The term ‘moxie’ is defined as having determination, a fighting spirit. It’s used to describe someone who doesn’t give up easily.
If you’re searching for someone with those attributes on the Red and White, it’s easy to find him.
Not only is it in the actual name of recently signed defensive back, Jonathan Moxey, it shows in his play on the field.
In only his third year with the club, Moxey played a pivotal role on a secondary that welcomed many new faces and dealt with injury after injury.
Throughout the 2022 season, including playoffs, both cornerback positions saw 14 different starters, both halfback positions saw 14 different starters, and the safety position saw seven different starters on game day position charts.
Of the multiple starters, three were CFL rookies, three were in their first season with the team, and two more were only in their second year in Calgary.
How was this revolving door of defensive backs able to hold its own week after week?
“I would say that is a testament to the scouting,” said Moxey. “The work that (player-personnel department members) Cole (Hufnagel) and Brendan (Mahoney) did in the off-season and getting guys in here who have a lot of versatility in their game.
“Kudos to our DB coach, Dwayne Cameron. And myself and Tre (Roberson) as well, as veterans holding the group together, teaching different techniques and helping guys get adjusted as fast as possible. Especially like you said, with the revolving door due to injuries throughout the season.”
How will the adversity faced last season improve the defensive back unit this year?
For Moxey, it starts with experience.
“Everybody is a year older,” said the 28-year old, “which is really good for those rookies. I think a lot of them are going to make a huge jump when they come back.”
And it continues with that fighting spirit which has become the identity of the Red and White’s secondary.
“Like you said, my last name, you know what it stands for,” explained Moxey. “I live by that. I’ve been taught that way through all my uncles, my dad, that whole side of my family. We’re all focused, determined, we’re going to fight for what we want and that’s the way I live.
“Being brought up in South Florida, you had to be that way. You have to talk trash, you have to play feisty, you have to have that spunk.
“You play the game – I feel like it does rub off on people, so I’m grateful for that.”
When Roberson got hit with the injury bug that had been making its way throughout the DB room in Week 8, Moxey was left to take on the reins.
“I’ve always been a leader. I’m a vocal guy, but for the most part I lead by example,” he said. “I come to practice everyday ready to work. I put that work in every day in practice and it shows every game day.
“I just take it one day at a time and guys are going to start gravitating to you, start watching the techniques that you use, and then start using them.
“That just spreads around our room. We compete everyday regardless if you’re a first-string guy or a third-string guy. You’re expected to bring that intensity and compete every day, because if you’re not doing that then the room is not getting better.”
He certainly led by example.
The Boise State product did what was asked and played at three different spots throughout the season: boundary corner, field corner and boundary half.
In 2022, he led the CFL in pass knockdowns with 13 and was named a West Division all-star.
He was rewarded for his outstanding season and reached a two-year deal with the organization last Friday, keeping him in Calgary through the 2024 season.
And he doesn’t take it for granted.
“It means a lot,” said Moxey. “There was a time in my career where I thought I wasn’t going to be playing football again. Second stint getting released from the NFL, I did not know that I was going to be able to play football again. I came up here and the first year I got injured.
“Following that season, I became a starter and never looked back.
“I’m just really grateful for the opportunity to be a starter in pro football. A lot of people don’t get to say that. Just a small fraction of us are able to play this game that we love. I’m just blessed and looking forward to it.”
With the 2023 season just a few months away, Moxey is ready to get back to work.
“(What I’m) most looking forward to is training camp. I feel like training camp is a great time to meet your new teammates and see everybody you haven’t seen in a while. It’s always good to be around the guys.
“And that playoff push. I’m really excited to see us take the next step. I know we can’t just be a first-round-exit team. We’re way better than that, on paper and in actuality.
“So those are the two things for me. Training camp, getting ready to see all the guys and put in that work. Second, will be to see how we transform towards the end of the year and get ready to make that push and make the next step.”