Bills' Frazier thinks Shaq Lawson has a changed view on things

The Bills' defensive coordinator likes how the team is progressing this spring

Paul Hamilton
May 31, 2018 - 1:02 pm

Photo: Sal Capaccio (@SalSports)

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Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) - Doug Whaley took Shaq Lawson 19th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. The defensive end out of Clemson has had many injuries and has not been productive when it comes to rushing the passer.

Lawson missed the first six games of his rookie season and was injured for five games last season.

In 11 games in 2017, Lawson had 33 tackles and four sacks. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier sees a much more committed Lawson in this spring’s OTAs, “I’ve seen a concerted effort to improve, but he did some good things for us last season, but he’s come back in even better shape than he was a season ago. His mindset and his attitude is really, really good. He’s in a good place mentally which is really good for us and it’s showing in the way he’s practicing.”

“You can see that sense of urgency in the way he’s working and hopefully that will carry over into the fall, but he’s definitely come in with a different attitude and the right approach,” Frazier said.

You have to understand, the players are doing drills, but they’re not in pads. The good news is almost every player on the roster is here because they don’t have to be. Frazier said, “We’re currently laying the foundation for our season as well as what we’re doing now in phase three and that has gone well, so we’re pleased with the progress that we’ve made up to this point.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, there’s a lot of practices to go, but I feel we’re on pace and just have to keep it going.”

In the offseason, the Bills lost some players on defense including leading tackler Preston Brown. Frazier said, “Things change and personnel changes as well and we’ve had some turnover and this time of year, we get to introduce the guys to some of the basics that you want to get accomplished during the season that will hopefully carry over.

“We’re also teaching guys how we practice and how we do things here because we have to bring along the new guys too.”

First-round pick Tremaine Edmunds has been practicing at middle linebacker. The kid was one of the youngest guys drafted in April and Frazier likes the progress he’s seen, “Tremaine has done a really good job up to this point because it’s a challenge coming in as a rookie for sure, but being a middle linebacker and to lead, you’re calling the defense, you’re setting the front, you’re doing a lot of things that are required to lead an entire group and that’s asking a lot of a rookie. We’ll just keep putting a little bit more on his plate as we go.”

Sometimes, veterans don’t take to rookies, but Frazier doesn’t see that with Edmunds, “His ability to be able to process information and then be able to handle it in practice situations, it’s pretty impressive. Just the way he’s handled the classroom and the way he’s meshed with his teammates as well, that’s the other intangible.

“When you come in, especially when you’re a first-round pick, the veterans are looking at you and trying to get a feel for you and he’s done a great job of blending in with his teammates.”

Matt Milano was taken in the fifth round of the 2017 draft. The more he got on the field last season, the more he produced. Milano started five games had an interception, a forced fumble and a touchdown. Frazier said with the growth that Milano showed, more is expected of him this season, “We’re throwing it at him, we need him to really step up and really help us as a starter and he knows, like all of our guys do where we are now is not necessarily where we’ll be when we get back to training camp or where we’ll be when the season starts.”

In Thursday’s practice, the Bills introduced some two-minute situations to the players.

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