LA Rams DL Aaron Donald would terrify offenses in a two-point stance
The LA Rams have a few options this year. In the course of strategizing their defense for the season opener, the Rams could do quite a bit to shake the confidence of opposing quarterbacks, starting with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
One of the most animated debates any fan will experience on social media is pointing out just how much Prescott relies upon the running game, the offensive line, and a stable of solid receivers, in maintaining his stature as a very good NFL quarterback. That reliance has propelled him into the discussions this year for NFL MVP. Well, we’ll see. He has to get past the LA Rams and All-Pro Aaron Donald in that opener.
Donald does stand up, and it’s not a comedy
One of the configurations we’ve flirted with is the surprise effect of lining up Aaron Donald once at the outside in a two-point stance. While that would not be the best use of his talents often, the occasional once every other game or so would be enough to force quarterbacks each week to prepare for the scenario. That would be a pretty good thing.
In addition to the confusing lineup, the Rams could crash Donald to the inside from that stance to assume his normal defensive end responsibility, and to his inside, Terrell Lewis could line up in a three-point stance, but work outside. In fact, any outside linebacker could line up inside a stand-up Donald and have a devastating effect.
Used like seasoning, not an entree’
The use of a play like this truly depends upon the element of surprise. Much like a fake punt or an onside kick. Not only does Donald on the outside surprise offenses, but it places pressure on them to make a nearly perfect play. For a savvy veteran like New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, it may not have much effect. But for a quarterback like Prescott who needs things to go well in order to get into a rhythm, this type of play could have a devastating effect.
And he’s not the only one. Many teams are led by quarterbacks who are still maturing and still learning the game of professional football. An upright Aaron Donald coming off the blind side would certainly be something offenses would not ignore or wish for. And once the Rams use that play, NFL offenses will plan for it for the rest of the year.
Aaron Donald is one of the NFL’s most dangerous defenders. Don’t be surprised if the Rams try many ways to amplify his impact.