C.J. Mosley Making Impact Plays For Defense


C.J. Mosley might just have the best hands on the team.

The inside linebacker made his case for that distinction Sunday when he pulled down an acrobatic one-handed interception against Jacksonville. After the victory, a reporter asked Mosley where his pass-catching ability stacks up on the squad.

"I guess whoever leads the team in interceptions has the best hands," Mosley joked within earshot of several teammates. "I'm not sure who that is though."

Mosley certainly knew that his two interceptions leads the Ravens this season, and the third-year linebacker is coming up with the kind of impact plays the defense needs from him. Mosley has been active throughout the first three games this year, and he's shown progress in defending the aerial attack.

Mosley talked this offseason about improving in pass coverage, and that's exactly what he has done.

"I think he has made some plays in the passing game," Head Coach John Harbaugh said "He shows a lot of range, spatial awareness, not jumping routes when he isn't supposed to, playing top-down type of zone coverage; those were both zone coverage plays.

"To go up and get the ball and track the ball [was difficult], and those were not easy catches – either one of them."

The interception against Jacksonville came in the first quarter, and he dropped about 15 yards deep in coverage as Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles tried to force it over his head. Mosley tracked the ball perfectly while backpedaling and then brought it down with one hand as he fell to the turf.

The interception the previous week against Cleveland came in the end zone to seal the game in Ravens victory.

"Really what it is, we're doing our job," Mosley said. "We're getting in the right position, doing the right drops, and everybody is making the right reads. When you run to the ball, those kinds of plays happen."

Mosley, the No. 17 pick of the 2014 draft, jumped onto the scene in his rookie season. He became the first player in franchise history to make the Pro Bowl, and he's playing at that kind of level again this year.

He's also grown as a leader. He makes the calls for the rest of the defense and has become the veteran in the middle after the Raven cut 13-year veteran Daryl Smith this offseason.

Mosley has made a point to be more vocal on the field, and he shared that he actually challenged veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs late in Sunday's game. Suggs responded to Mosley's encouragement by coming up with a pair of critical sacks in the pocket.

"I told him on the field, 'It's your time to make a play,'" Mosley said. "At big times, big players make plays."

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