Sheldon Richardson has been through plenty of losses like the one Cleveland experienced last Sunday.
The Browns veteran defensive tackle has seen the wrong way and the right way a team can respond. After three productive practices, he’s expecting the latter from a group he very much believes in heading into Monday night’s matchup with his old team, the New York Jets.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Richardson as preparations ramped up for the primetime game.
CB.com: What have you seen from a resiliency standpoint with this team this week?
Richardson: You kind of said it there yourself right there. The team is resilient. Guys came back in and put last week behind us. Learned from it, just make sure we never go out and represent ourselves that way again.
CB.com: How important is it in the NFL to not let these losses linger into the next week?
Richardson: You want to take whatever you did well in the game into the next week and see what the team’s doing and make a game plan off that.
CB.com: What’d you like from the defense last week?
Richardson: When we weren’t getting penalties, we were actually doing our jobs. Had a few plays here and there, some miscommunications on some things. Other than that, there wasn’t too many big plays other than the screen play.
CB.com: There’s been a major emphasis on improving the rush defense this season. What have you seen to believe it will be better?
Richardson: The want-to from everybody, from the back end helping chip in there, too. Everybody’s just doing their job, maintaining their gaps, standing in there and making the plays that’s supposed to be there for them to make.
CB.com: I know it’s been a tough week for everybody after the tragedy that affected Chris Smith. How have you guys been there for him?
Richardson: Every time I’ve come into the locker room since the tragedy happened, somebody’s been over his house that day, the next day or the day before. Guys are staying in tune with the game plan but are still checking in on Chris. He’s our brother on and off the field, not just on the field. We care about his well-being. Hopefully he’s in good spirits.
CB.com: You’ve been around Smith for just a few months, but what is it about his personality that lifts up the locker room?
Richardson: He’s got a bubbly personality. It’s infectious. Always keeps a smile on his face. Comes to work every day as a true pro. Definitely does his job and off the field he’s our bro. Go kick it, go hang out, whatever you need to do. We know how to have fun, too.
CB.com: What is it about the defensive line that has made you guys so close?
Richardson: We’re down in the trenches together. It’s warfare down there and we protect each other. We’re the closest ones to each other, so we’ve got to protect each other a little bit more. It gets gritty in there and we know that. You can’t have one without the other. Myles (Garrett) wouldn’t have two sacks if everybody else wasn’t pushing the pocket. Larry (Ogunjobi) wouldn’t have a sack if everybody wasn’t doing their job. It’s more than one guy. Whoever’s turn it is to get the sack, that’s how we look at it.
CB.com: What do you like about the makeup of the defensive line from a talent and want-to perspective?
Richardson: Definitely like the want-to. Guys are definitely downhill, tremendous talent from the younger two guys, Larry O and Myles. Definitely expect those guys to be Pro Bowlers and All-Pros coming soon. For Larry O, the work he shows and puts in is second to none.
Check out photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Jets Monday by team photographer Matt Starkey
CB.com: Garrett gets a lot of attention but you just mentioned it with Ogunjobi. What’d you learn about him when you got here?
Richardson: He’s the guy who beats Myles in certain, non-football athletic things that is kind of impressive, actually. Those guys go at it in the weight room.
CB.com: What does this game mean for you personally going back to New York?
Richardson: It’s just another game for me. I’ve been back to MetLife a few times since I was traded. The front office is different, the coaching staff is different, a few of my buddies are still on the team. It’s just going to be fun going against them.
CB.com: How much have you changed as a player and a person since you were with the Jets?
Richardson: As a player? A little bit here, a little bit there. Recognition is a little bit harder to get now. Honestly, I’ve just kept my head down and stayed focused. Me as a football player, I’ve always been dependable and accountable to my teammates.
CB.com: You mentioned when you signed in Cleveland that you liked the multi-year deal because you were able to make a home somewhere. How’s that felt so far?
Richardson: They’re keeping me accountable and making it a home for me. Nobody’s said nothing I didn’t expect and nobody lied to me, so it’s all on the up and up for me.
CB.com: What do you like about your role in a Steve Wilks defense?
Richardson: It’s a systematic defense. We’re consistent with each other playing together. One bad apple can rot the whole fruit basket. Just got to keep it going. It’s an explosive, aggressive defense. Just got to be mistake-free, though.
CB.com: What was the reaction when you learned Sam Darnold wouldn’t be playing?
Richardson: No reaction. They just told us Sam Darnold might not be playing. We don’t know yet for sure. We’ll see on Monday night. Honestly, Trevor Siemian, I played with him last year on the Vikings, I know he can go win football games, too.
CB.com: What kind of insight can you bring to the table with Siemian?
Richardson: A little bit here, a little bit there. Not too much. He’s an NFL quarterback and can make any throw on the field with time given. He doesn’t get too rattled in the pocket.
CB.com: Three of the next four games are in primetime. How do you see this team responding?
Richardson: We’ll see. We’ll see.