C.J. Mosley, NY Jets
C.J. Mosley, New York Jets, Getty Images

C.J. Mosley is one of the New York Jets’ senior players, so he can advise the rookies on what to expect

The New York Jets rookies report to the facility tomorrow. Will McDonald, Joe Tippmann, and the rest of the crew will be onsite.

Woody Johnson posted a video with words of welcome and advice from the Jets veterans for the newbies on the block. Most of the messages were along the lines of welcoming the players to the team and saying “go Jets!”

Breece Hall told them to expect a lot of rookie belts (which he would know something about).

However, one of the Jets team captains, a leader of the locker room, had some other advice—that is both very funny and very telling.

“Don’t be late to special teams. Don’t be late to special teams,” said C.J. Mosley. “And make sure that you play special teams.”

Mosley even popped in one last time at the end to make sure the point came across: “Oh yeah, one more—make sure you’re ready to play special teams.”

Funny but true

In many ways, Mosley’s advice is humorous. Most specialized players will hardly be worried about special teams compared to their offensive or defensive aptitude.

However, across the NFL, special teams is a common role relegated to rookies, especially ones that are not quite ready for the league. It’s often what separates the players who fill out the backend of the roster from camp cuts and practice squad signings. Any player drafted past the second round will usually need to contribute on special teams to earn a meaningful role on the roster.

The Jets seem to be particularly obsessed with this. One of the reasons Denzel Mims was put in the coaching staff’s doghouse in Year 2 was his inability to play special teams. Ashtyn Davis barely played any defensive snaps in 2022 but remained on the roster due to his role as a punt protector.

Players like Tony Adams, Jamien Sherwood, Brandin Echols, Ty Johnson, Will Parks, Micheal Clemons, Kenny Yeboah, Hamsah Nasirildeen, and even Bryce Huff kept their roster spots in part due to special teams play.

This offseason, players like Zaire Barnes, Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Parks, Nasirildeen, Sherwood, and the undrafted free agents will be fighting for their roster spots largely via their contributions on special teams.

In fact, Mims’ roster spot may be in jeopardy now that the Jets’ top five receivers cannot play in the third phase of the game. The team usually likes to carry at least one receiver who can play in kick and punt coverage. Jeff Smith used to hold that role.

Perhaps a player like Irv Charles, Jason Brownlee, or Xavier Gipson, all of whom played a decent number of special teams snaps in college in some form or another, can usurp Mims’ role with a great camp.

The Jets’ three-day rookie minicamp begins on Saturday, May 6.

Follow Rivka Boord on Twitter @rivka_boord

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Rivka Boord has followed the Jets since the age of five. She is known locally for her in-depth knowledge of football. She hopes to empower young women to follow their dreams and join the sports conversation. Boord's background in analytics infuses her articles with unique insights into the state of the Jets' franchise and the NFL as a whole.
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