Defensive end Carl Lawson is one of the best young players the Bengals have on their roster. He had 8.5 sacks his rookie season, and even though he didn’t record a sack in his shortened second season, he disrupted the quarterback on a consistent basis.
Lawson’s recovery has gone well, and he appears to be there physically. He has only really gotten extensive run with the second unit where he has flourished. He isn’t content to just be beating up on Andre Smith at left tackle, but he understands the process.
“I’m not really worried about those [two sacks against second team], I’m worried about (going against) the ones. I think I got that last one,” Lawson told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. “I love Cordy, but this is just battles. I feel faster. They didn’t play me much today. I guess they’re easing me in. I’m not a rookie. It’s a long season. I’m just easing my way back in. I feel stronger and faster.”
It seems like Bengals fans are a little bit impatient this offseason. With players like wide receiver John Ross and center Billy Price not participating in practice, there has been a growing urgency for the team to get these players out there.
That notion just isn’t realistic. The teams and players understand how the bodies (especially their own) work. It doesn’t help anyone to rush players out that are dealing with an injury in late July or early August. Doing that could easily result in unnecessary injuries. The basic rule of thumb is to just trust the team and players being cautious in training camp.
You also shouldn’t worry about the Bengals players taking it easy on Lawson when he is out there practicing.
“The first couple of plays, I got a welcome back. Real quick,” Lawson said. “Tyler Boyd hit me. Westerman, trying to win a job, so he came and hit me. I was like, ‘Damn, that’s how it is when you’re back.’”
It is good to see that Lawson can get helped over some mental hurdles injured players have to deal with after healing up. So much of the problem players have while coming off ACL injuries is getting over that initial blockade in their head of getting hit, hitting people and planting and exploding off the injured leg. It sounds like Lawson has made some real strides in those areas.
One area Lawson hasn’t been slowed down in is his confidence in himself. He was quick to remind Hobson of how good of a day he had.
“Three [sacks]. I told you, you keep forgetting it. I had one against the ones, too. So when you make your article, say three.”