The 2020 Jets hope to kick off the new decade by snapping a nine-year playoff drought.
There was plenty of roster turnover this offseason, but the question remains: Does new necessarily mean better?
Tom Brady’s departure ostensibly gives hope to the rest of the AFC East, but will the Jets be the team to finally knock the Patriots off their perch as division rulers?
I'll be revealing my Top 20 players on the roster every weekday for the next four weeks in the run-up to training camp.
This list is made up of the players who I believe will make the most impact for Adam Gase’s team this season. The ranking isn’t simply based on a player’s resume. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
So, we’re peering into our crystal ball and taking some leaps of faith. There’s some quality young talent on Gang Green’s roster. Some of those guys are poised to take their games to the next level.
Get ready for some surprises.
No. 3: C.J. Mosley
2019 ranking: 2
Position: Inside linebacker
Age at the start of the season: 28
2020 salary cap charge: $17.5 million
Contract status: Second year of a 5-year, $85 million deal
2019 Season in Review: The Jets didn’t get a good early return on their massive free-agent investment thanks to Mosley’s mysterious groin/core muscle injury. The perennial Pro Bowl inside linebacker got off to a torrid start with his new team before things went south.
Mosley was a stat-sheet stuffer in the season opener against Buffalo (six tackles, two pass deflections, fumble recovery and pick-six) before exiting with a groin injury in the second half. The Jets blew a 16-point lead in the second half without the quarterback of their defense.
Mosley was a shell of his typically dominant self six weeks later in a primetime shutout loss to the Patriots. He tried to rehab the injury before ultimately undergoing surgery in December. After averaging 988 snaps per season in the first five years of his career, Mosley managed to stay on the field for just 114 defensive snaps last season.
“He’s the engine that drives this thing,” linebackers coach Frank Bush said. “It’s like losing your starting quarterback. He’s the guy that we send the call and he’s the guy that’s going to make the adjustment and he’s going to get us in and out situations.”
2020 Outlook: Although Gregg Williams weaved magic to keep Gang Green’s defense from falling apart last year — they ranked 10th in Football Outsiders’ defensive efficiency — there’s no doubt that a healthy Mosley will provide a boost. He’s the central nervous system of Williams’ group, the eyes, ears and brains that corrects and adjusts on the fly.
“He’s a mature, calming force for the defense,” Bush said. “A guy that’s seen a lot of football, understands the nuances, knows where to be, knows who to get, how to get him and he can also get everybody lined up and point them in the right direction.”
Mosley cleared a significant hurdle recently during his rehab. He’s able to plant, cut and change direction without pain now.
“Now that I got a chance to get on the field,” said Mosley, who spent much of the offseason working out at home due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, “I can actually do more work as far as footwork and football movements. And that was kind of my big thing going through the offseason, being able to cut and plant and do football movements. So that was what was stopping me during the season from getting back on the field. Once I got that out of the way, I’m pretty confident that I’ll be good to go.”
The next step will be re-gaining his football conditioning during training camp.
“I’m cleared to do everything,” Mosley said.
That’s music to everyone’s ears on 1 Jets Drive.
Next on the Countdown: The straw that stirs the drink.
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