“A few times in the game he had the tight end, back and the tackle and still was able to get pressure,” Anarumo says. “That’s what happens when you sack the quarterback as much as he has the last few years.
“They are not going to let him and Sam (Hubbard) wreck the game. Especially Trey, they are paying extra attention with sometimes three people.
Counting the playoffs in this decade, Hendrickson has an unreal 31 sacks in 37 games. Only TJ Watt (39.5) and Myles Garrett (32) have more. If you look strictly at the numbers, some of the big reasons the Bengals went to the Super Bowl were the statistical performances of, in no particular order, Burrow and the three newcomers, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, kicker Evan McPherson and Hendrickson with his franchise record 14 sacks and 3.5 more in the playoffs.
“He has the best chip on his shoulder and he’s letting it show,” says strong safety Vonn Bell, his old Saints teammate. “He’s relentless. He’s a warrior, man. He loves ball. He’s looking to get out there and make plays for his guys … he had a huge tackle for a loss (in Dallas) in that put them back to midfield. He’s geared up for sure. I’d leave him alone right now.”
That’s why we’re not talking to Hendrickson and, instead, talking to one of the young D-lineman like Cam Sample to talk impact.
“He has that drive and energy. Every day he comes in with the same attitude trying to get better. You can tell it means a lot to him,” Sample says. “That’s an easy guy to rally behind. His intensity is infectious. He’s one of the tone-setters on our D-line and our defense and I think that carries over to the team.”
A big reason the Bengals have just two sacks in the first two games after getting 42 last season is that they haven’t had a lead yet. Plus, Hendrickson isn’t exactly in disguise. Well. 91 might as well be an I-75 billboard. And they’ve basically gone against two backup quarterbacks just looking to get the ball out fast. Anarumo expects the same from savvy 15-year pro Joe Flacco on Sunday
“The ball is getting out so quickly. The first game (against the Steelers’ Mitch Trubisky) it is a bunch of RPOs where there is no drop back pass where you are getting a chance to rush the quarterback,” Anarumo says. “It’s just a little bit different when they are catching and throwing, catching and throwing. Where those guys don’t really have a chance to rush.
“We were the least penalized team, but we are finding some penalties this year putting them back in third-and-5 where you don’t get a chance to rush on third-and-5 because the ball is getting out. Third and 8, third and 10, third and 12, you get a chance to get a sack.”
The Jets haven’t been hitting the quarterback, either. Lawson has a half of three sacks and one of nine hits on the quarterback. Hendrickson has two of the Bengals’ 10. Bengals left tackle Jonah Williams has gone against them both in practice.
“Really strong with an explosive upper body. Great burst up field. Solid overall player. Great motor, for sure,” Williams says of Lawson. “He’s a little more of a body rusher than Trey. Carl’s more long-armed and tries to bull through you. Trey likes to get around the edge. They’re similar in how fast they get off the line with that first step.”