The New York Jets have not been good in years. Their 2020 campaign concluded with a lackluster 2-14 record. The team’s misfortune afforded them the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, where they selected BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.
The Jets also brought in former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to be their head coach. His infectious presence appears to be rubbing off on the leaders of the defense. Linebacker C.J. Mosley has high hopes for the 2021 season and is tired of the disrespect.
C.J. Mosley warns people to stop sleeping on the Jets
The Jets defeated the neighboring New York Giants in their preseason opener. In the postgame press conference, Mosley had some words for those who are still “sleeping on” them, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.
If people come with that same mentality, they’re going to get their a– blown out. That’s 100 percent, whether we’re at MetLife or anywhere else. If they think there’s anything old about this Jets team, it’s not going to end well for them.C.J. Mosley
That’s a pretty bold statement considering the Jets have not made the playoffs since 2010. The Alabama product signed with the team in 2019 but opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.
The addition of Robert Saleh cannot be overlooked, however. Under his leadership, the 49ers defense was widely regarded as one of the NFL’s best units.
Saleh gives the New York Jets defense an instant spark
Saleh spent four seasons as the 49ers defensive coordinator, and they became one of the most feared defenses in the league, mainly because of their imposing front seven. The defensive line was arguably the best in football, featuring Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, and Dee Ford.
He hopes to build something similar in the Big Apple. The Jets front office did a solid job in the offseason, bringing in talent to bolster their defensive front. Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry are both proven players who should help improve the team’s ability to generate pass rush. Sheldon Rankins is one of the better pass-rushing interior defensive linemen in the NFL, as well.
Quinnen Williams is entering his third season and rounds out an extremely talented front line. It remains to be seen how the entire defense will fare, but it’s clear they have high hopes for the upcoming season.
Saleh brings a level of passion to the game that is pretty hard to duplicate. This Jets defense will be fired up every time it takes the field. If players aren’t, they probably will be pulled without hesitation. It’s safe to say the first-time head coach is geared up for the season, as evidenced by a Twitter clip of him running the stairs at MetLife Stadium before Saturday’s preseason game.
The Jets offense is the biggest threat to Mosley’s declaration
While the outlook appears promising for the Jets defense heading into 2021, the offense is very much still a work in progress.
Along with Saleh came new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who spent the past three seasons as the 49ers passing game coordinator. New York is hoping he can bring some juice from Kyle Shanahan’s offense to his new team. While that may happen, it’s still important to remember there will be a rookie quarterback under center.
There have been mixed reviews in regards to where Zach Wilson ranks among this year’s rookie signal-callers, but the talent is definitely there. The NFL learning curve is real, though, and the Jets don’t exactly have the pieces in place that existed in San Francisco.
If the defense lives up to the hype and Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and Michael Carter Jr. can develop chemistry with Wilson early, the team may be able to keep games competitive.
Without question, the Jets are in a better place this season. After Adam Gase, there is nowhere to go but up.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference