Apr 26, 2013; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets first round selection defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson answers questions during a press conference at the New York Jets Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Does the Selection of Sheldon Richardson Mark a Change in Scheme for the New York Jets?


We have talked about this pick all weekend long, the choice of Sheldon Richardson. Was it a choice of need? Could they have filled a need better by choosing an outside linebacker? You know how I feel about the choice initially. It seemed like a decision that didn’t really fit with what the Jets do.

But, what if the Jets are trying to change what they are trying to do? What if the Jets are changing a bit? Is Rex Ryan’s defense going to look different than it has over the last four years. The more I think about it, the more it seems that this is EXACTLY what is going to happen. Here are some reasons why:

First of all, you have the change in coordinators. Mike Pettine is out, and Dennis Thurman is in. Yes, the defense is Rex Ryan’s, not the coordinator’s. Yes, Dennis Thurman has been here the last four years, so it’s not as if they are bringing in someone totally new. But, Pettine is the one that has been linked with Rex since Baltimore, running that defense with Rex the way he has done it since the beginning. Thurman is in, there is room to change.

Secondly, the Jets left outside linebackers on the board, Jarvis Jones being the biggest example.  What does the 3-4 Jets defense need more than anything else?  An edge pass rusher.  Someone that can get to the quarterback, without having to run exotic blitz packages.  But, inexplicably, the Jets didn’t address the position at all.  Instead, they address defensive tackle.  Makes no sense, right?  Well, it makes sense if the Jets are going to change schemes to using more defensive tackles, like, say, the 4-3.

Finally, take a look at Sheldon Richardson on video:

Don’t get me wrong, this is not where I try to convince you that Sheldon Richardson can’t play. Look at that tape, he is quick off that line of scrimmage. He can generate pressure up the middle, and any football fan knows that the quarterback hates facing pressure up the middle.

But, what don’t you notice when you watch the tape? Sheldon Richardson being used off the edge. Missouri ran the 4-3, and Sheldon Richardson was quite effective from the position. He is a terrific player, but makes no sense as a guy to play in the 3-4. Terrible pick? Maybe, but what if the Jets are moving to a 4-3 base? Then, it becomes an excellent pick.

So, depending upon where the Jets are going with this pick, will determine the value of this pick. Are the Jets going to try to put a square peg through a round hole, fitting Richardson into the 3-4? Bad idea. But, are the Jets going to move to a 4-3? Then…excellent idea!

Doesn’t a defensive line of MO, Richardson, Coples, and Ellis sound wonderful? Sounds good to me.

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Tags: 2013 Nfl Draft New York Jets Sheldon Richardson

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.szeligowski John Szeligowski Jr.

    Yes! And if you remember, Devito found himself playing nose tackle a whole bunch of times during the year when the Jetsies wanted to keep the OLB back and was very good at it. That is what Sheldon is going to give us, plus will be double teamed a bunch giving Mo and Coples 2-3 more sacks a year each. From injury issues to size issues, this years class of OLBs I think was a disappointment and the Jets identified that too. Jones woulda been our only guy but he’s been diagnosed with spinal stenosis and nobody knows how long he’ll last. Good call…

    • TheJetPress

      Thanks John. The more I thought about it, the more I felt this has to be where they are going. I think you are right…..could be exciting.

  • matr dontelli iii

    this defense could potentially move brady and belichek ( and adams) to retire earlier thn they intended. they could possiblyforce then to develop new techniques, such as being in his headset while the play is unfolding, rather than just up to the snap.

    • TheJetPress

      hehehe I read that book too…..for some reason I believed all of it.

      • matr dontelli iii

        i’m reading it for the second time. it is well-written, well-thought out and extremely logical. i recommend it whenever i speak to a football fan. it’s amazing, but explained and understandable, how and why it was swept under the rug by the nfl as well as the owners. spygate is MUST READ for football fans of every team, not just the jets. well, patriot fans won’t likely be thrlled by it.

        • TheJetPress

          it is very easy to understand….especially for most football fans that hate the Pats.

  • YardJet

    What would suggest a change of scheme is not Richardson’s position (the Ryan 3-technique was really a DT like Devito who could stuff the run and a specialist rusher like Trevor Price on passing downs) but his technique. He’s a one-gap penetrator type tackle suitable for the 4-3, and that does not suit the two-gap read and react scheme. Last year Coples, who Ryan says he wants to get on the edge more, was not two-gap ready either. The personnel, including the decision not to draft an OLB and addition of Garay, are now better suited to the 4-3 and a more aggressive one-gap pass rush.

    Maybe Ryan listened to Dunbar this year, and maybe his declaration they were going to take chances and ‘let the fur fly’ includes – if not a 4-3 alignment, which only means Coples’ hand is in or out of the dirt – more penetration and less readreact. That may make us less effective at stopping the run but, hopefully, better at rushing the passer. Otherwise, Richardson will only play on passing downs because he’s not ready for two-gap responsibilities.

    • TheJetPress

      Great analysis on Richardson “yardjet”…thanks

  • Jay

    I definitely think this is the answer, and the right one at that. Our strength is our line, not our backers. And we don’t have a stud 325+lb NT. What we do have is two monster DE’s and now a potentially game changing penetrating DT to pair with very serviceable space eating DT in Ellis. This should free up the LB’s to pursue and be more successful when blitzing.

    • TheJetPress

      We can only hope that it comes up with this sort of success Jay.