After routing the New Orleans Saints in Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season, the Los Angeles Rams followed it up with an impressive 20-13 road victory over the Cleveland Browns this past Sunday night.
Although the two teams came into the new season with highly-touted offenses, it was the defense for both squads that really made noise. The Browns managed to create three turnovers while the Rams pressured Baker Mayfield all night.
What was really encouraging to see for Los Angeles was Aaron Donald earning his first sack of the year. Donald was in the backfield all night long, but according to Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times, the reigning two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year still believes he has room to get better:
“I’ve been improving each week, that’s what I like, just getting better and better,” he said. “But I felt like I left a lot of plays out there that you don’t know and probably could have changed the game. Just gotta get better.”
Donald’s elite level of play has earned him respect from his teammates and opponents. Dante Fowler Jr., who has been a beneficiary of Donald demanding consistent double teams, was blunt when it came to his thoughts on his fellow defensive lineman:
“A.D.’s the best defensive player in the league,” fellow defensive lineman Dante Fowler said. “It’s like asking what separates LeBron [James] from the other players in the NBA. He’s just better than everybody else. A man amongst boys.”
Michael Brockers also chimed in regarding Donald’s start to the year, saying you have to look beyond the stats to evaluate his impact on a game:
“The sacks haven’t been falling his way, but as far as him getting in that backfield and being the dominant player he is, you can see it on film, he’s in the backfield all the time,” Rams defensive end Michael Brockers said.
“You can’t get away from him.”
Much has been said about Donald’s sack totals as he finished the 2018 NFL season with 20.5 sacks, the highest total in the league. His ability to either get by or overpower opposing offensive linemen is second-to-none and he routinely creates havoc in the backfield.
While sacks are a nice stat for defensive players to have, it is the quarterback pressure that Donald generates that really sets the tone for the Rams’ impressive defense. Forcing quarterbacks to have to get rid of the ball earlier makes life easier for the backend and allows Wade Phillips to put his players in position to make plays.
Surprisingly enough, Donald actually has more sacks through the first three games this season than he did a year ago. That is as good a sign as any that the best defensive player in football is just getting started.
The post Rams News: Aaron Donald Feels There’s Still Room For Improvement After Strong Game Against Browns appeared first on Rams Nation.