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Linebacker Reset | Jets 'Backers Broke Out in '23, Could Have Even Bigger Impact in '24

C.J. Mosley & Quincy Williams Form a Hard-Tackling Core, Jamien Sherwood Wants to Join the Club

Table inside Article
Player Exper in '23 GP-GS-DNP-IA D-ST-Tot Snaps
C.J. Mosley 9th 17 - 17 - 0 - 0 1128 - 81 - 1209
Quincy Williams 5th 17 - 16 - 0 - 0 1093 - 9 - 1102
Jamien Sherwood 3rd 17 - 3 - 0 - 0 194 - 420 - 614
Sam Eguavoen 5th 15 - 0 - 0 - 2 14 - 305 - 319
Chazz Surratt 2nd 14 - 0 - 0 - 3 9 - 286 - 295
Marcelino McCrary-Ball R 2 - 0 - 0 - 2 0 - 43 - 43
Zaire Barnes R 4 - 0 - 0 - 9 0 - 32 - 32

Finished on Injured Reserve: Barnes, Maalik Hall


Unrestricted: Eguavoen

Lay of the Land in '24
We don't want to get too far over our skis on this, but by the end of the '24 season might the Jets be considered to have the best LB unit in the league? C.J. Mosley is the defensive captain, team leader and 150-tackles-a-season MLB. Quincy Williams, after re-signing in the offseason, didn't get his Pro Bowl berth but got a few things just as bling-y: All-Pro first-team honors from AP and the Curtis Martin Team MVP award from his teammates.

Jamien Sherwood only got three starts and 194 defensive snaps, due to the Jets opening in their nickel and starting only two LBs in 14 games. But with Justin Hardee missing six games with injury, Sherwood actually led the Jets with 420 special teams snaps. And he respectfully wants more playing time ahead, in the mold of Williams: "Watching Quincy become an All-Pro player, that's big for me because he was someone who was overlooked. Quincy just went out there and showed it every day and I want to do the same."

The other 'backers were limited either to specials (Sam Eguavoen, Chazz Surratt) or by being inactive or injured (rookie Zaire Barnes). But only Eguavoen can become a free agent. The unit appears to be ready, in keeping with coordinator Jeff Ulbrich's "heart-mind-fist" mantra, to make an even greater impact in the coming year.

Quick Look Back at '23
Mosley enjoyed another year of being the heart in the middle of the defense as he wound up with more than 1,000 defensive snaps and more than 150 tackles for the third consecutive season. Williams produced through the roof in many areas — he led the team with an unofficial 13.5 tackles for loss, was among the NFL's LB leaders with 10 pass defenses, equaled Mosley's 15 tackles on third/fourth down to prevent conversions, and turned in one of the plays of the year, his strip-sack of Russell Wilson at Denver, returned for a TD by Bryce Hall to turn a tenuous 24-21 lead into a secured 31-21 road win.

As addressed in the D-Line reset, more needs to be done by the front seven in run defense. Opponents ran on the Jets for 124.0 yards/game (25th in the NFL) mostly because they could run better than they could pass but also because the unit was creased, often up the gut, for 56 runs of 10-plus yards and 10 of 20-plus yards. Not horrible totals, nor is the 4.08 yards/carry allowed (11th in the league), but still something the Jets need to concentrate on to make the sledding really rough for opposing offenses.

LB Trivia
The Jets were one of only two NFL teams to field two linebackers with 130-plus tackles (the Ravens were the other) as Mosley finished with 152 and Williams had a career-high 139. And when late Pro Bowl addition Jermaine Johnson, designated as an LB even though he was on the DL edge most of the time, is added to the mix, the Jets led all of the league's LB units with 25 passes defensed — 10 by Williams, seven each by Mosley and Johnson and one by Sherwood.

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