Don’t fret Los Angeles Rams fans, Aaron Donald won’t move the needle as much as Wade Phillips will. And that’s way more important.
Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is the real deal. He’s been a head coach three times with the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, and the Dallas Cowboys. He’s also served as an interim head coach another three times with the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and Houston Texans.
His regular season record stands at 82-62, for a 573 winning percentage. Overall, his record is 83-67.
That’s a 553 winning percentage. As a head coach, his cumulative winning percentage is .562.
From 1976 until the upcoming 2017 season, Phillips has been on an NFL sideline for 41 years.
Has he seen it all?
Does a season, partial or otherwise without Aaron Donald phase him?
Let me concede a few things right here and now: Donald mostly wins this PR fight with the organization in the court of public opinion.
Mostly, but not entirely. He knows he doesn’t have to.
Donald and his people know Los Angeles is in a massive and LAST reset in LA. He knows Sean McVay will get his honeymoon. He also knows that the odds of the Rams being a 4-12 team is pretty close to a sure bet.
What Donald is betting on is a team desperate to win two wars on two fronts: being very relative in a loaded LA market, and the better NFL story versus the Los Angeles Chargers.
Also no one, and I mean NO ONE says Aaron Donald isn’t the signature star on the Rams.
He is. But most critical?
No way. And McVay, Les Snead, Kevin Demoff, and most importantly, Wade Phillips know this. Phillips can hold the line at 12 losses, Donald doesn’t guarantee more than four wins.
That’s honest math folks.
Writing this, I’ve adjusted my calculus on three things:
Jared Goff need only be 4-12 in 2017.
Sean McVay need only hold the line at 4-12.
Wade Phillips is now the most critical part of the Rams coaching organizational chart.
Take note Aaron Donald. Hold out into the regular season, and know that the bar is SO LOW, that you being in a Rams uniform doesn’t change that 2017 prediction.
Lastly, I think Donald has a ton of leverage through Week 4. But only until fans get he neither wins or losses any games in LA or any other city the Rams play in.
You see, holdouts get tricky after Week 1.
If I’m betting today, Donald is dressed by Week 2 against the Washington Redskins.
That helps this team, but won’t likely change much except his paycheck.
Which is what this was about the whole time.
And EVERYONE gets that.