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There is a good chance it will work out fine, but it is kind of a new position for the player, so we need to see him do it.
Talking about linebacker C.J. Mosley playing in a 4-3 defense.
He essentially played his entire career as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 front, including his first five years in Baltimore, where he made four Pro Bowls.
It’s well-documented he lost 20 pounds this off-season to help with the transition to 4-3 middle linebacker. In the 3-4 defense, linebackers have to take on more offensive linemen and shed them. After all there are only three defensive linemen to protect them, not four.
Also, in a 4-3, since there are less linebackers, just three, it stands to reason the linebackers need to cover more ground.
So he lost weight, and worked exceedingly hard to get in outstanding shape to gain some speed and quickness.
It will be interesting to see how he does in real games at his new position, so the preseason is important for this player, even though he’s a seasoned vet.
There were three plays in Thursday’s practice, in a short period of time, that made me wonder, just a little, not a lot, about Mosley’s transition to his new position.
The first two were throws to running backs who caught the passes on Mosley. First, Michael Carter, ran a quick out to the right side, with Mosley in coverage, and the running back cut away from the veteran linebacker. Then, shortly after that, Ty Johnson beat Mosley on a shallow cross.
Look, it’s hard for a linebacker, any linebacker, to stay with a quick running back for too long, so that is one reason a good pass rush is so important.
But these two plays could make you wonder, just a little, if even with the weight loss. Mosley is 29-year-old, and has played a lot of football, so maybe there could be some coverage issues at times. It’s possible the weight loss added some speed, but not a ton, just because he’s had some wear-and-tear over the years.
And then right after these two receptions, tailback Austin Walter had a nice run up the middle, and a key block on the play was by tight end Tyler Kroft who locked up Mosley.
While linebackers don’t have to take on as many offensive linemen in a 4-3 defense, they still have to take on some, and you have to wonder a little if losing some body armor, going from around 250 to 230, could hurt Mosley’s stack-and-shed ability a little bit.
Look, this could all work out great. Mosley is a smart, instinctive player and a very hard worker. And when you look at the big picture, with all the question marks about the Jets in a transition year from Adam Gase’s program to Robert Saleh’s, Mosley shouldn’t be one of their biggest concerns. In fact, on paper, he’s one of their best players.
But it will be interesting to see in the preseason, and early in the 2021 regular season, how Mosley transitions to being a 4-3 “Mike” linebacker, since it’s not something he’s done on the NFL level.
August 13, 2021
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