In his first face-to-face meeting with the local media, Buffalo’s latest Bill Shaq Lawson was as polite as they come – answering every question with “yes sir” or “no sir” – and was beaming with confidence.
“That’s been my goal, coming in day one. Play, make an impact and get this team back to the playoffs.”
Not a bad attitude to have for a franchise plagued by a 16-year playoff drought. If Lawson can fill the Bills void at defensive end the way Rex Ryan, Doug Whaley and company imagine, he may very well deliver on that.
The plan will be for Lawson to be a walked out, OLB type pass rusher who can also play down on the line – in a five-technique alignment – during certain passing downs, using his strength and athleticism to maneuver his way into the backfield. He’s ready for anything.
“I’m very prepared,” Lawson asserted. “They’re going to do a lot of different things with me. I can play either-or, so I’m just ready to get on that field and help this team out and bring a banner back here and bring a Super Bowl back here.”
Lawson’s athleticism makes him a perfect fit for Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense, but even more importantly, Buffalo is getting a guy who wants to be here. Wants to fit in – unlike the guy he’s replacing. And has a connection with his new head coach.
“When I first met Rex Ryan was my freshman year at Clemson, Lawson said. “Me and Seth were both moving into the freshman dorms and he was just talking about how he had two first-round picks that attended Hargrave and he said maybe that can be you one day and that was the first thing that he said to me when I first met Rex.”
Years later the duo hit if off at the combine where, as Lawson explained, Ryan made him “[feel] very comfortable,” and unlike other teams “just [wanted to] talk about football and what I can bring to the table and to the team.”
All of that culminated in what sounds like a fairy tale union between the two sides. “Last night when I was waiting on that call, I knew Buffalo was sitting there at 19 and I was like, ‘Please come get me Rex,’ Lawson said.
Playoffs. Super Bowls. Wants to be in Buffalo. Sounds like he checks out and Bills fans are salivating over their newest addition.
Among the more interesting notes from Lawson’s first formal media appearance on One Bills Drive, were his mention of a team at the combine asking him “how would you kill somebody.” When asked to elaborate into what team it was – go figure – Lawson, sturdy as the come physically showed the same strength mentally. “I can’t remember. I met with a lot of teams so I couldn’t remember who asked me that,” he said.
And then there is the concerns over his shoulder, which broke last night via reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter may require surgery before 2017. Lawson certainly showed up ready to address that topic with the media, explaining that at the Combine, Jacksonville was the only team to flag him. Then after going through a recheck process a lot of teams reportedly agreed his range of motion was great. “Everything was great, I had improved. I sent the video out Monday to all 32 teams of my bench press, and the whole full show of the workout,” Lawson said.
Still, the question had to be asked directly. “Do you expect to need surgery at any point?” To which Lawson replied, “No sir.”
All-in-all, Lawson isn’t concerned with his shoulder. Whether he’s just downplaying it, remains to be seen, but the team isn’t concerned if they were willing to use the 19th overall pick on the 6-foot-4, 270-pound DE.