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Sheldon Richardson bullish on Jets defense

Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson reacts in the

Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson reacts in the first quarter of an NFL game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 9, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Getty Images / Elsa

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Rex Ryan may be gone, but the air of overconfidence hasn't left One Jets Drive.

Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson couldn't help but boast about the direction the Jets are headed in 2015 following their first day of voluntary workouts.

"We strongly feel like we're going to be the top defense in the league -- and top team in the league, not just defense," Richardson said during an interview with a Jets team reporter Monday afternoon. "Offensively and defensively, we made moves that I feel like that progressed this team forward. And I feel like Jet Nation feels the same way.

"I strongly feel like this is going to be a great season for us."

Richardson, the 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, has never been shy about expressing himself. And it's not hard to see why he's extremely confident heading into this season.

New general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles revamped the secondary this offseason with the blockbuster signing of Darrelle Revis (who won a Super Bowl with New England in February), the return of Antonio Cromartie and the additions of former Browns cornerback Buster Skrine and former Chargers safety Marcus Gilchrist. The Jets' front office also upgraded the offense by trading for former Bears wideout Brandon Marshall and veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, and added depth to the offensive line.

But even though the defense looks great on paper, being the top team in the AFC East -- let alone the league -- won't be easy without quality quarterback play. The Jets went 8-8 during Geno Smith's rookie year (2013) and 4-12 last season.


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