Defensive end Carl Lawson, who signed with the Jets in March, may be new to the team and Florham Park, but he continues to own real estate in the offensive backfield.
"You watch the tape and he beats everybody," head coach Robert Saleh said. "I think he was top three in pressures and quarterback hits, so it's not foreign to him to win. What's cool is his work ethic and the way he goes about his day-to-day process. He's relentless with his body, he's relentless with his work ethic. He's an absolute professional. There's the old saying hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. And this dude, not only is he talented, he but works his absolutely butt off. And because of it, you see results."
Lawson, who had 5.5 sacks in the 2020 season, was impressive in Tuesday's practice, showing his prowess against the run and pass. He had at least two would-be sacks of Zach Wilson and came screaming off the edge to stop RB La'Mical Perine for a tackle for a loss. Both Bryce Huff and John Franklin-Myers also had would-be sacks as defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich dialed up the blitz in a third-down period.
See the Top Photos from the Jets' Practice at 1 Jets Drive on Tuesday
Despite 20 career sacks in 51 games over four seasons, Lawson is one of the NFL's best at applying pressure to the quarterback. He led all defensive linemen with 32 QB hits last season and his 54 hits the past two seasons trail only the Chargers' Joey Bosa among D-linemen.
"Carl is one of those guys who's going to transcend the scheme," Saleh said. "He's going to continue to disrupt. Now how much can we do for him in allowing that hitch to happen, so he can bring the quarterback down?"
Saleh later added: "The one's that transcend the game, they're rare through the history of time. But to be able get one in this building like Carl, that's awesome, especially with that push that we should be able get from the middle of the defensive line."
Wilson Scratching the Surface
Zach Wilson won't be "live" until he wears a game jersey Saturday night as the Jets open their preseason schedule against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. During practice, Wilson and the Jets' other three quarterbacks don red pinnies and are thought of as untouchables. So the charge for the defensive players is to collapse the pocket but protect the investment. Wilson's hand hit a helmet on one play during practice today and he shook it off after a quick talk with a trainer.
"He's fine, got a little scratch," head coach Robert Saleh said of the rookie. "We've got to be more careful around the quarterback, but he's good."
Shortly after Wilson's scratch, he ripped the defensive secondary for a long completion to Jamison Crowder. The veteran receiver got a step on CB Bless Austin and Wilson delivered a great ball to Crowder's back shoulder. Results were mixed overall Tuesday for Wilson and the offense as he often was under duress during a third-down period. He was unable to connect to Jeff Smith down the field and his practice ended with a Marcus Maye interception. Wilson did have a long TD pass to TE Ryan Griffin, but that play likely would have ended long before as Lawson had set up shop in the offensive backfield.
Saleh told reporters: "The reality is the result, especially in training camp, is a much bigger deal for you guys than it is us. His process is exactly where we want it to be. His study habits are exactly where we want it to be, his demeanor on the field is exactly where we want it to be. The result, that's a pacifier to make people happy. He's going in the direction he needs to go. He's got the right mindset, he's doing everything he needs to do and when it clicks, it clicks."
And everything he needs to do includes going the extra mile off the field. Wilson is not only learning from OC Mike LaFleur and QB coach Rob Calabrese, but he's sought out the help of Ulbrich.
"He's awesome," Saleh said of Wilson. "He asks questions. He's in the D-coordinator's office asking questions about scheme. He's an absolute sponge learning and learning from mistakes. He's trying stuff.
"A lot of the stuff you see, he's testing to see what he can and can't get away with, which I think is awesome. The kid is going to be fine. He's going through a process and what I love about it is he's deliberate in his process. He's trying to find ways to get better. There are things that he's trying and really doesn't care about the noise. He doesn't care about any of it. He's focused on trying to get himself ready to be the best quarterback in the league and we're all in love with his process."
Both kickers had strong days as that competition continues. With temps in the upper 80s and humidity around 73%, Matt Ammendola and Chris Naggar executed perfect rounds while connecting from 33, 42, 48 and 56 yards. Speaking of extreme heat, the Jets will practice Wednesday and Thursday in Florham Park with highs expected to be 96 and 98. … The offensive reserves leaned on the defensive reserves late, repeatedly pounding them up front with Ty Johnson runs, the last of which resulted in a TD. … Michael Carter benefited from a big hole and had a sizable gain on a cutback run. … While rookie CB Brandin Echols and veteran DT Folorunso Fatukasi had pass defenses, QB Mike White hit Denzel Mims for a vertical strike and the latter drew a pass interference penalty following a White play-action fake. Saleh said of Mims, "It felt like he had a really nice practice today. We'll go back and look at the tape, but he's working his tail off." … S Sharrod Neasman had a pass defense and an interception after Mims couldn't corral a White pass over the middle and LB Noah Dawkins broke up a pass intended for Jamison Crowder.