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Sunday, December 12, 2021

Jets expected to get C.J. Mosley, Jarrad Davis back in lineup

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Judging by last weekend, the Bengals probably believe they are getting the Jets at the right time.

Robert Saleh’s crew was thoroughly embarrassed by the Patriots, who hung 54 points on their rival and made this week’s film sessions especially brutal. One week later, the Jets’ defense will merely face a more potent offense, a Bengals attack averaging 27 points per game, the seventh best in football.

The Jets will be facing a young, rolling quarterback who throws to one of the league’s best set of wide receivers. The Jets’ linebacker corps was demolished Sunday, when it lost Jamien Sherwood (for the year with a torn Achilles) and Blake Cashman (to a groin injury).

All while the Jets’ offense is led by Mike White, a 2018 fifth-round pick who has never started an NFL game.

The Jets hope they are getting defensive reinforcements at the right time. If there is any trace of hope for the Same Old Jets, it is that on Sunday, they might not literally be the same Jets as they have been.

Jarrad Davis and C.J. Mosley
Jarrad Davis and C.J. Mosley
AP; Bill Kostroun

C.J. Mosley, who watched Sunday’s horror from the sideline, believes he will be back on the field. Alongside him may be Jarrad Davis, the fifth-year linebacker who has yet to play this season because of a left ankle injury. With Marcus Maye, who was back against the Patriots after missing two games, another week removed from his ankle injury, the Jets probably will put out their most veteran group on defense of the season.

A unit that just gave up seven touchdowns to a Mac Jones-led offense will be asked to not just bounce back, but be the reason a White-led offense can stay in the game. The Jets’ defense is getting close to whole and has to be a whole lot better.

“We want to do our best to take all the pressure off our quarterback as we can,” Mosley said after practice in Florham Park on Thursday. “Obviously, getting the ball back as quickly as possible, three-and-outs and turnovers, creating good field position for our offense.”

Start with Mosley, who consistently was the best player on defense in the Jets’ first five games, in which they did not allow more than 27 points in any contest. He was forced to miss one game with a hamstring issue, and the defense crumbled without him.

The inside linebacker did not want to declare himself ready to suit up at MetLife Stadium against the Bengals, but he has been a limited participant in practice this week and said, barring a setback, his return looks promising.

“As long as everything keeps going the way it is, I’ll be playing Sunday,” Mosley said.

Davis also was practicing Thursday during a week in which the Jets designated him for a return. He now can be activated from injured reserve if he’s ready.

“As soon as he got back on the [practice] field, he was in the huddle, giving his two cents, his speeches,” Mosley said of Davis, the former Lion. “It’s just exciting to have him back out there, whether he’s out there 100 percent or whether he’s out there 95 percent.”

This would be a helpful week to be healthy, and it would be a helpful week for the team to become the last in the NFL to record an interception.

Joe Burrow’s 1,956 passing yards are the sixth most in football, and his 108.9 rating is the fifth best.

He has all the weapons the Jets wish Zach Wilson had. Joe Mixon has been steady out of the backfield, and former LSU superstar Ja’Marr Chase is lighting up the league (six touchdowns, a league-best 21.5 yards per catch). When he’s double-covered, Burrow has had Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins to hook up with.

“Got to know where [Chase is] at on the field at all times,” Maye said. “They’re going to throw the ball all over the field. [We have to] be tight in coverage. Give them different looks. Can’t let them get comfortable in the backfield.”

“It’s their third year in the system,” Saleh said this week. “Ja’Marr has really unlocked the entire group, the tight end [C.J. Uzomah], the running back, Boyd, Higgins, it’s talented. And they’re playing very, very fast because they’ve been together so long.”

This is the unit the Jets’ defense will see as it tries to rebound from its worst performance of the season and while it attempts to lessen the strain on its fledgling quarterback.

The Jets escaped A.J. Brown and Julio Jones, who were injured when they played the Titans. They missed the Falcons’ Calvin Ridley, too, who did not play against the Jets in London. They will not be as lucky Sunday.

They have not seen an offense like this. They hope, though, the Bengals haven’t seen the Jets’ defense like this, because no one has seen Mosley and Davis manning the middle together.

“New opportunity. Going into Sunday with a clean slate,” Maye said.

A new challenge, too.

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