Quicker and healthier are the key words for Shaq Lawson this offseason.
The Buffalo Bills' defensive end knows his third season in the NFL is critical to his future after enduring injury-shortened campaigns his first two years.
"I'm going into my third year, this is an important year," Lawson said in an interview last month with FOX Carolina in Greenville, S.C. "I've been battling injuries the last couple years. I feel like I'm about to get off to a hot start."
Lawson said getting his weight down is a priority.
"I've just been grinding, man, just changing my body," Lawson said on the sidelines of the Clemson spring game. "The lightest I've ever been is 265. It's just about changing my body and maintaining to stay healthy."
Lawson played his rookie season with the Bills at about 275 pounds. However, that season was hindered before it even started by shoulder surgery that caused him to miss all of training camp, preseason and the first six games. At Clemson, Lawson played at as much as 285. Last season, he played at about 267 or 268. A groin injury caused him to miss one game and an ankle injury kept him out the last six games.
Lawson did a good job setting the edge against the run but made little impact in the pass rush. He had two sacks as a rookie and four last season.
"The weight is more of him, that was more of re-evaluating if himself," said former Clemson defensive lineman Rashaad Jackson, who helps Lawson train in the offseason in South Carolina. "But I do feel he will be quicker, a lot faster."
Jackson said the key for Lawson is not try to "re-invent the wheel," but stick to what he does best – using his speed and his spin move. That includes a chop of the offensive lineman and then a spin move. Jackson posted video of his workouts with Lawson and noted, "I can see it in his eyes." He then used the hashtags, #KeepPushing, #DifferentVision #DifferentApproach.
Jackson also has worked with Bills defensive end Marquavius Lewis, whom he has known since Lewis was in high school.
— Coach Jackson (@DLInstructor91) April 3, 2018
The Bills need someone to become a complementary edge-rushing threat opposite veteran Jerry Hughes. They signed free-agent Trent Murphy with that in mind. Lawson will have more competition for edge-rush chances in passing situations.
Asked his goals for this season, Lawson said: "The Shaq Lawson you seen his junior year in college, a very impact player. . . . Dominate the game, and try to make the Pro Bowl, the playoffs again and win a Super Bowl."
Lawson led all of college football with 22.5 tackles for loss for Clemson in 2015. He had 12.5 sacks that season.
Story topics: Shaq Lawson