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Jets need to stop misusing Sheldon Richardson

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Oct 2, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) tries to stiff arm New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Seattle defeated New York 27-17. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) tries to stiff arm New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Seattle defeated New York 27-17. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
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Clearly on defense, whatever the New York Jets have been doing hasn’t been working at all. Just like how they’re misusing the talents of defensive Sheldon Richardson as a pass-rushing outside linebacker.

When it comes to the overall defense of the New York Jets, it’s easy to see why they haven’t lived up to expectations. Despite having an incredible amount of talent on their defensive line, they can’t stop the run, defend against the pass, and forget about any kind of consistent pass rush.

Related Story: Do the Jets really have defensive strategy problems?

The Jets continue to head in a downward spiral as they’ve turned into one of the worse teams in the NFL. Of course, the worst team in the NFL is easily the Cleveland Browns but even then, the Jets are right down there with them.

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From a lack of preparation, boneheaded mistakes, and not making key adjustments when needed, the Jets are getting to a point where it’s looking more and more like a lost season this year.

It’s understood that using defensive end Sheldon Richardson as a pass-rushing outside linebacker made sense in 2015 but clearly, it isn’t working now.

The Jets need to stop trying to play a “fool the enemy” kind of strategy on defense and stick to what works. Richardson can be a dominating factor on the Jets’ defensive line, an area of strength for him.

But to put him as an edge rushing linebacker isn’t confusing anyone. It’s easy to pickup and well, doesn’t say much about those the Jets put in at linebacker to bring speed and production from the position.

Even head coach Todd Bowles was asked about why was Richardson getting more reps at outside linebacker when this offseason. During the Summer, Bowles said that wouldn’t the case in 2016. Here is what he said, courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:

On what led to Sheldon Richardson playing more reps at outside linebacker…

He took a few drops. Sometimes he’s playing defensive end and he’s rushing from a two-point stance. It’s not necessarily that he’s at outside linebacker. He likes to mix it up and we give him the flexibility on certain calls to mix it up, to not give that away, but he played defensive end for the most part. Every now and then, we move him around to just not get a bead on him, but for the most part, he plays down.

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Overall, the Jets need to stop playing this kind of games and put their key defensive players in a position to succeed. Richardson is best utilized as a defensive end and needs to stop being misused by the Jets. Especially to pick up the slack of underperforming linebackers.

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