How long can LA Rams Aaron Donald keep up this pace?

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

LA Rams All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald is, well, Aaron Donald. He is one of the most dominating NFL players, not just defensive linemen, not just defenders, but NFL Players since he arrived in the league in 2014. Seven years of excellence. That may not seem like much to many, but to over half of the players who make it to the NFL level, it’s longer than the duration of their entire careers.

It’s more than just a statistic. It’s more than one game. It’s more than a season. It’s his entire persona, a complete 24 X 7 X 365 dedication to not only to be the best NFL player of his time but to be better than yesterday. Folks, if you haven’t noticed, this guy’s yesterdays are incredible.

I mean, this is not sustainable, is it? At some point, whether by age, a contemporary, or even a teammate, his accomplishments will plateau and another will climb ever so higher.

So now for the tough million dollar question. How long can Aaron Donald keep up this pace? By the final buzzer of the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, with the score showing LA Rams 18 Green Bay Packers 32, the answer was less than that of just two weeks prior.

He’s only human after all

Playing with torn rib cartilage suffered a week earlier, Aaron Donald was not the same Aaron Donald.  He was still good enough to start. He was still the best option that the LA Rams had to play his position. But he was hurting. He didn’t have the same twitch. He didn’t have the command of his core, and couldn’t outpower offensive linemen who stood in his way.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

It’s not that the LA Rams can’t count on Aaron Donald’s dominance to lead the team to another victory. It’s that the LA Rams cannot be ONLY Aaron Donald on defense. They have added All-Pro defensive back, Jalen Ramsey, to the secondary. Now the front office hopes that they have detected that same spark of greatness in South Carolina inside linebacker Ernest Jones.  The Rams have also added rookie defensive lineman Bobby Brown, who appears in photos to be working out to the same regiment as Donald.

If the career of former Houston Texans defensive end  J.J. Watt is any indication, Donald is at risk of injury. You see, Watt played every game on the schedule for five seasons, but he was only able to play three games in 2016, and five games in 2017. He played a full season in 2018 before injury once more limited his play to just eight games. Despite a full season in 2020, his production was down, and he is now playing for the Arizona Cardinals.

When will the wear and tear on Donald’s double- and triple-teaming finally start to show? How long can the NFL superstar maintain this superhuman pace, and produce like a superhero? We’ve talked for years about how the LA Rams need to help out Aaron Donald on defense. GIve him a player who can take over if Donald cannot.

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It’s now or never.  And now is as good of a time as any.