The Saints are very much on linebacker C.J. Mosley's mind. He doesn't want them to come marching into MetLife Stadium and running all over the place at the Jets' expense.
One thing Mosley and his front seven have to contend with to stop that from happening is controlling the New Orleans running game. Dual-threat back Alvin Kamara is back practicing after a month out with a knee injury.
"Alvin's a very elite runner and a very elite pass catcher," Mosley said. "When they use him in the pass game, whether it's screens or him getting out in the flats, with the routes he can run, even putting him out at [WR-]1 and making plays, we've got to do a great job. We have to do a very good job of angle-tackling him. He's a very balanced runner so when you do hit him, he's good at bouncing off the run, spinning and making plays. We've just got to get everybody to the ball once he gets it because he can definitely wreck the game."
Then there's Taysom Hill, who has been playing quarterback for plays at a time for the Saints but last week got his first start on TNF against Dallas. The injured middle finger on his throwing hand could impact his passing game, but his running is a different matter, considering his 6.6 yards/carry is tops among the league's QBs with at least 20 carries. This, too, concerns Mosley.
"Outside of Xs and Os, it just comes down to guys getting to the ball and playing good technique," the Jets' defensive leader said. "At the end of the day, that's what that comes down to, guys having the will to want to stop the run and then playing technique and everybody just getting to the ball, making plays."
Head coach Robert Saleh had a similar take on Hill, in part because not only has he pored over recent Saints video but his 49ers defense also ran into him a few times.
"Taysom runs his butt off," Saleh said. "When he becomes a ballcarrier, he's a heavy, heavy runner. He's hard to tackle, he's violent. They still run all the same stuff that Sean [Saints HC Sean Payton] has always run. ... The element of the quarterback run game comes into play with Taysom, that's the big difference. And it's not like zone read, it's almost Wing T-ish where he's going to put the ball in his right arm and it's power, what Carolina used to do with Cam Newton."
Besides the Saints, Mosley fielded a number of questions after Thursday's practice about his remarks about respect following the loss to Philadelphia. He said his aim wasn't to point to Fletcher Cox or the Eagles specifically but that "it was more to the point that this is going to keep happening if we don't change the narrative."
"Nobody just going to give you the game or give you the win," he said. "You've always got to go earn respect and what it takes to win. When you're having a struggling season, things not going your way, things like that happen. It just happened at that time. It wasn't a good game, especially from the defensive standpoint. We got our butts kicked at the end of the day.
"And like I said, the only way we can change that is by going out there and doing it. I can give y'all the answers now on how we do that, but at the end of the day, we've got to go do it on Sunday."
Stopping the run, winning ballgames, gaining respect. They all seem to be tied up in one big oblate spheroid, otherwise known as a football. And on Sunday, Mosley, his defense and his team will go out and prepare to do it again, this time against the Saints.