Carl Lawson is on schedule for a healthy return, which means it's time for Jets fans to restart their excitement engines.
The edge rusher told reporters Wednesday he expects to be ready for training camp following an Achilles injury suffered in August that cost him the entire 2021 season.
Lawson arrived in New York as a much-needed edge-rushing upgrade and was turning plenty of heads in Jets camp, but the injury suffered in joint practices with the Green Bay Packers took the wind right out of his sails. New York responded by trading for another Lawson -- former Bills, Texans and Dolphins edge rusher Shaq Lawson -- to fill his spot, but the addition didn't make the impact New York envisioned for Carl Lawson, as he finished with one sack in 14 games played before the Jets released him in early January.
The Jets struggled throughout much of 2021, but they hope to be turning the page toward a brighter future thanks to a draft that, on paper, was a success. Lawson -- owner of 20 career sacks in four NFL seasons -- believes Jets fans have legitimate reason to be optimistic about 2022.
"I love this group because it's a bunch of guys with different back stories," Lawson explained Wednesday. "It's going to be a competitive group, so it's going to be a breeding ground for absolute monsters.
"We've got guys wanting to come back and prove themselves like myself. We've got undrafted guys. We've got (players) who went to JUCO. We've got guys coming off -- like Vinny Curry coming off a damn near life-threatening injury. You've got so many different people who've been through different adversities, and then you've got that competitive nature. It's an absolute breeding ground for monsters, so I love this group."
Lawson welcomed a former Bengals teammate to New York this offseason when the Jets signed tight end C.J. Uzomah, and the new addition shares his once-again teammate's excitement. Uzomah's reasoning is simple: He knows what Lawson brings to the field.
"Carl's a monster. He's built like an action figure," Uzomah said. "Like if you go on Madden and you try to build a player, that is Carl. Playing with him for six years, seven years … he's just a freak. His get-off is unbelievable. His strength, in my opinion, that's his biggest strength. He's a monster.
"To get him back out on the field, our defensive line is going to be really freaking good."
Uzomah will get plenty of chances to learn whether his prediction is correct every time he lines up to face the likes of Lawson, John Franklin-Myers and 2022 first-round selection Jermaine Johnson II. The offseason is optimism season, and the Jets certainly have an abundance of it.