To hear Bart Scott tell it, Aaron Rodgers will have his way with the Giants’ defense — an overrated defense, according to Scott — and lead the Packers to an easy win in their NFC wild-card matchup on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Needless to say, several members of said defense took umbrage at what the outspoken former Jets linebacker had to say. And one of his former teammates with the Jets acted as if he didn’t even know who Scott was.
“This defense definitely isn’t as good as you think,” Scott said during an interview with Damon Amendolara on CBS Sports Radio Tuesday. “When was the last time they played a real team?”
“I don’t know where he’s getting that one from,” rookie cornerback Eli Apple said on Thursday. “I think we’ve played really good teams.”
The Giants won three of their last four games over the Cowboys, Lions and Redskins, allowing a combined 23 points, and are second in the NFL in points allowed (17.8 per game). That’s apparently not good enough for Scott — not even their impressive wins against two division opponents.
“Don’t say the Cowboys,” Scott said. “You can’t count that. You’ve got to throw those [division games] out. They know how to stop what each other do.”
“Washington’s a mess,” Scott said.
“They got no run game.”
Scott suggested the Giants’ wins over lesser teams like the Bears, Browns, Rams and Bengals have “fluffed up” the stats.
He said Rodgers will expose their defensive weaknesses and cruise to an easy win.
“They’ll get spread thin and Aaron Rodgers is going to go to work,” Scott said. “I think they’ll win by 10. Eli [Manning] is not playing well, and if Rodgers puts pressure on them, [Manning] is going to have to reach.”
He also suggested the Giants “got guys that still got Mai Tais in their system,” a shot at the team’s receivers, including Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard, for their impromptu trip to South Florida late Sunday into Monday after their game against the Redskins.
Landon Collins, the Giants’ Pro Bowl safety, was none too pleased about Scott’s remarks.
“I could have sworn we played Dallas, the best team in the NFL, right?” Collins said. “We’re going to show up. [Scott’s remarks] will get me going when we’re out there. Every week, we’ve got something to prove. That’s how we operate. When you get the opportunity to do it, you’ve got to do it.”
Asked if he knows Scott personally, Collins said, “No . . . and he don’t know us. I’ll put it that way.”
Damon Harrison does know Scott, although he wasn’t admitting to it when he heard about what the former linebacker said on the radio.
“Who’s that?” Harrison told Newsday as he walked out of the locker room Thursday. “I don’t know who that is. No clue who it is. He said our defense isn’t that good. He said something about me, too, right? I think he said me and [defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins] are gonna have our tongues hanging out of our mouths [chasing Rodgers]. I don’t know who that is, man.”
Scott had offered a passive-aggressive endorsement of Harrison, who signed a free-agent deal with the Giants after four seasons with the Jets.
“You guys [Giants fans] are very welcome for the fact that we even taught Snacks how to play defense, because he damn sure didn’t learn it by going to the Giants,” Scott said. “We taught him how to split the double-teams. He became a player with us.”
Again, Harrison feigned ignorance about knowing Scott . . . until he didn’t.
“If it was somebody I knew, I might be offended, but I don’t know who it is,” Harrison said. “What does he do? He played in the league? For who? Never heard of him.”
Harrison waited a moment and then said, “You can print that.”
Scott wasn’t the only one scoffing at the Giants’ defense. Even some Packers receivers suggested to reporters Thursday that the team’s secondary, nicknamed “NYPD” for “New York Pass Defense,” might not be as good as their reputation.
“If that’s what they call themselves, that’s what they call themselves,” wide receiver Geronimo Allison said. “There probably won’t be too many handcuffs being passed out this Sunday. We’re going to attack them at their weak points and we’re going to execute our game plan. We’re really not concerned about what they’re going to do to stop us.”
At least some Giants defenders aren’t concerned with anything anyone says.
“It’s not about anybody else, it’s not about what people say, it’s about the guys in the room,” defensive end Owa Odighizuwa said. “We don’t make it us against the world. We know the task at hand, and we try to accomplish it every week, no matter who the opponent is.”
Linebacker Keenan Robinson suggested there is room for improvement.
“I feel like we’re not where we want to be, but we’ve shown we’re capable of getting to that point,” he said. “We’ve done it 11 times this year [in wins]. There have been some games where we could have done a better job, Green Bay [a 23-16 loss on Oct. 9] being one of them. We’re not where we’re going to be. I just want to continue to grow toward becoming that dominant defense each and every down, each and every snap, each and every quarter.
“We still don’t have a shutout. We know where we can get to and we know how we’re capable of doing and producing on the field. We want to get to that point.”