GEICO SportsNite: Ray Lucas on Sheldon Richardson’s suspension

Chris Carlin chats with SNY analyst and former Jet Ray Lucas about the suspension of Sheldon Richardson.

Brian Bassett,

Some excellent questions and points made here.  With the suspension of Richardson, it is going to put more pressure on Muhammad Wilkerson in terms of leadership and production.  With Richardson not there for four games this could only inflate Wilkerson’s numbers further this season so as Ray Lucas says, the time to do a deal with Wilkerson might be right now.

To Lucas’s point that Richardson has said that he expects to get paid among the best players in the game? Richardson isn’t wrong to expect that, but any compunction that the Jets have to get a long-term deal done with Richardson in the next 12 months probably flew out the window when they learned the that Richardson was going to be suspended.  The Jets are going to monitor his situation closely and drag out a long-term deal with him (maybe moreso than with Wilkerson now) because they want to see if he can keep his nose clean. 

NFL: Preseason-New York Jets at Detroit Lions

Sheldon Richardson suspended first four games of NFL season

Sheldon Richardson has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, the league said.

“This is disappointing for Sheldon and the team,” Jets head coach Todd Bowles said. “We’re going to support Sheldon and welcome him back upon his return. We will keep moving forward with our preparations for the upcoming season.”

According the the Daily News, Richardson was suspended due to marijuana use (July 2).

Shortly after the suspension was announced, Richardson posted a statement on Twitter (July 2).

“I apologize for my mistake and for disappointing the people who mean everything to me,” Richardson said. “I vow to you, this will not happen again.  My team will continue to push forward without me to start the season.”

Richardson will be eligible to return to the Jets’ active roster on Monday, October 5 following the team’s October 4 game against the Miami Dolphins.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans. However, words aren’t enough,” Richardson said in a statement. “This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don’t want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won’t be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I’m able to return to the field.”

Richardson is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

Brian Bassett,

Well, that sucks.  Richardson is one of the league’s best players and he is arguably the best playmaker that the Jets have on defense.  It is not like the Jets haven’t had to deal with injuries to key defensive linemen before.  Calvin Pace was suspended four games in 2009 for a performance enhancer violation.  Quinton Coples broke his leg in 2013 and missed games early in the season.  Muhammad Wilkerson missed three games last season due to a knee injury. Shaun Ellis missed at least one game a season from 2009-2011.  The Jets will find a way to make it work, but it certainly would work better with Richardson on the field.

The NFL revamped their drug policy last fall and marijuana was one of the main concessions by the league in terms of allowable levels but seemingly not in terms of penalties.  This would have been Richardson’s second violation according to the protocol.  While no timeframe was given, it might shed light on the nature of Richardson’s spring schedule with the team.

Hopefully this is a lesson learned by Richardson and this doesn’t escalate further, but the Jets will have to monitor Richardson’s status over the next few years very closely before being willing to offer him the big payday he should get if he can keep on the straight and narrow.


In recent years, the Jets have had to deal with the likes of Quinton Coples, Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis being unavailable at the start of the regular season, whether that be due to injury or suspension, but this hits especially hard.

Richardson is a big loss, but at least the Jets have the depth to still put a strong defensive line out there. This does put added pressure on rookie Leonard Williams to be ready to go right at the start of the season, though. It also raises the stakes in the battle for playing time between the veterans Kevin Vickerson, Leger Douzable and Stephen Bowen.

This will also free up an extra roster spot until after the bye but then they’ll have to cut someone to make room for him. They’ll save some money on his salary, although he’s still on his rookie deal so this will only be a $310K cash/cap saving, some of which will be needed to pay his replacement on the 90-man roster. Richardson, who will also forfeit $334,823 in bonus money, will be able to play in preseason and practice throughout training camp with no restrictions.

It’s extremely disappointing that Richardson made this mistake.  I guess the one silver lining is that he should definitely be motivated to make it up to the Jets fanbase over the remainder of the season. I just hope the Jets don’t dig themselves into a hole over those first four games.


Revis checks in at No. 17 on NFL Network’s Top 100 list

Jets CB Darrelle Revis checked in at No. 17 on NFL Network’s Top 100 Players list (July 1).

Last season, Revis was ranked 37th on the NFL Top 100.

Revis, who spent 2014 with the Patriots and 2013 with the Buccaneers, signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Jets in March for his second stint with the club.

Revis joins DE Mo Wilkerson (No. 74), WR Brandon Marshall (No. 57), and DE Sheldon Richardson (No. 55) as Jets on the list.

Brian Bassett,

Fully recovered from his ACL tear, Revis put in an excellent 2014 season en route to helping the Patriots win the Super Bowl.  Quarterbacks feared throwing his way and when they did they were almost never successful.  With the upgrades to the defense, Revis should be well ensconced among the best players in the NFL when the 2015 season concludes.

I am surprised that Nick Mangold didn’t make the list; he clearly deserves to be on this list and was left off.  Even though Mangold put in spectacular performances in 2014, the output of the whole group might have been the cause on him being left off this list.


Gallery: 2015 Camp Preview – Running Backs

Brian Bassett,

The calendar has flipped over to July, which means we are just weeks away (!!) from training camp. This series will be a quick crash course on who will be competing for spots at each position on the roster.

Up first, the running backs…

Overview: The Jets have a good group of players with the potential for battles from the first to fourth spots. Chris Ivory appears to be the team’s lead back due to his ability to create yards on the ground in a power running game. The team seems to have aligned their offense around similar players with the additions of Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy. Bilal Powell could be the most distinct back in the group and should pick up much more third down work than he saw last year. As far as fullback, the position might not be as valuable in Chan Gailey’s offense and could be undercut by the team’s design to move Jace Amaro to H-Back.

Click the gallery to read the blurbs on each player.


Daily Links: Bowles you over

  • Can Jets win more close games in 2015? [NJAM]
  • Bowles is the NFL’s 40th most influential person [MMQB]
  • However, he places just 30th in coaches power ranking []
  • EA Q&A: No Titans unis in 2015, other throwbacks possible [Jets Official Site]
  • Jets Top 25: Carpenter is the secret key to offensive success [NY Post]
  • Jets (and Cards) good at creating pressure but not effectiveness [FO]
  • Geno going all-out to remain as starter [Newsday]


Guessing Gailey’s offense: Imported from Columbus

As Jets fans, we are trained to expect greatness from the defensive side of the football.  On offense?  Not as much.  It seems like every summer there is chatter about what to expect from this newest offensive incarnation and whether it will be enough to pair with the Jets defense to make this year, the year.  

In Part I of this article to understand what sort of a coordinator Chan Gailey is and which players he might make most use of in New York.  In Part II we talked about the success of the power-run spread offense as utilized by college programs like Ohio State and Oregon. In Part III we discuss what the addition of Devin Smith might mean to the Jets offense and why it matters more than many think.

Brian Bassett,

The presence of Devin Smith certainly provides an interesting justification to at least have the discussion as to whether the Jets are bringing some of Urban Meyer’s offense to New York.  Devin Smith’s addition is a strong indication that the Mike Maccagnan led Jets are willing to double down on the assumed starting quarterback’s strengths.

As Chan Gailey said in May when asked about whether or not quarterback Geno Smith was a ‘system fit,’ Gailey countered the reporter by saying that “I feel like the system will fit to him.”

One way in which the system could fit to Geno is the addition of Devin Smith.  During his college years, Geno was at his best when he had single or double read plays which he could routinely turn into kill-shot throws to a receiver able to break into single coverage deep down the field.  For Geno, the read was simple and a toss to the open side of the field often resulted in a score.  On plays where Geno didn’t get his kill-shot read, short and intermediate throws prevailed and receivers in space who could generate yards on the ground kept the chains moving.

Should Gailey add elements like a power running game and allowing Geno Smith use his legs?

Aaaand away we go …

Drafted this year in the second round by the Jets, Devin Smith was a polarizing player in the draft community.  Compared against the likes of Amari Cooper and Kevin White, Smith is not as thoroughly gifted or well-rounded as them, but even so analysts like NFL’s Daniel Jeremiah see strong opportunity for Devin Smith in the NFL as Jeremiah wrote the day after Ohio State’s Big Ten Championship game over Wisconsin.

With Cardale Jones making his first career start at quarterback, Smith, a senior, stepped up and helped the sophomore get comfortable in short order. Smith (6-foot-1, 199 pounds) is big, fast and physical. He has great ball skills to go up and get it. All of those attributes were on display Saturday night.

Smith … [is] a gifted vertical receiver and has a lot of good tools to work with as he prepares to develop his game for the next level.

But that isn’t to say that Smith doesn’t have detractors. To read more of this story, click here


Daily Links: Hope against hope

  • TE Coach Johnson on Amaro’s blocking and drops [NJAM]
  • Offseason report: Maccagnan-Bowles overhaul brings hope [USA Today]
  • Richardson “still has some things to work on” [Jets Confidential]
  • Gallery: Wide receiver storylines [Jets Official Site]
  • Jets Top 25: Position change should play to Amaro’s strengths [NY Post]
  • Bowen gives back at Long Island football camp [CBS New York]
  • Bills aiming to become “best defense ever” under Rex []
  • Report: Bills complete signing of ex-Jets OT Wayne Hunter [Buffalo Report]


Four Numbers that matter – June 30, 2015

Brian Bassett,

Every Tuesday between now and training camp, I will try to post a “numbers that matter” article.  Full credit to Sheil Kapadia at who does this every week on his beat with the Eagles and who was the inspiration for this post!

Here are four New York Jets numbers that matter this week:

19th / 23rd — Those are the rankings that Geno Smith received when he was under pressure and without pass pressure respectively according to Football Outsiders.  Interestingly enough, while Geno was pressured just the 30th most in the league, he still fared better when he saw pressure compared to a clean pocket.  This seems to indicate that teams are sitting back and waiting for Geno to make mistakes rather than overcommit resources … another arrow in the quiver of those (including me) who need to see Geno get better at his decision-making …

4 out of 5 — Robert Mays wrote for Grantland a few weeks back that no secondary has done more to improve themselves this offseason than the Jets did with the additions of Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine and Marcus Gilchrist to upgrade four out of the five main secondary positions.  This of course should set up a much more favorable circumstance for second year safety Calvin Pryor to play the role he is most adept at.  A high tide does apparently raise all boats.

40 — Historically, most quarterbacks start to enter the precipitous decline of their production around age 35.  With rule changes to protect the quarterback and encourage passing and advancements in sports medicine, 40 could be the new 35 according to Football Outsiders Andrew Healy.  What does this mean for the Jets? It could mean that fans still have three years of tyranny left from the 38 year old Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Taiwan Jones at mini camp

Taiwan Jones at mini camp

6’3″ 252 lbs. — That’s the height-weight of undrafted free agent Taiwan Jones.

Jones has generated a lot of buzz this spring and his physical play impressed many around the team this spring.  Eric Allen wrote that Jones stands the best chance of making the roster among the UDFAs which is promising, but I find the gushing at Rotoviz over Jones a little too much.  David Harris will occupy the run stopping role for this year and probably next and Demario Davis has been better than Rotoviz wants to him give credit.  In fact Davis was PFF’s secret superstar thanks to his solid all-around play.

Jones possesses fantastic size and short area explosion, but with concerns around his instincts and the ability to keep up in coverage might box Jones into a two-down run thumping role in an ever increasingly pass-first league.  To his credit, Jones looks like a potential standout special teamer and so I’d look for Jones to challenge Erin Henderson and Joe Mays for their roster spots this summer.


Guessing Gailey’s offense: From the Ducks to the Bucks to … 

As Jets fans, we are trained to expect greatness from the defensive side of the football.  On offense?  Not as much.  It seems like every summer there is chatter about what to expect from this newest offensive incarnation and whether it will be enough to pair with the Jets defense to make this year, the year.  

In Part I of this article we sought to understand what sort of a coordinator Chan Gailey is and which players he might make most use of in New York.  Now in Part II we’ll look at trends that align with the Jets talent.

Brian Bassett,

So in summation the Jets have:

  • An athletic quarterback who can make good use of his legs and has had some success with spread concepts
  • A line that can sustain protection but is best served inside zone blocking
  • A battery of powerful inside runners
  • A corps of extremely capable receivers

Is it just me, or does this sound like a lot of the components that helped Urban Meyer just win a national championship at Ohio State?

When Urban Meyer took his talents to Columbus, he blended seemingly incongruous elements into his spread offense.  Meyer’s spread scheme, crafted at Bowling Green and Utah as an underdog method to level the playing field with more talented teams then put the SEC on its ear en route to two national championships at Florida.  When Meyer relocated to Ohio State, he blended the power run tradition revered at Ohio State with the spread sensibilities which had helped him rise to the top of the college ranks.

Chris Brown wrote for Grantland back in January that as Urban Meyer assembled his coaching staff, he looked for fresh ideas to interject new life into his offense.  While Meyer’s running game was often the measure of gap-blocking attrition, the addition of Tom Herman (now head coach at Houston) made the running element of Meyer’s spread offense much more efficient by balancing inside zone runs with Meyer’s same spread reads, screens and the occasional deep kill shot that Meyer loves. To read more of this story, click here