September 8 marked what will hopefully be looked back on as a major day in New York Jets’ history.
Head coach Robert Saleh announced his team captains for the first time and it was a mix of obvious candidates and a couple of shockers.
The Jets HC stated: “On offense, we have two of them, it’s Corey Davis and Zach Wilson, and then on defense, it’s C.J. Mosley and Foley [Fatukasi], and special teams is [Justin] Hardee and every week we’ll have one nomination from the coaching staff.”
Check out the full press conference below and continue reading as we break down each 2021 team captain.
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Weekly Sixth Man, Special Teams
I love this unique incentive from Saleh. Rather than name a second official captain on special teams, he’ll leave the spot open and reward players throughout the season for hard work and effort.
This is how you turn the Jets special teams unit into an area that dominates, rather than hinders. Let it be known that the head coach is watching closely and appreciating those that take it seriously — and none do that better than Hardee.
The former New Orleans Saints defensive back is one of the top punt coverage gunners in the league and he understands that his role is extremely important.
General manager Joe Douglas and ST coordinator Brant Boyer understand this too, which is why they prioritized Hardee in free agency. Boyer raved about the acquisition this summer, noting that he was “ecstatic” to have him leading this room.
Douglas awarded Hardee for his rare talent with a three-year, $6.75 million deal, not bad for an ST specialist.
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The biggest surprise was probably the rookie quarterback. Yes, he’s the number two overall pick. Yes, this position tends to produce captains. Having said that, first-year players aren’t normally voted on by teammates because it’s something you have to earn.
Saleh spoke on this during the presser. “I think it’s more of a testament to him and the way he’s been able to conduct himself here… you go to the cafeteria and he’s hanging out with his O-lineman, he’s got an infectious personality so [it’s] a credit to him and the way he’s handled himself so far.”
We’re going to analyze Wilson’s nomination more closely tomorrow, so stay tuned for an article from my partner Boy Green.
Saleh also had kind words to say about the veteran wide receiver that’s captaining alongside Wilson when asked about his nomination.
He replied: “I’d gush for the next five minutes [if I talk about Davis] so I’ll try to keep it quick. From a coach’s standpoint when you draw up a player you can’t draw it up better than him with his mindset, the way he prepares every day, the way he goes about his business, the way he talks to his teammates, the way he takes care of himself, just all of it. Then you go on the field [and] he’s on his job every single detail, he’s deliberate in everything he does and then on top of that, he’s pretty damn good at what he does too so he’s been everything that we expected as a free-agent pick-up — because they don’t always work out that way.”
It’s hard to add anything after Saleh’s long list of praises, but one thing I have noticed about Davis is his personality. The former first-round pick is all business. He plays for his family and he’s dealt with adversity in the past so he doesn’t take anything for granted.
Davis is also a professional in the truest sense of the word. Wilson told reporters that he “thought Corey was the perfect pick to be a captain [because] he’s not a vocal leader,” he’s someone that leads by example with his actions (paraphrased).
The wide receiver himself called the honor “amazing,” noting that it “speaks volumes, [knowing that his teammates] have a lot of trust in [him].”
I was just talking about how Fatukasi is starting to emulate Steve McLendon yesterday and apparently, his teammates agree. The imposing defensive tackle is the opposite of Davis as more of a vocal leader.
He’s the first to lead the pregame huddle and the last to make excuses.
‘Foley’ is also one of the longest-tenured Jets players on the roster and a Queens native, so respect comes easy when the big-man speaks.
Fatukasi is a believer in players doing their job, explaining in the past that all that’s separating the Jets from becoming a Super Bowl contender is that hard work and attention to detail. Coming from a former sixth-round pick out of UCONN that has quickly become one of the top run-stuffers in the NFL, maybe he’s right.
This entire summer it has been clear that Mosley is a man on a mission. He’s one of the highest-paid veterans on this team but as he put it, he’s “tired of seeing the same highlights” from 2019 over and over again.
The intelligent linebacker was one of the best in the game before his injury. Then his decision to opt-out turned the one-year layoff into a two-year one. Now a slimmed-down Mosley is back and better than ever, or so he says.
His play on the field has definitely backed it up so far and the captain nomination is an obvious decision from teammates. After all, Mosley is not only calling the defensive plays in the huddle but he’s also taken the entire youthful linebacker core under his wing.