‘I really don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of depth chart or whatever, but I’ll definitely be prepared to have a more active role this week,’ the 28-year-old defensive end said Monday evening. ‘If it does increase, I feel like I’ll be ready for it. You can’t control what goes on, but I will control what I can do on Sunday. I’ll go through preparing well this week and just ready for the game.
‘You hate to see somebody like Jermaine go down like that, but it’s out of my control.’
Scott is in his first season with the Patriots, having signed with New England as a free agent on March 19. The University of Buffalo product, who spent the first four years of his career with the Raiders, had a career-high seven sacks in 2009, and finished with 13.5 sacks in four years with Oakland. But to this point in the 2012 season with the Patriots, the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder has mostly worked in relief as a defensive end, as well as a special teamer. He’s played in nine games, and has six tackles.
Asked about the lack of playing time to this point in the season, Scott shrugged.
‘It’s not going to help if I get down on myself and worry about that,’ he said Monday. ‘I really don’t have an control over that. I just have control over what happens when I do get in the game, what I’m going to do.’
Scott’s best game came against the Colts on Nov. 18. In that one, he was on the field fairly regularly after Chandler Jones went down with an ankle injury. According to Pro Football Focus, he played 32 of a possible 78 defensive snaps, and had a quarterback hurry and a defensive stop (defined by PFF as a solo defensive tackle that constitutes an offensive failure).
But now, with Cunningham on the shelf for four games, his role with the Patriots will almost certainly increase.
‘[My preparation] doesn’t change,’ he said. ‘I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing all week, and we’ll see what happens.
The Patriots went through a similar situation last season when veteran defensive end Andre Carter  went down with a calf injury in December. In that instance, Mark Anderson  — who had been a situational pass rusher to that point in the season — saw an uptick in his snaps down the stretch after he was pressed into regular service. Anderson was able to give a boost to the New England pass rush late in the regular season and into the playoffs. (Down the stretch, Anderson went from playing roughly 50 percent of the defensive snaps to essentially 100 percent late in the year and into the postseason.)
‘Every year there’s always going to be some issue you’re going to have to deal with. That’s just the way football goes. It’s another thing that we’ll just deal with,’ said defensive end/outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich .
‘I think everyone in this locker room is a family. We’re a tight group of guys. I think that anything that happens — just like in any family — everyone is going to come together. I think just like any other time, you come together and work through it.’
While Ninkovich and Scott will likely take on expanded roles, rookies Jake Bequette and Jones (the latter of whom is still working his way back from that ankle injury) will also be asked to do more in the wake of Cunningham’s suspension.
However, the best possible scenario for the Patriots right now may be that Scott steps in and gives them what Anderson was able to provide down the stretch in 2011.
‘We have it set up so that as soon as somebody goes down, it’s the next man in,’ Scott said. ‘You’re expected to perform just as well as anybody else. So that’s why we work hard every week, stay mentally and physically prepared.’