Wednesday, June 19, 2013
By Mike Lowe firstname.lastname@example.org
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Trevor Scott is no rookie.
The 28-year-old defensive end is entering his fifth season in the NFL, but this is his first with the New England Patriots.
And that's important.
After four years of playing in the Black Hole known as the Oakland Raiders, where playing and winning didn't necessarily go hand-in-hand despite their "Commitment to Excellence" credo, he is with an organization that prizes winning above all else.
"You just know what to expect when you come here," said Scott. "They want to compete for the Super Bowl every year."
In Bill Belichick's first 12 years as New England's head coach, the Patriots won nine AFC East championships, including the last three, and three Super Bowl championships. They are favored to win a 10th conference championship this year.
They have won at least 10 games for nine consecutive seasons, the second-longest streak in NFL history and one, given the team's schedule, should be extended once more.
That history, said Scott, means something to every newcomer who joins the organization.
"They have been winning for a long time now," he said. "It just encourages me to work harder because I want to be part of a championship-caliber team."
Standing in front of his locker before practice Wednesday, he said he doesn't feel any pressure to perform. But he admits that it is fun being part of a winning organization.
"Especially when you have such a great group of guys like we have here," he said. "The locker room atmosphere is great, we all work well together so it's easy to come in from another place."
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Scott never played on a winning team in Oakland -- the Raiders did go 8-8 in each of the last two years -- never mind on a championship one.
When the opportunity to sign with New England as a free agent came up, he didn't hesitate.
"I just thought it was a good fit," he said. "Coach Belichick is always going to play the best guy. I just want an opportunity and he told me I would have an opportunity to play. And I'm an East Coast guy so it was easy to come home."
He hails from Pottsdam, N.Y., and played his college football at Buffalo, so he knows what winters are like on the East Coast. He was originally a tight end, then shifted over to defense his last two collegiate seasons. That led him to Oakland.
He played defensive end, outside linebacker and on special teams for the Raiders. In 58 career games, he had 97 tackles and 13.5 sacks. His versatility is what probably attracted Belichick. The fact that he can get after the quarterback helps.
Right now, he's just trying to fit in with his new team.
"I'm just taking it in stride now," he said. "I want to take advantage of the new opportunity I have."
He'll get his first chance Sunday, when the Patriots open the season in Nashville against the Tennessee Titans. While he's listed behind Rob Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham at left defensive end, there's a good chance he'll have some opportunities. Belichick likes to rotate his defensive linemen to keep them fresh at the end.
While he's a newcomer to the Patriots, he isn't one to opening games. This is his fifth. And he has a simple message for the rookies such as defensive starters Chandler Jones, at end, and Dont'a Hightowner, at linebacker: Be ready.
This is no longer preseason. From the opening kick-off, the intensity and focus is much, much greater.
"Everything is moving at such a higher tempo," said Scott. "This is what people are playing for. Every stat counts. Tackles, sacks, every blown block, touchdown made. Everything counts."
Pretty good advice.
Belichick talked about preparing his rookies for the opener, relying on testimonies from the veteran players and coaches on the staff. But, he added, there is nothing like actual experience.
"Sometimes you give a little advice that will help," said Belichick. "But the bottom line is until you go through it, no matter how somebody describes it, you really have to experience it yourself."
Mike Lowe -- 791-6422