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Guys are fighting for their jobs, guys are on high alert, they’ve been practicing against each other – you see fights happen all over the league. So you already got that element. (But with Smith), you throw in money and disrespect and (having an altercation) in front of everybody. That’s the thing – in front of other people. You can disrespect me (in private), but you’re calling (out) my manhood (when you do it in front of other people).”
Some people are blaming Rex Ryan for Smith’s broken jaw, but Scott doesn’t buy it.
“They’re still putting stuff on Rex,” Scott said in disbelief. “Listen, that’s the individual. Rex didn’t promote fighting. That didn’t go on like that. We never had any of that type of thing. But what that speaks to is the level of respect Geno gets in that locker room – because most leaders in that locker room would have defused the situation. So once the guy got up, they would have got up and said, ‘Chill out, man. Chill out. You’re tripping. You’re tripping.’ But the fact that nobody said anything and they allowed it to escalate let’s you know that some people (don’t support Smith). You talk about Calvin Pace. He said a man lost his job. It sounds to me like he’s defending the linebacker and not Geno. That let’s you know the level of respect.”
Scott played with several quarterbacks during his 11-year NFL career, including Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco and Troy Smith.
“Maybe Troy, but I could never see any of these guys getting into that situation,” Scott said. “Because you don’t expect that type of behavior out of your quarterback. It’s on your quarterback to be the leader. Even if he’s not the leader, he’s supposed to act like he’s the leader and you’re supposed to defuse the situation. ‘I got you. No problem.’ It should be the other way around. A quarterback, his job is secure. He’s supposed to be going ahead and taking care of the young guys. Even if he’s a young guy, he’s supposed to be dishing money out left and right. ‘Hey man, you need this? You got the check? Don’t worry, man. I got it.’ That’s how you become a leader. That’s how people ride for you.”
Indeed, it’s all about endearing yourself to the rest of the team.
“Everybody sacrifices for you,” Scott said. “You’re the quarterback. You get all the praise. Guys are doing all the work. That kind of comes with the territory. You got to sit up here, you got to take the bullets, you got to be a great locker room guy, you have to be a leader, you have to be accepted by everybody. You have to know everybody’s names and background. Listen, you should have known by this guy’s background he was a wolf. I mean, he fought a cop. You think he cares about you because you’re the starting quarterback? Bro, you’re under .500. If you was above .500, he wouldn’t have did it because he would have knew he would have been out. If that would have been somebody else – we were joking on the air. I was talking to (Boomer Esiason). If that was Muhammad Wilkerson, they probably would have suspended Geno an extra two games when he came back. ‘You know, you could have hurt (Wilkerson’s) hand. What the hell are you doing, man? Geno, why didn’t you duck? You duck. Give him the soft part of the face. Are you crazy?’
“I like the kid, but it’s a growing process,” Scott continued, slightly more serious. “He has to mature or understand what comes with the job, especially in a market like this where everything you do is going to be highlighted. You have to understand. I wish somebody would pull him to the side and tell him you’re going about the business the wrong way. This is how you become a leader.’ You assume that he knows how to be a leader because he was the quarterback at West Virginia, but that doesn’t mean anything. These are grown men. You have to earn their respect. It’s hard to be a leader if you’re not successful on the football field.”