EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley experienced his "Welcome to the Jets" moment on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. After another embarrassing performance by the defense, the mild-mannered captain took the podium and ranted about being disrespected by the Philadelphia Eagles and the world.
The Eagles refused the customary handshake at the coin toss, Mosley said. Philadelphia defensive tackle Fletcher Cox laughed at Jets coach Robert Saleh during the game, Mosley added. Mosley took umbrage to the perceived slights, which put him in a foul mood after the 33-18 loss. Mosley, in a calm voice, said, "It pisses you off."
It took Mosley 12 games into his second season with the Jets to realize it isn't easy being green.
"It's all about respect," he said. "Right now, teams are not respecting us. That's well-deserved, whether it's by self-inflicted wounds or by the history of the Jets."
If he had stopped right there, Mosley would've sounded like so many other team leaders who preceded him, strong-minded players who succumbed to the culture of losing. Many years ago, a young Mo Lewis was taken aback by the sight of older teammate James Hasty crying in his locker after yet another demoralizing loss. Lewis never thought he'd be in that situation, yet there he was a few years later, broken by the losing.
Mosley said opponents do not respect the #Jets, which he says is "well deserved." He said Fletcher Cox was laughing at Saleh during the game and the Eagles showed no respect by not shaking hands at the coin toss. #Jets pic.twitter.com/CqonWzqk9V— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) December 5, 2021
To Mosley's credit, he didn't stop. He kept going, trying to spin the latest debacle into a positive. Give him points for trying.
"You can see that stuff; you can feel that stuff," he said, alluding to Cox's laughter and such. "As a competitor, as a warrior, fighting with your brothers, that pisses you off. That's been going on for a long time."
"When things change, they're going to change quick," Mosley continued. "I go to work every day and I wake up every day with that mindset, that the next day is going to see that change. Will that happen? When will it happen? I don't know. When it does happen, we're going to be ready for it. That's my mindset every time I step on the field."
Mosley, the heart and soul of the defense, was hot all day. That he got beat on a touchdown pass and committed a costly penalty probably had something to do with his mood. Late in the game, he went ballistic after another big play by the Eagles -- an uncharacteristic show of emotion for the stoic middle linebacker.
It was that kind of day. The Jets (3-9) got shredded by backup quarterback Gardner Minshew II, who passed for 242 yards with two touchdowns and orchestrated scoring drives on his first seven possessions. (Yes, seven!)
For a moment, it looked like Mosley had snapped.
"That's something that gets under players' skin," he said of the Eagles' taunting. "At the end of the day, when you handle your business and you're doing things right, a team doesn't have time for all that laughing, doesn't have time for all that stuff, because you're punching them in the mouth. That has to be our mindset. Nothing is going to come easy for us."
Mosley said the goal is to change the narrative. Here's the sad reality: Nothing will change until general manager Joe Douglas restocks the roster with better players. New York's defense is barely above the expansion-team level. The Jets are allowing 30.6 points per game, which projects to 520 over 17 games -- 63 points more than the franchise's worst season (2020).
The Jets need help pretty much everywhere, but Douglas can start in the secondary. Safety Ashtyn Davis and cornerback Javelin Guidry looked like Pop Warner players trying to tackle the big dude from the varsity, as they bounced off tight end Dallas Goedert on his two long touchdown receptions.
There were a lot of plays like that for the Jets, who were seemingly caught off guard by Minshew starting in place of the banged-up Jalen Hurts. They didn't prepare for Minshew, according to cornerback Bryce Hall.
"No, we didn't, " he said. "We prepared for Jalen."
Huh? How does that happen?
The Jets have a lot of issues, but, as Mosley insisted, "The guys that are here, the coaches that are here, we can affect the future."
That sounds great, and that's what leaders are supposed to say, but there's a world of skeptics out there.