C. J. Mosley’ second NFL season in 2015 did not go as planned – no playoffs, no Pro Bowl. Will Mosley return to being one of the NFL’s elite inside linebackers in his third NFL season?
That’s what the Ravens and Mosley are expecting. Mosley will carry an even larger responsibility for the Ravens’ defense next season. Daryl Smith was released in March and signed with the Buccaneers, meaning Mosley will carry more of a leadership role, both on and off the field. The starting inside linebacker spot next to Mosley is up for grabs, but whether that player is Zach Orr, Arthur Brown, or someone else, they will follow Mosley’s lead.
Don’t expect Ray Lewis-type speeches from Mosley. Not his style. But underneath Mosley’s even-keel temperament is a burning desire to win. Remember, Mosley played college football at Alabama, where SEC and national championships are the expectation every season. Mosley lost more games last season than he lost during his entire career at Alabama. So if Mosley feels the need to make teammates uncomfortable with his words next season, Mosley says he’s up for that. Better than going through another 5-11 season.
“I think I have to be more of a vocal leader this year,” said Mosley at the beginning of offseason workouts in April. “It’s not (like) me to be the one to talk a lot.
“Honestly, I think it’s just a mindset thing, because you can always be a leader by example. But when you feel like it’s, ‘OK, somebody has to say something,’ that’s when you have to be like, ‘Alright, it’s my time to do that.’”
Mosley’s best seasons should be ahead. He doesn’t turn 24 years old until June 19. He has never missed a game in two years. He was the first player in franchise history to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
The Pro Bowl is reportedly moving to Orlando next season. Mosley would rather be preparing for the Super Bowl that week, but it’s important for Mosley to re-establish himself as one of the league’s rising young stars, and to lead a defense that helps the Ravens return to the playoffs.
Asked what he learned from 2015, Mosley said, “Well, we know what not to do this year, for sure…I feel like we just have to bounce back.”