Since he kicked off a thus-far stupendous NFL career, Aaron Donald has excelled, as evident by six Pro Bowl selections in as many seasons.
Donald’s stellar six-season run has seen two defensive coordinators and now it’s going on its third.
It’s difficult to fathom any coaching change slowing down the former two-time AP Defensive Player of the Year, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a least a couple growing pains getting used to the Rams’ newest defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. After those have subsided, the dynamic defensive tackle promises to put a little of his personal swagger on the Rams’ defensive scheme going forward.
“The first day, you’re out there, there’s different things that are kind of rocky, the next day you feel a lot more clean, a little bit more of an understanding of how I have to play things,” Donald said Wednesday, via team transcript. “I can put my own little twist to it, but not do it to the point where I’m messing up the defense. Each day is going to keep getting better. We’ve got good things going in that’s not just going to help me, but help a lot of guys around us. I’m definitely excited about it.”
Donald’s days in Los Angeles began with Gregg Williams as his defensive coordinator before Wade Phillips came along. With Phillips as DC from 2017-2019, Donald emerged as not just one of the finest defensive players in the league, but one of the best in the NFL overall.
A key question for the Rams going forward will be how Donald and Co. adjust to playing beneath the Staley umbrella — and following a slew of personnel losses such as linebacker Cory Littleton and defensive end Dante Fowler, among others.
Thus far, Donald is pleased with the communication with Staley and the prospects of playing within and a little bit outside of the new DC’s scheme.
“Yeah we talked. We’ve talked a lot. Before we even got here, he called me multiple times and talked to me about certain things he wants to do to try to put me in good positions,” Donald said. ” I got excited about it. Just being here, being able to walk-thru the defense and actually be on the grass, getting a little feel for how it’s going to be and how I can play in it and put my own swag and own style to it, so I can be successful in the defense. “
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