68° Good Evening
68° Good Evening

Jets Q&A: Where were Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson?

Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins and Sheldon

Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins and Sheldon Richardson of the New York Jets shake hands during a game at Hard Rock Stadium on Nov. 6, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Fla. Credit: Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann

Why didn’t Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson play in the first quarter?

Their absence was obvious. The reason behind it, however, remained a mystery during and after the game.

Both defensive linemen spent the entire first quarter on the sideline, but their lack of playing time had nothing to do with injuries.

“That was a coach’s decision,” Todd Bowles said after the Jets’ 27-23 loss to the Dolphins when asked why Wilkerson and Richardson did not enter Sunday’s game until the start of the second quarter.

Asked if it was disciplinary, Bowles repeated: “It was a coach’s decision.”

Wilkerson — who was benched last year by Bowles during the first quarter of their Week 13 game against the Giants — quickly walked past reporters as he tried to locate an exit out of the visitors’ locker room. Before leaving, he said tersely: “Coach’s decision.’’

While beat writers were interviewing Ryan Fitzpatrick in a news conference room, Richardson did a brief interview with ESPN radio. Asked about not playing in the first quarter, he said: “That was the starting lineup and that’s where I was.”

Richardson was flagged for unnecessary roughness (a 15-yard penalty) in the second quarter and a neutral-zone infraction (a 5-yard penalty) in the third. “We gave them the game,” he said.

Speaking of penalties . . . what did the Jets say about all those flags?

The Jets racked up 10 penalties for 77 yards, but cornerback Darrelle Revis thought some of those flags were “questionable.”

He also called out Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry, who drew an unnecessary-roughness penalty on Buster Skrine in the first quarter.

“Landry, if you look at him on film, he’s usually the kind of one that’s in the middle of a lot of those flags. And he’s usually the one throwing the first punch,” Revis said. “He threw a punch, he grabbed Buster Skrine’s facemask, and that’s not how you play football at the end of the day.

“A couple times I said something to the refs: ‘Watch [No.] 14.’ After he makes the catch, he wants to do his extra dancing or whatever he wants to do, and they don’t call anything.”

Safety Calvin Pryor was hit with a taunting penalty when he did a little dance after tackling running back Jay Ajayi for a 5-yard loss.

“I remember him coming back to the huddle dancing,” Revis said. “From my point of view, I didn’t see it being taunting. He was still dancing, celebrating. And he had his back turned from their huddle.”

But Revis did acknowledge that the unit has to play smarter.

“Overall, the penalties for us, we can’t let them happen. And we’ve definitely got to understand that,” he said. “Sometimes we’re playing great defense and we put ourselves in the hole by some of those penalties, and it hurts.”

Why did Ben Ijalana start at left tackle instead of Ryan Clady?

“He was still sore,” Bowles said of Clady, who has been nursing a sore shoulder, “so I would rather start the healthier guy.”

Any injuries we should know about?

Aside from Fitzpatrick’s left knee (which will require an MRI on Monday), cornerback Marcus Williams suffered a sprained ankle during Ajayi’s 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. While Ajayi was scampering into the end zone, safety Marcus Gilchrist fell on the back of Williams’ left foot while the cornerback was in mid-stride.

Linebacker Josh Martin left the game with a concussion.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports