In his mind, C.J. Mosley can see the Jets, late within the fourth quarter of a meaningful football game, looking into one another’s eyes. In that moment, he thinks, they are going to understand what got them that far and why, and they’ll lean on that knowledge to seize what’s in front of them.
It’s a dream that feels about as far off as playoff football at MetLife Stadium. But Mosley believes in each.
Mosley made headlines in June by saying it’s playoffs or bust for the Jets, who’re widely expected to fall wanting contention for the twelfth straight season. Now, with just a few weeks to go until talk must turn to motion, the linebacker isn’t turning back.
“I still feel the very same,” Mosley said Wednesday following practice.
C.J. MosleyBill Kostroun/Latest York Post
Mosley has been to the NFL playoffs with Baltimore and he won back-to-back national titles in college with Alabama. So he has experienced those sorts of fourth quarters before, and he knows what it takes to get through them intact.
In these Jets, he sees a closeness that may set them apart.
“The the reason why [teammates are] doing the things that they’re doing after practice, during meetings, studying and all those little things play an element when you could have a bunch of fellows that will be really close together like that,” Mosley said. “I feel our unity and our family really is a giant difference to what I’ve seen prior to now.”
It continues to be August, and nobody — no less than outside of the partitions of the team’s facility — believes the Jets are near difficult for the playoffs. Most fans would merely be blissful to see progress, in whatever form it takes.
Yet the Jets do have some standout players on defense: Mosley, first-round pick Sauce Gardner at corner and a healthy Carl Lawson at defensive end.
“The sky’s the limit,” Lawson said of the defensive position.
“We just must go on the market and execute.”
The Jets ranked thirty second in total defense in 2021, so yes, that does feel a bit ambitious, even with the unit’s obvious improvements.
Still, Mosley didn’t seize the chance Wednesday to hedge his prior statements. He believes, even when nobody else does.
“We still must be sure that we’re doing the things we have now to do to improve day by day,” Mosley said. “Obviously in these preseason games, there’s been quite a bit to learn, there’s been quite a bit to remove from it. And after we come back in practice and prepare for tomorrow, we just must keep attempting to improve and sharpening our craft.
“It’s an extended road to the playoffs, so we just must take it daily.”