The Jets' past month in the defensive doldrums has everyone on the team, it seems, combing the fields in Florham Park, NJ, for answers.
"We haven't been good enough in any way," coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said at his weekly news conference following Thursday's practice. "We haven't covered well enough, we haven't rushed well enough, we haven't stopped the run well enough. So it's a little bit of everything. It's a byproduct of we need better coaching, we need better execution by the players, we need to keep searching and finding answers for them."
The players were conducting their own search-and-rescue ops, with reports circulating that the Jets defenders had a players-only meeting at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center during their normal Tuesday off-day this week.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley said those reports were only partly true.
"We meet every Tuesday," Mosley said, adding that it was a defensive meeting that was nothing out of the ordinary, right down to no coaches and meeting on Tuesday. What was different was that instead of debating Xs and Os, "we just took the time to talk to each other, talk about life, talk about this season, talk about whatever the guys wanted to express. ... Just give you time for you to know your brother, know your teammates and grow with each other. So I think that was beneficial for us now and in the long run."
Mosley, being one of the grizzled veterans on this fresh-faced young unit, had some specific points he said he floated out to the group in advance of the Jets' next division matchup, at home Sunday against the Dolphins.
"I was in a similar position with Baltimore when I first came into the league, being a young guy, having to learn on the fly and learn from my mistakes," he said. "The difference was with the Ravens, we had a lot of vets at all the positions. When you mess up, the first thing you're coming to is not always coaching. You have those vets that have seen that look or can tell you what to do or how to alter your position a little bit. We don't have that luxury of having that many guys on the defensive side that have the experience. So I said we can use that as an advantage or make that an excuse."
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Mosley's advice to his band of brothers was for the young players to learn from their mistakes faster and not keep repeating them, and for the older players to make sure they're doing the right things every day in their leadership roles.
And under no circumstances was anyone advocating scrapping some or all of head coach Robert Saleh's and Ulbrich's scheme. That may sound good as an exploratory question in search of a sound bite, but Ulbrich said, "You could lose absolute belief in anything if you start doing that. Then you're just guessing." Mosley concurred.
"I haven't been on a team where we haven't had injuries," he said. "So I've never been on a defense that threw out the whole defense just because we had some injuries."
What he had been a part of before coming to the Jets as an unrestricted free agent in 2019 was defenses and teams that had great attitudes that they used to help them achieve gridiron victory. And he said the Jets can be one of those teams.
"I think our morale is great," he said. "We're excited for our opportunity to get on the field every single day. We get a chance to grow every day and see who we are and how we respond. We just really let everything we can't control go. We came out with a positive attitude this week. I feel as a whole, the team's had a great two days of practice. We've got to finish up with meetings today and great preparation on Friday.
"Then Sunday is another chance for us ... to get back on the field and play winning football."