It should surprise absolutely no one that Jets middle linebacker (and captain) C.J. Mosley led the Jets in tackles (11) against the Ravens, his former team, in Sunday's loss. That's exactly what Mosley did last season with his team leading 168 total tackles. But despite helping the defense hold the Ravens to 274 total yards, the Jets still dropped their opening game, 24-9.
"It was a lot of plays we left out there, offense, defense and special teams, as far as communication issues, little things like that," Mosley said after the game. "Special teams and the offense, obviously, we got to score when we get in the red zone [the Jets were 1 of 2 inside the Ravens' 20-yard line]. When you play these type of teams, when you play the playoff-caliber teams, Super Bowl-caliber teams, veteran teams with great coaching, it obviously comes down to execution and effort. Sometimes you might get a little bit one or the other, but nine times out of 10 you got to execute at the end of the game."
Mosley was the only Jets linebacker to play all 56 snaps on defense -- Quincy Williams took 91% of the snaps and Kwon Alexander 66% as the Green & White predominantly lined up with three LBs and adjusted defensive packages throughout the game. And although it might not have showed on Sunday, Mosley is convinced the Jets have the talent to ultimately succeed.
"I believe that every day I walk in the building, every day I wake up a Jet," Mosley said. "I never have any doubt on the men that we have here and what we can do, but as I said before, it's up to us to make that real life. It's hard to really see it and grasp it in this league and in this business because the window is so small to be precise and to get to the playoffs and to win. It takes a lot of believing and not seeing, so we have to make sure that we're doing our part every single day to try to make that happen."
Saleh Backs Zuerlein
Greg Zuerlein won the kicking competition over Eddy Piñeiro during training camp. Then on Sunday, the 34-year-old veteran missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt that would have tied the game in the second quarter, and missed an extra point when the result was no longer in doubt.
"He's a veteran, I think he'll bounce back," HC Robert Saleh said. "I'm not worried about Z. Obviously, it wasn't his best day and I'm very confident that he'll bounce back just fine.
"If we're missing kicks, if we're missing extra points, we're not going to win football games. It's impossible to win against a veteran team when you move the ball the way you do and you come up empty-handed, time and time again like we did today."
Piñeiro, who is now with Carolina, was 8 of 8 kicking field goals for the Jets last season after taking over for Matt Ammendola.
"You still have to have a competition," Saleh said. "Obviously, there's a multitude of reasons, but with regards to just trying to find someone established and create pressure in the situation, I tell you Eddy probably had the inside track and you create a pressure situation to make sure that you have the right guy and Z beat him out."
See the best images from the opening game of the 2022 season at MetLife Stadium.
If you didn't know the final score, but only looked at the final statistics, a person could conclude that the Jets likely won the game, or kept it close against Baltimore on Sunday.
But these numbers really don't tell the whole story: The Jets had more first downs (24-13), more passing first downs (18-8), more net yards (378-274), total offensive plays (79-53), rushing yards (83-63) and passing yards (307-213) and time of possession (32:30 to 27:30).
Killer stat: Jets' third-down efficiency, 2 of 14, 14.3%.
GM Joe Douglas and HC Robert Saleh have recently focused on their desire for the Jets to play meaningful games in December. To have those games count, however, often means getting off to a fast start in September. The Jets have two more games this month: at Cleveland on Sept. 18 at vs. Cincinnati on Sept. 25.
"A large component of playing those meaningful games in December is starting fast and not digging yourself too much of a hole," Douglas said last week. "So look, we know the challenge ahead in terms of this division, this conference, and I think we have a group that's ready to battle."
According to playoff percentages since 1990 compiled by the NFL, teams that win in Week 1 have made the playoffs 53.5% of the time (4.8% won the Super Bowl), while teams that lost made the playoffs 24.9% of the time (1.6% won the Super Bowl). In 2021, 9 of the 14 teams that reached the playoffs won in Week 1, and 4 of the 8 division winners won in Week 1 (Buffalo, Green Bay, Tennessee and Dallas all lost). Six of the last 7 Super Bowl winners (including the Super Bowl champion Rams) won in Week 1.