Cardinals’ Rashard Lawrence focused on staying healthy in 3rd season
Arizona Cardinals nose tackle Rashard Lawrence believes he has put out strong tape in two NFL seasons and is confident he will continue to improve.
An issue for him, though, has been availability, as he landed on injured reserve with calf issues in each of the past two years.
The former LSU tiger has 20 NFL games of experience, and has focused this offseason on finding ways to stay on the field.
“It was a little bit of (strength coach) Buddy Morris and also just knowing some of the weaknesses that I had in my body that I want to take care of,” Lawrence said on Arizona Sports’ Big Red Rage Thursday. “So I just focused on those things going into the offseason and it’s really helped out.”
The 2020 fourth-rounder said training camp went well and he stayed healthy throughout.
The Cardinals are going to count on Lawrence as the starting nose tackle. The team did not re-sign Corey Peters this year, and thus there is not veteran safety blanket at the position.
He had five hurries and six stops last season, starting seven games and playing 218 snaps. He did not miss a tackle in 2021.
The Cardinals hired Matt Burke to take over as defensive line coach this offseason, and Lawrence wants to show him he is a physical players with a quick get-off.
“Coach Burke is all about getting up the field, getting off the blocks and penetrating, so I just want to show him that I am a physical guy in the run game and I can also give him some push on the pass (rush),” Lawrence said.
Lawrence said getting off the line quick was instilled in him at LSU.
In his third season under defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, Lawrence said he and the defense around him have made strides. He is feeling more and more comfortable in his role.
“We know what to expect now,” Lawrence said. “So going into (Kansas City) Week 1, we know what they’re going to do, we know what the cards are going to be. And it’s a real good feeling having the same system for the last few years.”