When the coronavirus pandemic locked out offensive lineman Morgan Moses from the training facility of his former club, the Washington Football Team, he did the next best thing -- Moses built a custom, well-appointed gym in his 10,325-square foot recently built home in Leesburg, VA. From his description, it sounds like even the most professional of professional trainers would be envious.
"It came at the perfect time going into quarantine and the COVID life, I had to generate a workout," Moses told hosts Eric Allen and Leger Douzable on "The Official Jets Podcast." "It had everything ... 15 yards of turf so I could work on my change of direction and pass protection, a cold tube, a hot tube, sauna, steam room. Pretty much everything."
After being cut late in training camp by the WFT, Moses found a new home with the Jets when he was signed by general manager Joe Douglas.
"First of all, it just was a last-minute decision getting released," Moses said. "Coming here talking to Joe, the coaches and the coordinators, they just had the right recipe for something I wanted to be a part of. First thing they told me is that they want to win up front on the offensive and defensive lines. You can't ask for more."
And, after George Fant was initially pegged the team's starting right tackle in Week 1, Moses is back at his familiar spot -- where he has played in the NFL for the past seven seasons. With LT Mekhi Becton sidelined for up to eight weeks, Fant was shifted to the left side and Moses returned to the field.
And the training camp competition with Fant brought together two guys who are hardly strangers. They worked out together and traded workplace "recipes" while training together at Bommarito Performance Systems locations in Florida the past two offseasons.
"I think the biggest thing is the brotherhood, the bond throughout the NFL, a community is of its own," Moses said. "Me and George, him coming from Seattle, training together and now me coming to the Jets, we both have the same perspective -- go out with the best five [on the offensive line] every week and compete."
Last week against the Patriots, those "best five" (Fant, rookie Alijah Vera-Tucker, Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten and Moses), after working as a unit all week muscled the Jets offense to 152 yards on the ground. Most of the yardage was picked up by the Jets triple-threat at running back composed of Michael Carter (59 yards), Ty Johnson (50) and Tevin Coleman (24).
"The biggest thing is communication," Moses said. "I've played a lot of football with a lot of guys. Talking to George about last year, there were a lot of injuries. Him, GVR, all those guys last year, there were not a lot of games they played together. As we all know, communication is the key on the offensive line. To bring a veteran mentality to offensive-line communication is what you saw Sunday against the Patriots. The communication was there."
Moses has been an iron man of sorts, having taken 5,920 regular-season offensive reps from 2015-20, 19th-most in the NFL among all players in that time span. And he started all 96 games in those six seasons (98 counting playoffs), one of only eight NFL players and one of only three O-linemen to log 96 starts in that span.
The job of every offensive line is to protect the quarterback, and that's especially the case for the Jets and keeping rookie quarterback Zach Wilson vertical and safe. The line struggled in the opener at Carolina when Wilson was sacked six times, and last week protection improved for Wilson but he was plagued by turnovers.
"I think the biggest thing ... in my career I've probably averaged four quarterbacks a year, that's probably not a good thing," Moses said. "But being a veteran I kind of see everything. It's valuable when the fire is lit to have a veteran out there to calm the fire down. Even with the turnovers, we continued to run the ball and still communicated. When things are not going how they are supposed to go, having that veteran leadership out there to push forward is what you're starting to see now.
"I think the key is that everybody is talented in this league. We have another great defense coming up this week [at Denver] and the key is to not make the same mistakes. I think he [Wilson] has that pedigree, the pedigree to get better, the pedigree of a phenomenal talent, leader and football player. You see the things in detailing what he does throughout the week."
Asked about how he felt as he was about to play his first home game at MetLife Stadium, Moses said: "Just being able to come out that tunnel was amazing. I appreciate the fans, the die hard fans and the J-E-T-S chants. I love it."
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