CHARLOTTE – Breaking news: Aaron Donald is good at football.
The 28-year-old Rams defensive tackle has claimed NFL Defensive Player of the Year each of the last two seasons. Last year, he posted an astounding 20.5 sacks.
While on a conference call with Charlotte media, Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay was asked how he’d game plan for Donald if he had to.
“Take a knee every play,” McVay joked. “I’m not going to give any secrets away even though I probably wouldn’t be able to stop him either.”
It’ll be no joking matter for the Panthers offense on Sunday.
Here’s a sampling of what was said about the prospect of facing Donald.
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner: “Well, he’s a unique guy and he’s gonna disrupt and he’s gonna make his plays. The thing you have to do is make sure you don’t leave him in a position where he is going to make a play that turns out to be a disaster. That’s something we’ve worked real hard at. Part of it is the way we put the game plan together and part of it is the way we call the game.”
Guard Greg Van Roten: “He’s no joke, right? Back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year. He’s a young guy in his prime. He’s a hell of a football player. He’s disruptive. He’s dynamic. He’s explosive. He’s everything you want in a defensive lineman. You have to be aware of where he is at all times. You need to be, or else he is going to make you pay for it. You are focused more on where he is. Sometimes when you run plays it doesn’t matter where it goes. But when you have a guy like him, you might be like, ‘Alright let’s run this at him or let’s run this away from him.’ You want to be careful with that you’re calling.
“I’m excited to go against him because he’s the best. You can see where you’re at as a player. If you can go out and block a guy like that, I think it speaks volumes to who you are as a player. It will be a battle, it will be a long afternoon. We’ll see what happens.”
Center Matt Paradis: “Yeah, he’s obviously a great player. We know how good he is and what he’s done in the past. It just comes down to us playing to our techniques and executing.”
Tackle Taylor Moton: "I don't have to tell you that he's a very good player. We've been practicing and watching a lot of film for all the guys that we play. We're just doing everything we can to be the best prepared we can be."