The New York Jets' new defensive star, C.J. Mosley, knows a thing or two about what makes a winning pedigree.
The former Baltimore Raven made the playoffs twice with his old team and learned how to lead a defense from Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs. He has already assumed a role as a vocal leader and a "culture changer" for the Jets' defense.
There's no doubt that Mosley's teammates will listen when he speaks up. That said, Mosley's latest bulletin-board statement is sure to get Gang Green's collective blood pumping.
"We know the whole NFL is sleeping on the Jets, so we're ready to prove them wrong," Mosley told NewYorkJets.com. "They always have been [doubting the team], even I was when I wasn't here."
This isn't necessarily news to the Jets' roster, which was recently ranked by Pro Football Focus via ESPN+ as the second-worst in the NFL, ahead of only the Arizona Cardinals (and worse than the neighboring Giants). Despite the additions of Mosley and rookie Quinnen Williams on defense, and committing over $80 million to Le'Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder to enhance the offense, the rest of the league still does not seem sold on the Jets' potential.
There's reason to believe that Mosley and company can sneak up on their competition. Without even playing a down as a Jet, he's already the best linebacker the team has had since David Harris and Bart Scott. Plugging him in front of one of the best safety groups in the league and behind a budding defensive line adds the leadership and experience that the unit needs to truly take the next step.
It might also be a mistake to neglect the team's revamped offense. It's not a stretch to say that Bell is the Jets' most talented running back since Curtis Martin. The offensive line has some intriguing new faces, the receiving corps has big-play potential, and Sam Darnold will hope to improve in his second NFL season.
The team is young (only eight players on the 90-man roster are over 30 years old), but Mosley doesn't think that means they should be taken lightly.
"I think we're eager," Mosley said. "Definitely young, and we know that. But as a group and collectively, we already know the people that have been here, the coaches that have been here, and all they've heard since they've been here is we'll lose."
After five seasons in Baltimore, Mosley chose to come to New York on a lucrative five-year deal with the goal of changing that narrative.
"I'm always about great tradition," Mosley said. "And what better city and what better state to come in and turn a great organization around and be champions."