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C.J. Mosley has played like a man on a mission so far this season, a pleasant surprise for the Jets after he missed nearly two full years.
The veteran inside linebacker has been all over the place in Jeff Ulbrich’s defense, making 38 tackles in New York’s first four games. Thirteen of those stops came against the Titans, as Mosley played an instrumental role in the Jets’ first win and relatively limiting Derrick Henry.
Henry rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown in Week 4, but he averaged less than five yards per carry. Mosley was there to greet him before he could get to the second level more often than not, preventing him from gaining any sort of steam to break off the kind of long run that makes him so dangerous with his combination of power and speed.
Mosley’s role in the success of Ulbrich’s defense against the Titans went far beyond the box score, though. Mosley took matters into his own hands at one point, checking out of a defensive call — which has never happened under Ulbrich and Robert Saleh’s watch — just before Tennessee snapped the ball in a key third-down situation.
The end result? A drive-ending sack on Ryan Tannehill.
“He saw something he didn’t like,” Saleh said Monday. “He got us into another defense and the entire sideline, all of us coaches were like, ‘What is he doing? What is he doing?’ We’re just yelling at the linebacker coach and he got us into the perfect play call and we got a sack because the quarterback hitched. I was like, ‘Well, that’s why he’s an All-Pro.'”
Mosley showed the value he brings to the Jets’ defense in just one play. New York has been missing him in the middle of its defense ever since Mosley got hurt against the Patriots midway through 2019. The 29-year-old has taken it upon himself to make up for lost time, filling the void and thriving in a defense that he did not profile as an ideal fit in after spending his entire career as a 3-4 inside linebacker.
“He’s like a cheat code,” Saleh said. “His mind is a little different.”