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Sheldon Richardson Suspended by League, but Jets still Boast Best Defense in AFC East

from bleacherreport Richardson was suspended by the league, but Jets still have AFC Easts's best defense

from bleacherreport
Richardson was suspended by the league, but Jets still have AFC Easts’s best defense

Jets DT Sheldon Richardson has been suspended for the first four games of the NFL season after the NFL discovered that he had violated the league’s substance policy. He will be eligible to return to the team on Monday, Oct. 5, after the team returns from their Oct. 4 game against their AFC East rival Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

Richardson is one of several players suspended for the beginning of the 2015 NFL season for violating the substance policy, joining players such as San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates, who also got a four-game suspension, and Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones, who got a one-game suspension.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans. However, words aren’t enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on,” Richardson said in response to the suspension.

While he can participate in all Jet’s preseason games, that is all he can do. Once the regular season begins, he must stay away from the team for the next four weeks. The suspension will hurt the Jets’ defense a lot, as he recorded eight sacks, 66 solo tackles and forced his second career forced fumble.

However, there is still no doubt that the New York Jets have the top defense in their division.

With DBs Darelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in the backfield and Mo Wilkerson, “Snacks” Harrison and highly touted rookie Leonard Williams on the defensive line, the Jets defense will be a tough one to go up against and will be even tougher when Richardson returns.

None of the other three AFC East teams have a defense like the Jets.

While the Patriots do have an impressive secondary with Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Malcom Butler, who secured the victory for the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, there is not much power on the defensive line or in the MLB position. The loss of Brandon Spikes, Vince Wilfork and Brandon Browner will prove to hurt the Patriots’ defense.

The Bills didn’t have much of a defense to begin with. They do have former #1 overall pick Mario Williams, but that is all they have. They did have Kiko Alonso, who averaged ten tackles/game in 2013, but missed all of 2014 with a torn ACL. Unfortunately, the Bills traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles for RB LeSean McCoy, who’s numbers have been slowly decreasing. The Bills are not only weak on defense, but also on offense.

The Dolphins made what many like to believe is the biggest offseason move in the NFL when they acquired DT Ndamukong Suh from the Detroit Lions. Suh, along with Cameron Wake, makes the Dolphins defensive line look unstoppable. While that may be so, the secondary has decreased, as CB Cortland Finnegan retired soon after the 2014 season. While he did not make so much noise in Miami, there was potential in him if he had not retired. The only other guy on that defense that can make noise is Brent Grimes, but he may not do what he did last season.

All that being said, the Jets defense is the only one in the AFC East that seems to have all the right players in all the right places.

Look for the defense to make up for what the Jets lack in offense, and that is a lot.

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Stephen Ur

Stephen is the Football Editor at
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