Carl Lawson looked poised to develop into a game-wrecking force following an 8.5 sack 2017 beginner performance. The Cincinnati Bengals edge rusher went year early in Week 8 with a torn right ACL.
During seven full weeks of the 2018 effort, Lawson created just one sack, but supplied constant pressure off the Bengals’ edge. His injury was a huge setback to Cincy’s defense, and the merchandise the Bengals deployed the rest of the season reflected his lack. The 24-year-old entered the NFL with health concerns after dealing with accidents during his stint in Auburn, including a left ACL tear.
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Throughout offseason workouts this summer, Lawson rehabbed across the side and has insisted he is not pushing to be ready for training camp till he’s 100 percent. On Monday, the defensive end told NFL Network’s Good Morning Soccer he’s eyeing Week 1.
“The goal is to be out there Week 1, and I am feeling good,” Lawson said. “Thankfully I can look after my body, I have a lot of different resources, I will fly to areas, I can do everything beneath the sun because I have the cash to get it done. Thus, it’s been a fantastic rehabilitation procedure.”
Through a half seasons, Lawson exhibited a nose to the quarterback, together with the capacity to utilize blazing rate on the edge and flip that rate into power when required. The expectation is that once he is healthy, the new regime in Cincinnati will use him more than the usual rotational rusher as he develops.
The injury-ravaged Bengals saw crucial pieces move down last season, such as Lawson, Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Preston Brown and Tyler Eifert. Every group deals with injuries, but the Bengals seem to be particularly snakebitten of late — already watching first-round pick Jonah Williams go down this offseason with a shoulder injury.
Lawson considers if the Bengals can stay fit, they might surprise in 2019.
“You can expect a great deal, but at exactly the same time, in this league, that is what distinguishes distinct groups, being in a position to be healthy throughout the entire year,” he said. “I think the main thing is being able to get that depth, and that take over, so when things do occur. You know, because everybody’s like’Oh, well if we had been wholesome, if this or that, whatever’ — not that many injuries as we had last year — but I think you can expect a lot from us.”
With a new coach in Zac Taylor, the Bengals remain a mystery in the AFC North. A fully healthy Lawson to begin the 2019 campaign would offer a gigantic increase to a defense that may offer an intriguing combination of rush and protection ability if everybody can stay on the field.
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