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Sheldon Richardson: Versatility Growing

Rich Schultz

When he was a rookie, it seemed like the Jets tried to keep things relatively simple for Sheldon Richardson. He spent most of his time on the inside.

The opener against the Raiders suggests the Jets are going to look for more creative ways to utilize his unique size/burst combination. When Oakland got into obvious passing situations, Richardson spent plenty of time inside at the three technique or over the ball. The Jets also did start to kick him outside more, sometimes with his hands on the ground and sometimes rushing standing up as a linebacker.


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The results were not necessarily spectacular on the first try, but this is something to keep an eye on. Richardson was a terrific run stopper as a rookie. His pass rushing game was raw. He has all of the raw tools to develop into an impact guy in this area. He's very strong and quick. He can hold up inside, but his burst might also help turn him into an asset on the outside. The Jets seem to be banking on it.

Normally it would seem crazy to stick a guy as big as Richardson on the edge. Given his skillset, though, it's intriguing. There were a few times where I thought I saw the beginnings of a spin move on the outside from Sheldon.

There's a long way for him to go as a pass rusher, but what a nightmare it could be for opponents. When you have a guy who can be effective standing up on the outside or lining over the ball, you don't know where he's going to line up. This makes it impossible to devise a blocking scheme to negate that player. You also might have to adjust at the line depending on where the guy lines up, creating the potential for confusion.

I think this is what the Jets have been trying to do with Quinton Coples, but Richardson's superior athleticism might make him a better fit in a role like this.