Sophomore jinx? Not in Sheldon Richardson's world.
On the first day of the New York Jets' offseason program, the outspoken second-year defensive tackle declared, "I feel like you haven't seen the best Sheldon Richardson can play."
Mind you, Richardson was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, although he didn't make a lot of impact plays -- only 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble. On offense, he scored two rushing touchdowns. Nevertheless, he understands that he needs to produce more game-changing plays on defense.
“Causing more turnovers on defense,” he said, explaining his second-year goal. “I had a lot of plays around the ball last year, but I felt like I could’ve made a lot more turnovers than what I did. We all felt that way, though.”
Asked if he sees himself as more than a 3.5-sack defensive tackle, Richardson responded with his favorite expression.
"Most deeeefinitely," he said, holding the 'e' longer for emphasis. "Most definitely. That’s not even close to what I have, as far as standards for myself.”
Stand and deliver: Reiterating what he said last month at the NFL meetings in Orlando, Fla., Rex Ryan dropped the "D" word.
"Like I said, it’s time to deliver. We need to deliver," he said. "I'm not going to get into the specifics about what we're delivering, but I know what our fans expect and they're going to get everything we have." He said the Jets have a "great nucleus," adding that he expects to build on the foundation that was set last year.
Dee's time: This is a huge offseason for cornerback Dee Milliner. First of all, as a second-year player, it's his first full offseason in the NFL. It also will be a healthy offseason, something that wasn't the case last year. A pre-draft shoulder surgery caused him to miss the two minicamps and spring practice sessions, putting him way behind. It showed, as Milliner struggled through most of the season. This year, he's being counted on to be the No. 1 corner.
“I think that’s important, that he has a good offseason," Ryan said. "Obviously, he really couldn’t train his body the way you would want to, almost for the entire season. I think it’ll be big for him, just to get confidence, to make sure that he’s physically well. I think that’ll really help. It would help any player, but I think in his case, being here for the [OTAs], for all that kind of stuff will be great.”