Before Thursday’s preseason opener in Kansas City, most Bengals fans probably could not name the third quarterback on Cincinnati’s depth chart.
Now after throwing two touchdown passes, leading the team in rushing, sprinting for a 2-point conversion, and puking on the field (very visibly I might add), Matt Scott is getting recognition from coast-to-coast.
The 23-year-old former Arizona Wildcats QB completed 7-of-11 passes for 66 yards, ran 6 times for 68 more, and delivered the first of his TD strikes immediately after losing his lunch.
“I felt pretty good,” said Scott (referring to his play and not his stomach). “Obviously, there are still things I need to improve upon every day. There were a lot of negative plays that we need to get better on.
“Until I do that, I really won’t be content with my game. So I’ve got to watch the film, get to work this week, and see where I can improve.”
Scott appeared in four preseason games with Jacksonville last year before spending the season on the Jaguars’ practice squad. He only completed 45% of his passes in those games without no touchdowns and 1 INT and says he’s much more comfortable in his second NFL camp.
“Last year my head was spinning,” Matt told me. “I was still trying to pick things up and adjusting to the game speed.
“It’s night and day. I think last year I didn’t have a great grasp of the offense yet and I really didn’t understand the things we were trying to do offensively to be honest. But I worked at it all season, and coming to Cincinnati, I’ve learned a lot from Ken Zampese and Hue Jackson. They’re helping me to elevate my game to the next level so it’s been great working with them so far.”
After being timed at 4.69 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, Scott drew comparisons to former Bengals backup quarterback Josh Johnson. Matt’s speed was evident in Thursday’s 41-39 loss to the Chiefs when he took off on a 25-yard scramble for the team’s longest running play of the night.
“They were playing a lot of 2-man out there and in that coverage, nobody is accounting for the quarterback,” said Scott. “So it’s good to take off every now and then and get some easy yards with your feet.
“I’m going to stand back there comfortable in the pocket, go through my reads, and if nobody is open, I’m not going to hesitate to run.”
Scott started 17 games at the University of Arizona where he competed for playing time with current Eagles quarterback Nick Foles. After earning a spot on the Jaguars’ practice squad as an undrafted free agent last year, Matt hoped to refine his quarterback skills but didn’t get many opportunities.
“Honestly I didn’t get a whole lot of reps in Jacksonville during my time on the practice squad,” said Scott. “I helped out any way I could and did anything they needed me to do. We had a bunch of receivers go down last year in Jacksonville, so I was helping out on the scout team running routes. I’m a team player and if there’s anything I can do to help the team, then that’s what I’m going to do.
“It was tough trying to play quarterback at the same time that I was trying to help out the team at receiver. But I did anything that I could do to help the team and I think they really respected that about me.”
After being waived by Jacksonville in May, the California native was signed by the Bengals the following day. With fifth round draft pick A.J McCarron yet to get on the field in training camp due to a sore shoulder, Scott figures to see plenty of preseason action behind Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell.
“Being the third quarterback coming in, any time you get in the game is good and you want to make the best of any time that you’re in there,” said Scott. “Obviously you don’t know what’s going to happen and there are a lot of things that are out of your control. So you want to go out there are perform to the best of your ability.”
We’ll see what he does for an encore a week from Saturday when the Jets come to Paul Brown Stadium. Here’s hoping the only person that has intestinal distress is New York’s defensive coordinator.
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