Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott is attempting to light a fire under defensive end Shaq Lawson.
Lawson said recently that he is approaching “every day like my job is on the line.” Given McDermott’s recent comments, perhaps it is best that the 2016 first-round selection is a bit on edge.
“Like most of our guys, and in this case Shaq, this is a time for us to grow, to learn, and this case for Shaq, it’s time that he steps up,” McDermott said, via the Buffalo News.
“He’s adopting the habits of what it takes to be successful in this league on and off the field and he’s consistent both on his approach off the field as he is on the field. That’s what we’re really looking for out of Shaq just like the rest of our players, really, with adjusting to the NFL, adjusting to what’s expected from them and so he continues to grow and improve in those areas.”
Lawson was the 19th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Bills after a star-studded career at Clemson. Yet the 23-year-old has appeared in only 21 of 32 games in his first two seasons — 11 of them starts.
An ankle injury in early December ended Lawson’s sophomore season. The 6-foot-3, 267-pound Lawson had a team-high 4.0 sacks at the time before going on injured reserve, forcing him to miss the Bills’ first playoff game since 1999.
Lawson got a late start on his professional career. He started his rookie season on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from shoulder surgery and did not make it onto the field until Week 7.
At Clemson, Lawson led the country with 25.5 tackles for losses and was a consensus first-team All-American in 2015. However, he was limited to 13 tackles and 2.0 sacks while appearing in 10 games, mostly in a reserve role, as a rookie.