A week after the return of their starting quarterback, the Jets are hoping for the return of their defensive quarterback.
Coach Adam Gase said inside linebacker C.J. Mosley will do some positional drills at practice Thursday as he tries to return from a groin injury that has cost him the past four games. If he comes through that OK, the next step is team drills, then the Jets can decide whether he can return Monday against the Patriots.
“I’m hopeful for [Thursday] that he’ll be able to do individual [drills] and we’ll see how it goes,” Gase said. “I think we’re just taking this minute to minute. At the end of the day, we want to make the right decision whatever we decide to do. This is going to be more than just me saying, ‘Hey, he looks good,’ and the trainers. I think this is going to be the full organization with C.J. involved as far as what’s best for him.”
Mosley was signed to a five-year, $85 million deal with $51 million guaranteed to be a the center of the defense. That investment looked like a wise one through the first three quarters of their Week 1 game against the Bills. Mosley was all over the field making plays. He returned an interception for the Jets’ first touchdown of the year. He had a fumble recovery. He was going sideline to sideline making tackles. He even broke up a long pass in the end zone.
It was on that play that Mosley injured his groin. The Jets were leading 16-0. Their defense fell apart without Mosley, and they lost 17-16. We haven’t seen Mosley since.
This is a player who missed just three games over his five seasons with the Ravens. The Jets hoped for a quick return, but the injury has lingered.
Gase was asked how impactful Mosley’s return could be.
“As impactful as getting a starting quarterback back,” Gase said. “It’s that impactful.”
Mosley was not in the locker room Wednesday when It was open to the media and has not spoken publicly in two weeks.
When Mosley spoke two weeks ago, he said doctors had not allowed him to test the groin by going full speed and cutting. Gase said things have ramped up more recently.
“He’s been able to do a lot more in the last week or so,” Gase said. “That’s why we’re at this point where it looks like we can get him out at practice.”
The defense has played well in recent weeks, even with Mosley on the sideline. Neville Hewitt has stepped into Mosley’s role as the “Mike” linebacker and played pretty well.
Still, the Jets need Mosley back. There have been a few plays a game where Hewitt and rookie linebacker Blake Cashman, who is playing in Hewitt’s normal spot, have made mistakes, and it has cost the Jets. Hewitt is also now dealing with the effects of a stinger he suffered in Sunday’s win over the Cowboys, and Albert McClellan, another backup linebacker, has a concussion, leaving the Jets thin at the position right now.
Linebacker Brandon Copeland said Mosley’s return will give the team a boost.
“That would be great,” Copeland said. “Whenever you get the quarterback of your defense back it give you confidence and energy similar to the way the offense had when Sam walked back out there.”
Gase knows the Jets are missing a big piece as long as Mosley sits on the bench.
“He’s a dynamic playmaker,” Gase said. “He gets his hands on the ball. He cleans up a lot of things. He can mask any kind of errors. He’s a very intelligent player that’s seen a lot of football. He sees things coming that younger guys don’t. At the end of the day, the guy is one of our captains. He’s a really good leader.”