The Cincinnati Bengals have been looking for ‘that guy.’ With Carl Lawson leading the charge during training camp, they may have found him.
The Bengals will be making a conscious effort to turn things around this season. After ending the 2016 campaign on a defensive high note, that mentality will have to carry over. So far, the defense has been looking good during training camp. But, one player is going to make a mark for himself before the first preseason game. Carl Lawson has impressed the coaches and continues to make strides.
If there’s one thing the Bengals need to improve upon, it’s definitely defense. The unit wasn’t horrendous last year, but the overall domination could have been better. Now, with the presence of young and hungry rookies, the defense could be getting back to the level fans have become used to.
Training camp is an intense atmosphere that will eventually bring out the warrior instincts in the most gentle soul. During Thursday’s practice, Lawson was involved in a lightweight scuffle with Russell Bodine. Helmets came off and the bell rang. Marvin Lewis stepped in to calm the fire. But, a little flare up is good for competition. The Bengals already have a passionate beast in Vontaze Burfict. The addition of Lawson’s flame will have offenses flinching into false starts.
Did You Disrespect Me?
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Where’s all this passion and bottled up frustration coming from? In essence, all you need do is think back to the Bengals’ draft. Lawson slipped past the first and second rounds. Cincinnati got a gift from the football gods and picked him up in the fourth.
That slight by analysts and teams willing to pass on him has become his fuel…his motivation to damage whatever is in front of him. He’s determined to get even better.
"“I feel like I totally got disrespected in the draft. It’s how you want to feel. There were about 20 pass-rushers in front of me, and I watch film on everybody. I know how good I was,” Lawson said, per ESPN. “And even as good as I feel I’ve gotten, there’s still no reason I feel like those players should have gotten drafted over me. And my whole career, during the time that God blesses me with, I’m going to go out there and try to prove it.”"
In other words, anything or anyone in football gear should be looking over their shoulder. The sound of those lumbering, speedy footsteps is probably Lawson. Don’t flinch, it’ll be too late. Just prepare for the hit and the smelling salts.
It’s An Every Day Thing
Like most defenders, Lawson has become more reactive. The key? He had to stop thinking and become reactive. He’s a gifted athlete and had to remind himself of that trait. The moment he let his instincts take over, he moved to another level.
When Lewis notices, you must be doing something right. Actually, he’s noticed all along.
"“He’s trying to be impressive. Well, he’s impressed me enough,” Lewis stated. “But we’ve been searching for this kind of guy again, and we found another one. He’s smart, football-wise. And he wants to be good. All the arrows are pointing up.”"
Additionally, if Lawson continues to hone his skills, the NFL will be witness to another monster, hybrid linebacker. All things considered, Bengals fans have been waiting for another player with the fiery enthusiasm of Burfict. This will be the year it happens. After all, they’ve found that kind of guy.