With training camp just a couple weeks away, Raiders DE Jay Richardson is out to prove he's not a one-dimensional player. He has built a reputation as a run stopper in the first three seasons of his career, and made only three sacks in each of the past two seasons. He was almost always off the field in third-down situations in 2009.
Richardson recently spoke with PFW over the phone from Miami, where he has been training.
"(Coaches) were like 'On running downs we want Jay out there because he can definitely do a good job stopping the run,'" Richardson said. "And that was cool. Don't get me wrong. But as you grow in this league, as you learn, as you progress and get better at what you do and really study the position and your craft, you want to be the total package. Every defensive end wants to be a complete defensive end."
Richardson, who started 22 games from 2007-08, moved to a backup role behind Richard Seymour and Greg Ellis last season. Ellis was released in the offseason, leaving Richardson to compete against Seymour, second-year veteran Matt Shaughnessy and rookie Lamarr Houston for reps in the rotation at end. He wants to start, of course, but there's a good chance he'll be a backup once again.
"(The Raiders) always find (a spot) for me," he said. "… If I was worried about competition, I shouldn't be playing pro football."
Oakland made some significant changes to its personnel in the front seven since last season ended, and it has the pieces — aside from a proven nose tackle — to run a 3-4. Richardson is a prototypical 4-3 defensive end, and while he has played in the 3-4 in the past, he doesn't anticipate a significant change in Oakland's defensive alignment.
"There are definitely going to be some packages for us that are going to put us in more 3-4 looks, but we're a 4-3 defense all the way," he said.
"As far as our defense goes, we probably put in about 80 percent of it this summer. We got just about everything in there, but I'm sure knowing (defensive coordinator John) Marshall, he's going to toss a few curveballs at us throughout camp. … As far as the blueprint for what we're going to do and our base defense, it's in there."
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