Linebacker C.J. Mosley could author his own take on Head Coach Robert Saleh's new Jets mantra of "All Gas, No Brake."
For Mosley it's "All Gas, No Brake ... and No Rust."
The four-time Pro Bowl linebacker is back in his Gotham Green Jersey No. 57, back on the field after a nearly two-year absence because of injury and his decision to opt out of the 2020 NFL season amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's been a breath of fresh air, that's the best way to put it," Mosley, 29, told Eric Allen and Ethan Greenberg on The Official Jets Podcast. "I'm happy to be back in the building with my teammates, to be around the locker room and the new energy. What we're doing now is building a great foundation, setting this team on course to stack up wins and get to where we want to go."
After signing a free-agent deal with the Jets following a stellar career with the Baltimore Ravens (where he made 597 tackles, had 9 interceptions and 8.5 sacks in his first five seasons), Jets Nation has not seen Mosley on the field since Oct. 21, 2019. He returns to find a new coaching staff, new teammates and new hope.
"Yeah, I don't have any doubts in myself," he said. "I mean, [Rob Gronkowski] took two years off [only one] and won a Super Bowl, so it is what it is. I'm here, so we'll let the play do the talking.
"When you're out for a while, you're always in your head, thinking, 'When I get back, how's it going to feel? Am I going to be able to move like I used to?' I feel great."
In addition to the changed landscape off the field, on the field Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich is overseeing a shift from a 3-4 to a 4-3, which could mean Mosley is smack dab in the middle, perhaps between free-agent signing Jarrad Davis and a player to be determined. In addition, the Jets drafted two college safeties (Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen) who flashed during OTAs and minicamp after being shifted to linebacker.
"I'm so excited about C.J. and what he brings to this defense and what he brings to this team," Ulbrich said. "He is one of those authentic, alpha leaders. Just knows how to run the defense. He's the field general. He's the old-school Mike that you look to, and very, very excited about what he can do within this defense, and excited for him just personally getting back on the field because I know this game is very, very important to him and getting back to some normalcy for him."
Davis, too, is pumped about teaming with Mosley.
"Playing with C.J. is exciting," he said. "I love being able to have someone of that caliber next to me. Just to have someone as locked in and focused on his job helps raise the bar. Having someone of his caliber out there really helps to naturally set the tone."
Things have already begun to look different with Mosley back, prowling the middle of the field. Half-man, half-amazing. He said he's pumped about the infusion of talent throughout the roster, and particularly on the defensive line with the likes of Carl Lawson, Sheldon Rankins and Vinny Curry joining Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers and Folorunso Fatukasi.
"There's going to be a lot of disruption, that's the best way to put it -- attack," Mosley said. "Guys coming off the ball, it's just going to make our job easier once they get penetration, once we start playing we can really let our guys go to make plays on the back end."
The potential chaos upfront, with Williams authoring that havoc, should create opportunities for the linebackers
"He looks amazing, man," Williams said of Mosley. "He's slimmed down a little bit — trim. And he's C.J. Mosley. Like, super-smart, super-athletic, super-talented and just a leader all the way around the board."
This month during voluntary OTAs and mandatory minicamp, many eyeballs were trained on the Jets' first-round draft pick QB Zach Wilson and the promising WR Elijah Moore. Mosley didn't exactly fly under the radar, but his blip wasn't nearly as pronounced as Wilson's or Moore's.
"This is still a unique situation for a lot of players and teams," Mosley said. "We had the option to not come for OTAs. But 90-to-95 percent of the team showed up to work. We came in with a positive mindset, eager to learn from the coaches, learn a new system. Everyone came here to win, that's been the mindset from Day ,1 from every new coach in the building. It's exciting to see and be a part of.
"I feel our group is young, not experienced, but there's so much raw talent. We can mold them, fit right into the defense. We'll let our play do the talking."