How Does Carl Lawson’s Injury Impact the New York Jets?

Carl Lawson Injury
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Bad news came out of the Green Bay Thursday afternoon when Rich Cimini of ESPN tweeted of New York Jets defensive end Carl Lawson being carted off the field with a leg injury. Lawson was a recent free agency addition to the defense and made a splash in training camp. Later, Cimini confirmed that Lawson would miss the 2021 season with a ruptured Achilles. The defensive end entered his fifth year in the NFL and his first for Gang Green’s defense. New York lost the linchpin of their pass rush, leaving us to ask, how does Carl Lawson’s injury impact the New York Jets?

How Does Carl Lawson’s Injury Impact the New York Jets?

A Look At The Jets’ Defense

In 2020 the Jets were ranked 24th in total defense. They allowed 28.6 points per game, 112 rushing yards per game, 275.6 passing yards per game, and 387.6 total yards per game. No Jets’ defender recorded double-digit sacks, and only defensive tackle Quinnen Williams recorded double-digit tackles for loss. Watching the game film only confirms the stats’ outcome; Gang Green’s defense was mediocre at best. They were in serious need of quality defensive help. Help that Lawson was signed to provide.

A Look At Lawson

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted DE Carl Lawson out of Auburn in 2017. From 2017 to 2020, Lawson played a total of 51 games with a total of 14 starts. In that time, Lawson racked up 20 sacks, 81 tackles with 19 being for a loss, and 83 quarterback hits. While no one is claiming Lawson is a future Hall of Famer, he was a solid defensive end for the Bengals. His game film shows a dedicated player with pressure capabilities and a relentless motor. After the 2020 season, Lawson signed with the New York Jets for a three-year, $45 million deal.

Lawson made an immediate impact with the Jets in training camp. Early reports showed he gave standout left tackle Mekhi Becton serious trouble on his way to many quarterback pressures. The Jets decided to make Lawson a healthy scratch in their first preseason game against the Giants. Even without this game film, it’s easy to see Lawson’s impact on the Jets.

What Does This Mean For The Jets’ Defense?

Carl Lawson’s injury is a massive blow to Gang Green’s defensive unit. From cap hit to on the field loss, the Jets are dealing with a significant blow. Lawson beat Becton often in training camp and had interior help by lining up with Williams and Sheldon Rankins. Combine these factors with the return of defensive captain linebacker CJ Mosley and the hiring of Head Coach Robert Saleh, and Lawson was about to become the product of a perfect storm.

All this is to say; It’s hard to say how good Lawson would have been, but all indications point to “great.” The loss of Lawson’s potential career season will cause the Jets to struggle heavily on their pass rush, leaving their weak secondary to flounder. A Jets’ defense that looked to end the 2021 season ranked at least 18th overall may again find themselves in the mid-20s.

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