Rams News: Eric Weddle Believes Aaron Donald’s Presence Creates ‘Huge Opportunities’ For Rest Of Defense

The Los Angeles Rams defense enjoyed some stellar performances during their win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, led by some key plays from veterans Eric Weddle and Aaron Donald.

Weddle forced an interception on his hit against ex-Ram Jared Cook, which ended the Saints’ first drive of the game. Donald recorded an early tackle against running back Latavis Murray in the Saints backfield a little while later.

The Saints played most of the game with backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater after superstar Drew Brees injured the thumb on his throwing hand when it collided with Donald’s hand early in the first quarter.

Still, the Rams defensive front got to Bridgewater twice, including one in which linebacker Clay Matthews forced him to fumble deep inside Saints territory. They also shut down Alvin Kamara. For the first time in his career, the star Saints back recorded less than 70 yards from scrimmage on 10 or more touches.

Overall, the Rams constantly put pressure on a struggling Bridgewater, recording five tackles for a loss an keeping the Saints out of the end zone all afternoon. Weddle, a captain on the defense this year, had high praise for Donald after the game due to his presence per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN:

“A.D. creates so much emphasis, double teams, triple teams, the line — running backs chipping through that,” safety Eric Weddle said. “That’s huge opportunities for Brock [Michael Brockers], for [Dante Fowler Jr.], for Samson [Ebaukm], like all these guys are going to have opportunities every game that — you can’t just sleep on the other guy now.”

Despite losing Ndamukong Suh to free agency, the Rams still have a talented defensive line behind Donald, with veteran additions Matthews and Fowler on the edges.

Still, the two-time reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year is in a league of his own. Donald earned praise from Brees before the game when the veteran quarterback said he had ‘never seen anything like’ Donald.

Donald, who briefly went to the locker room mid-game with back trouble before returning, sounded less enthusiastic about his performance on Sunday:

“Still not satisfied but it was a step,” Donald said after the 27-9 win. “I feel like a lot of guys made plays on the defensive line and that’s what it’s about. It ain’t just one guy, it’s a team game, and I’ll get myself better, I’ll keep working on my technique and trying to find ways to free myself and keep making plays.”

Donald will get a week to rest up and practice before the Rams head to Cleveland to play the Browns on Sunday Night Football next weekend.

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