FLORHAM PARK: He can’t remember exactly how, but the news eventually made its way to the eyes and ears of Daryl Richardson.
This offseason, he heard about how the Jets had signed running back Stevan Ridley, and traded for Zac Stacy. He heard all about how the Jets now had the perfect stable of backs by incorporating those two with the likes of Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell.
He heard it all, including the frequent absence of his own name.
So, he chose not to listen.
“I didn’t pay any attention to that,” Richardson said. “I’m always motivated. I didn’t need any more.”
Throughout Jets training camp, Richardson has been doing his part to make a name for himself in New York’s crowded backfield. With Stevan Ridley stuck on the team’s PUP list and unable to practice, Richardson has been using the extra reps to show he belongs on the final 53-man roster.
He displayed nice vision, decisiveness in picking a hole and explosiveness once he gets to the next level. He’s been reliable out of the backfield, competent as a pass blocker and presently sits in front of Stacy on the Jets depth chart. After not playing a snap a season ago, Richardson is beginning to resemble the player that averaged 4.8 yards per carry on 98 rushing attempts as a rookie in 2012.
“I feel like I’m a good quality back,” Richardson said. “I think I can do a little bit of everything. For me though, it’s about action. I don’t want to sit here and tell you what I can do. I want to show you.”
For the former St. Louis Rams seventh-round pick, that first opportunity will come in the Jets preseason opener against the Detroit Lions on Thursday. With Ivory locked in as New York’s No. 1 back and Ridley likely inactive, Richardson, Powell and Stacy will be receiving the lion’s share of reps.
While Richardson said he’ll certainly be excited to run into someone other than his teammates, after not breaking out much in the Jets Green and White practice, he admits he’s even more ready to show the new coaching staff what he can do in a game situation.
“This is kind of what it’s all about,” Richardson said. “The preseason is all about showing people what you can do and doing everything you can to make the team.”
In his present situation, any minor fault can be the difference between a spot on the final 53, and looking for work come the first week of September. If Richardson can’t catch out of the backfield, he could be cut. If he can’t block, he could be cut. If he can’t play specials, he could be cut.
He also knows if he worries about all of that, he won’t be able to do any of it.
So Richardson has taken a simpler approach: While he may not be the biggest name in the who’s who of Jets running backs, he can play a role.
“I gotta do whatever I gotta do to make this team,” Richardson said. “And I’m willing to do just that.”