After not practicing Wednesday, Thursday or Friday and being listed as doubtful, Jets LB C.J. Mosley's status for Sunday's game at New England will be determined in a pregame workout.
"He's such a seasoned veteran and he's been through these situations, so it's really relying on the player to make the sound decision for not only himself, but the organization and the team," HC Robert Saleh said. "You also don't want to go out there, play the first series and now you're out where our depth is hit. C.J. is very smart, he's been working relentlessly and if he's feeling it on Sunday, he'll be rolling."
Mosley, one of five team captains, leads the team with 45 tackles is tied for ninth in the NFL averaging 9 tackles per game. He also has a sack, a pass defense and a forced fumble. Mosley, who relays the plays from DC Jeff Ulbrich to the defense, told reporters earlier this week that he didn't feel like he needed to practice to play on Sunday against the Patriots. If he can't play, rookie LB Jamien Sherwood will wear the green dot.
"With Jamien, it's almost like, 'Hey, man. You don't have to communicate for everybody,' " Saleh said. "The amount of stuff he gets out of his mouth pre-snap wise with regards to close call, checks and all of it, is fascinating for a rookie. He's very confident. He knows everybody's job and our confidence in him with the green dot is fine."
Other than Sherwood, the Jets LBs consist of Blake Cashman, Del'Shawn Phillips, and Quincy Williams, who is one of two players in the NFL with at least 30 tackles and 5 tackles for loss. Williams also leads the league with 3 forced fumbles. The Green & White have LB Noah Dawkins on the practice squad and he's familiar with the system after spending the offseason with the team.
"I try not to force myself to have them sit down with me and watch film," Mosley said. "If they want to watch film willingly, I'm 100% with it. When we're all meeting together, we're all talking. If I see anything or if anybody sees anything as far as the formation that we know from players or anything from the past, it's pretty much an open mic in the linebacker room. So, we talk about all the little keys that we see. I think, honestly, we prepare ourselves real well in the linebacker room, just what we need to do on our side and what to expect from our opponents with their formation and things like that. I know Quincy has been joking with me a lot about, 'I'm going to be talking to you all week.' But I'm very confident in our linebacker group. I'm very confident in whoever we have on the field, because our guys have proven that they can make plays and they have been making plays since spring ball and training camp and preseason and all of that."
Focus on Starting Fast
One of the Jets' laser focuses this past week has been the inability of the offense to start games quickly. Through five games the Green & White has not scored a single point in the first quarter (outscored 30-0) and 75-13 across the first halves.
Rookie QB Zach Wilson has come alive in the second half of games, checking in with an 87.4 rating. But those numbers belie the struggles in the first 30 minutes of games when Wilson is 30-of-63 for 292 yards, 6 INTs and no TD passes.
Saleh, OC Mike LaFleur and their players have taken a deep dive to try and cure what ails the offense early in games. Is the answer more short passes? A different opening play script? Perhaps, after winning the coin toss, electing to receive the opening kickoff instead of deferring until the second half?
"You always want to get a guy in rhythm, but you also have to take into account what the defense is giving you," LaFleur said. "There's certain defenses out there that we've played that they don't necessarily give you all those short passes.
"We have 24 plays. And it can go in any different order, and sometimes when you're flowing, you're just letting it roll. And then when you're not, or they give a different defense of adjustment that you weren't expecting, you got to flip the script right away. So, there's a lot of things that can go into the opening script. We looked at it hard, I looked at myself hard to figure out, again, how we can get this offense jump started, how we can get Zach going where he feels real comfortable like he has kind of after that first quarter. So, over the bye week, I gave it to my wife, I said, 'You pick the opening script,' and we'll roll from there."
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Marcus Maye's sprained ankle has responded to treatment and the longest-tenured player on the Jets' roster is expected to return to his safety position at New England on Sunday. As well as the Green & White defense has collectively played this season -- especially the group of young cornerbacks -- the Jets are the only one of 32 NFL teams without an interception.
"We just have to keep playing, we'll get our opportunities," Maye said. "We'll keep staying in tight coverage. Tips and overthrows, have to capitalize on all those things. The team doesn't just throw you the ball, so you have to keep playing and work for them."
The Jets' defense, led by coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, will get another shot at Patriots' rookie QB Mac Jones, who has thrown six passes that have been intercepted as New England (2-4) has uncharacteristically lost all four of its home games at Gillette Stadium. A pick would be nice; a Jets (1-4) victory against an archrival in the AFC East would be even better.
"It's frustrating because I feel as though when we really went back and tore the tape apart, it was like we averaged about four opportunities a game where there was that we should have picked that ball off and we should have finished, and we should have got it done," Ulbrich said. "I think that will start to come. I think we got two things right now, [and] I'm not saying this as an excuse in any way, but we're younger and the system is new. As these guys get more time on task for them and more experience, I think we'll see a natural uptake in that."
With Maye back on the field, Ulbrich said that the defense, as a whole, benefits from his savvy and experience.
"It's big, Marcus is definitely one of the better guys we have on the back end," Ulbrich said. "He not only has the talent, he has the speed, he has the athleticism, he has all of that. But he heightens everybody just with his awareness and his communication skills. Although it's the first year in the system for him, for this particular system, there's a lot of carry over stuff that he's done. The veteran presence is just, it will be big for us back there."
TE Tyler Kroft (back) likely won't play, but everyone else should be good to go. … RB Tevin Coleman returned kicks for the first time in his seven-year career against the Falcons, his former team, in London and that's a credit to DC Jeff Ulbrich. Ulbrich threw the idea out to Coleman when they were in Atlanta together, but Coleman didn't do anything with it. Then Ulbrich told Saleh of the conversation and they asked Coleman again. Coleman agreed and "looked natural." Saleh said, "Credit to TeCo and it shows that it doesn't matter how late you are in your career, it's never too late to put another tool in your toolbox." … When asked about his decisions on the coin toss, Saleh said being able to lap a team by scoring at the end of the first half and again at the start of the second is "one of the greatest things you can do" and that's why they've deferred when they've won the coin toss. … Saleh honored Walt Whitman High Schools' Robin Rosa as the coach of the week. He's in his 13th season and his team started 6-0 en route to a spring league championship. Saleh said that while rubbing the shirt: "Undefeated coach with six wins. Rub some off and see if we can get a dub."