Tonawanda News — More important to Lawson, was the opportunity to play for Pettine, who was hired in January by Buffalo’s new coach Doug Marrone. Pettine held the same role with the New York Jets, where he established a reputation for overseeing an aggressive defense that, in four seasons, ranked no worse than eighth in the NFL in yards allowed.
Lawson feels more comfortable playing in a 3-4 system, and is also looking forward to getting more opportunities to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
“Definitely, I would like to rush the passer more. And talking to Mike, with the packages that he has for us, I’ll get a chance to,” Lawson said. “I think I fit will into this scheme.”
Lawson had 47 tackles and two sacks in 16 games, including 10 starts, last season. Overall, he has 18 sacks, two interceptions and seven forced fumbles in starting 81 of 96 career games.
He’s started at least 10 games in each of his seven years, except in 2007, when he was limited to playing two games after sustaining a season-ending knee injury.
The 28-year-old Lawson was excited by the opportunity to attract a longer-term contract in Buffalo, after signing one-year deals the past two seasons in Cincinnati.
The Bills are in need of linebackers after releasing starter Nick Barnett last month. They also allowed veteran backup Kirk Morrison to become a free agent, while Shawne Merriman isn’t coming back, either, after announcing his retirement last week.
Buffalo’s defense under-performed last season under coordinator Dave Wannstedt, who was fired along with the rest of Chan Gailey’s staff in January. The Bills finished last year 22nd in yards allowed, 31st against the run and 26th in points, which contributed to the team’s 6-10 finish.