Carl Lawson, the Jets' free-agent defensive end, has goals. Lots of goals. He's simply not going to dish.
"I go into every season with personal sack goals, things I want to improve on each season, year-in and year-out," he told reporters after the team went through its final voluntary OTA session on Thursday at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. "But I share absolutely nothing. I have them in my house, I keep a list of them on my fridge. I keep notes, long-term goals. And I usually reach above and beyond, to be honest. I see them at home, I see my notes."
It was clear that Lawson had no intention of being loose with information that might help an opponent down the road. Not about adjustments from how he played in Cincinnati -- "I don't want to give it all away," he said.
Lawson (6-2, 265) had modest numbers in four seasons with the Bengals: 5 sacks/season for one of the NFL's lowest-ranked sack defenses. He was, however, among the league leaders in producing hits on the quarterback. In the 2020 season he led all pro D-linemen with 32 QB hits, and his 54 hits the past two seasons trail only the Chargers' Joey Bosa on the DL.
Lawson has been in town this week during the Jets' OTAs, though he has not taken any reps while working on his fitness with the team's performance staff.
"With Carl, we've been calling it an acclimation period for him, no reps but going through individual work with the performance staff, stuff like body maintenance, which they've done with everyone," Head Coach Robert Saleh said on Thursday. "Our expectations for him are no different than anyone else. Do all you can to be your absolute best, whether it be film, training/practice habits, game habits, and play to the best of your personal ability. I trust, with Carl, that those results will be good."
That will change next week when a wider number of players are expected to participate in the Jets minicamp, which occurs about a month ahead of Saleh's first training camp in charge.
"I'm very excited for next week," Lawson said. "To look at my mistakes, other than what I do well. To get the feel and analyze things going forward."
Asked about the differences between the defense used by the Bengals and the scheme that is being implemented by defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, Lawson said: "For me, it's repetition of things. I don't want to give it all away."
He added: "Of course you have to change things, there's a new defensive coordinator, which I've had before and had to adjust to what they ask you to do. So there are things you have to change, yes."
He turned playful at times during the Zoom calls, chiding reporters for talking over each other's questions, deflecting, and commenting on what he perceived to be their aggressive approach -- all the while exchanging banter and seeming to enjoy the experience.
Buy back to his goals. ...
"I feel like the sky's the limit," he said. "Like everything this is life, you're not going to reach every goal you set. But I'm going to do all I can to reach my goals. If I ever fall short, that would be OK because I know I've done all I could do to get there. In football and in life that's what you have to do."