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Jets LB C.J. Mosley: 'The Way Is Up'

HC Robert Saleh: ‘The Best Defenses in the World Are the Ones Who Are Watching’


Monday's postmortem from the Jets' loss to the Dallas Cowboys was short and to the point: The defense could not get off the field on third down and the offense could not convert on third down.

To a man -- from LB C.J. Mosley to DL Solomon Thomas to C Connor McGovern to head coach Robert Saleh -- the theme was the same.

"We didn't get enough pressure on the quarterback," Thomas said. "We need to create more turnovers and get off the field. It wasn't good enough. We got to get the ball back to the offense and get ourselves back to the bench and rest up. That's not our style of football or the way we want to play."

The Jets' defense was on the field for 83 plays while the Green & White offense had 43 plays. Time of possession was similarly skewed. The issue, however, was the Cowboys' ability to convert 50% of the time on third down, 9 of 18 to be exact.

"I think we played well — we didn't give up big plays," said Mosley, who tied for the team lead (with S Jordan Whitehead) with 9 total tackles. "We played 89 snaps [actually 83] and most teams are going to make a play on the field with that many."

The veteran defensive captain said he was surprised how good his body felt when he got out of bed on Monday and stressed the importance of learning the lessons of the game after watching the replay. But he also stressed that it was one game, and the Jets are 1-1 ahead of Sunday's game against visiting New England.

"You just have to move on," Mosley said. "It's one game. We felt we could have won a tough game on the road. We knew it would be a hostile environment. Collectively as a team we have to make sure mistakes don't happen. We've just got to take what we can from this lesson and get better."

Any opportunities the Jets had -- whether building on the Zach Wilson-to-Garrett Wilson 68-yard scoring play to the frustration from missing opportunities to grab turnovers (one on a Cowboys fumble, the other the inability of Sauce Gardner to hold onto a potential pick-6 off an interception) left the offense at a severe disadvantage.

"When you get down and can't establish the run game, you leave the defense on the field way too much," McGovern said. "When you're not converting third-and-short ... we weren't playing complementary football. When you get behind the eight ball it's not a lot of fun. It's never fun."

Even though, as Saleh pointed out, before the two-minute warning in the first half, Dallas had run nearly 50 plays on offense to the Jets' 13. And that drive, which was largely powered by Z. Wilson's timely scrambles, could have put the Green & White back in the game (especially since they'd receive the second-half kickoff.)

"You just can't get into a rhythm when you're sitting down so long," Saleh said. "You don't get a chance to get in rhythm as a play=caller, get in a rhythm as coaches or as players. And we didn't have a chance because of that."

He added: "If he [Z.Wilson] doesn't get hit [by Demarcus Lawrence], it's a TD pass [to G.Wilson]."

The Jets instead settled for a field goal.

"The job of the defense is to give the ball back to the offense," Saleh said. "When you tilt it 50-to-13 plays, you can't just read the box score. It's going to look out of whack."

Any chance to get back into the game melted in the third quarter when the Cowboys held the ball for 12:09 compared to 2:51 for the Jets. Chasing the game was a no-win situation.

"The best defenses in the world are the ones who are watching," Saleh said. "If we play like that on defense, it's not going to be good enough."

Mosley, looking ahead instead of looking back, said he's confident the defense -- really the entire team -- will rally ahead of an important AFC East game against the 0-2 Patriots.

"For me, it's nothing too crazy," Mosley said. "It's part of it in the NFL. You have to get used to the ups and downs of the league. As a defensive player and a leader, you can't be too high or too low. When you take a 30-10 loss ... that's not who we are. We're just going to go out and have the same mentality as we had in Week 1 and not do the things we did in Week 2. When you stack days and stack wins, that's when teams start to separate. The way is up."

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