It’s hard to imagine what Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald could do or say to a disappointed fanbase that would make them feel better after a tough loss in the Super Bowl. With silver linings in short supply, some recent quotes will certainly provide a ton of optimism heading into a long offseason and a much anticipated 2019.
Donald, a now two-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner, would mince few words when asked about getting better for next season.
“All aspects of my game — everything,” he replied when asked what he could improve. “Watch the film of a game where I got slowed down and try to find a way that I can beat that and find ways to defeat it no matter what they’re trying to do.”
Donald, who did not record a sack during the Rams playoff run to the Super Bowl, was still a primary focus of the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, and New England Patriots.
The Los Angeles defense was probably the best part of the postseason effort by the Rams. While Donald may not have been able to sack Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, or Tom Brady, he disrupted and manage to get hands on the Patriots signal caller when few did.
For the Rams, the defense was not a particularly bright point in 2018. The much-hyped acquisitions of Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters, and Aqib Talib was thought to be an absolutely feared group coming into the season. However, an injury to Talib and disappointing performances from Peters saw that hype dissipate. By mid-season, most opposing teams found ample opportunities to both run and throw on the Rams.
“All aspects of my game — everything. Watch the film of a game where I got slowed down and try to find a way that I can beat that and find ways to defeat it no matter what they’re trying to do.”
That all changed when the playoffs rolled around.
The 20.5 sacks for Donald was the redeeming quality for an underperforming Rams defense. As good as he was, it wasn’t until that first playoff game against the Cowboys where Suh finally came alive, and the rest of the Los Angeles defensive unit showed that at least some of the hype would be realized.
As for Donald, it was just another season of excellence, a DPOY award, and his promise to fans that reminded them why he is the best defensive player in the game.
“I’m definitely going to come back better.”
Seven words that seem almost unbelievable, until you remember the player they are attributed to.