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C.J. Mosley’s bounce-back game vs. Saints one of few Jets silver linings

C.J. Mosley, NY Jets, Stars, Highlights, PFF, Contract
C.J. Mosley, New York Jets, Getty Images

C.J. Mosley stars in New York Jets’ loss to Saints

There were very few positives for the New York Jets to take away from their boring and utterly forgettable 30-9 home loss to the New Orleans Saints. Of those few positives, the most important may have been the performance of C.J. Mosley.

When a team enters the “evaluation mode” portion of a season as the Jets have, most fans focus mainly on the progression of young players that can be a part of the franchise’s future. While Mosley is not a young player at 29 years old, his performance is just as important as the team’s young prospects, as Mosley is a near-lock to stick around for the foreseeable future. They need him to play well.

Cutting Mosley after this season is not an option for the Jets, as it would require them to take on a $20.5 million hit in dead money while losing $3 million in immediate cap space. Trading Mosley would be more conceivable, as the dead money hit would only be $4.5 million while the team would save $13 million in space, but it is hard to imagine any team would want to absorb Mosley’s massive contract given his disappointing production this year.

I wrote about Mosley’s aforementioned disappointing production in a piece last week, breaking down Mosley’s steep dips in tackling efficiency, coverage quality, and run-game playmaking compared to his previous elite peaks.

The New Orleans game was a momentary return to form for Mosley.

Mosley led the Jets with 17 total tackles, a new career-high.

That’s nice, but tackle totals always need to be contextualized before we can understand what they mean. Did the player complement his playmaking by avoiding missed tackles? Were the player’s tackles actually meaningful or was he cleaning up his own mess after giving up productive plays?

In this case, Mosley’s tackle total is legitimate. He finished tackles at an efficient level and made tackles that truly mattered.

Mosley was credited with one missed tackle in the game. That gives him a missed tackle rate of 5.6%, his third-lowest mark of the season.

Of Mosley’s 17 tackles, 10 held the ball carrier to a gain of three yards or less, and 12 held the ball-carrier short of the first down marker.

Mosley recorded six stops (tackles that constitute a poor result for the offense), according to Pro Football Focus. That is his second-best total of the year and his best since he recorded nine against the Titans in Week 4. He did his best to carry a defense that was otherwise lethargic – while Mosley had six stops, no other Jets defender had more than two.

Five of Mosley’s six stops came in the run game. He was the only Jet making plays against the run on a day where the Saints rushed for 203 yards. Take a look at Mosley’s run-game numbers compared to all other Jets defenders:

  • Mosley: 41 run-defense snaps, 5 run stops (12.2% run-stop rate), 11 total tackles, 1 missed tackle (8.3% missed tackle rate)
  • Everyone else: 410 run-defense snaps, 15 run stops (3.7% run-stop rate), 36 total tackles, 10 missed tackles (21.7% missed tackle rate)

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Mosley also had a solid game in coverage. He allowed only one conversion against his coverage across 29 coverage snaps, giving up 32 yards and one first down on four completions (8.0 yards per reception).

Star pass-catching running back Alvin Kamara picked up just one catch for two yards against Mosley’s coverage.

Mosley’s blend of finishing efficiency, mistake minimization, and playmaking in this performance is what he brought to the table in Baltimore on a regular basis. It has not been seen consistently enough this year.

If Mosley can mimic this level of play over New York’s final four games of the season, the team can go into 2022 feeling much better about what they will be getting for the steep cost of $17.5 million next year.

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