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NY Jets: Carl Lawson makes guarantee for 2023 season

Carl Lawson, NY Jets, Stats, Injury
Carl Lawson, New York Jets, Getty Images

New York Jets’ Carl Lawson knows what he is going to do in 2023

The New York Jets’ Tuesday OTAs practice has been an interesting one. Aaron Rodgers participated in his first media-attended practice. Robert Saleh gave a plethora of fascinating quotes at his press conference, ranging from a near-guarantee of the starting left tackle to a sneak peek of the team’s plan for the defensive line rotation.

Carl Lawson added another juicy tidbit.

Speaking to the media, Lawson guaranteed he will have double-digit sacks in 2023.

“Double-digit sacks?”, asked a reporter. Lawson’s response: a blunt “Yes.”

After being asked whether that particular number is a goal, Lawson answered by guaranteeing he will reach the milestone.

“That’s a goal, and that’s going to happen.”

Lawson was asked to reiterate. “That’s going to happen?”, asked the reporter, to which Lawson quickly and assertively replied, “Mm-hmm” with a confident nod.

Prior to these comments, Lawson said he currently feels his best since college.

After missing the entire 2021 season due to an Achilles tear, Lawson posted 7.0 sacks for the Jets in 2022. It was his best total since he had an 8.5 as a rookie in 2017. For his career, Lawson has 27.0 sacks in 68 games.

While Lawson’s 7.0 sacks in 2022 were an improvement over the 5.5 he had for Cincinnati in 2020, Lawson’s overall consistency as a pass rusher was not quite at the same level. In 2020, Lawson ranked second among edge rushers in quarterback hits (32) and fourth in total pressures (64), but in 2022, he ranked eighth in quarterback hits (24) and 28th in total pressures (49).

The Jets will be thrilled if Lawson can return to his former peaks in those two categories, regardless of how many sacks he gets. But if he can also fulfill his prophecy of a double-digit sack performance, it would be the cherry on top.

Sometimes, when a player makes the cliche “best shape of my life” statement, it’s nothing more than press conference hyperbole. But Lawson’s confidence is warranted.

While Lawson played all 17 games in 2022 and never even appeared on the Jets’ injury report, he still appeared to be working his way back to peak condition after his Achilles injury.

Despite the injury occurring in August 2021, Lawson had a setback that forced him to undergo a second surgery in January 2022. Lawson was able to recover in time to play in 2022, but because of the second surgery, he did not have enough time to get back into perfect condition by the time the season rolled around.

Now, after a fully healthy season, Lawson is over a year removed from any surgeries or significant injuries. This is a rare occurrence for Lawson, who has been the victim of tough luck in the injury department throughout his career. Lawson is aiming to play in his first season opener after not missing any games in the previous season since 2018.

It’s no wonder that Lawson feels certain that he is about to have a big year.

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