Friends help LA Rams Aaron Donald land NFC Defensive Player of the Month

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams DL Aaron Donald was not quite himself through the first 11 games of the season. Good? Yes. But not dominating. He got through double and triple teams, but he did not burst through the offensive line. Fans asked what was wrong with the star player. Some analysts suggested that Aaron Donald, who played through rib injuries in the 2020 NFL Playoffs, was more severely impacted than originally thought.

The situation reminded me of a lesson from a bedtime story. Beware a sleeping giant.

Throughout childhood in the 20th century, bedtime stories invariably carried some hidden message. Those stories were eventually animated and put on large cinematic displays for all to see. Stories with lessons we should all heed. Lessons like ‘Beware a sleeping giant.’

That same message was shared at the end of the 1970’s classic World War II movie: Tora Tora Tora. The message was spoken by Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, and it stated:

"‘I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve”-as attributed to Admiral Yamamoto circa 1941"

In both instances, the warning was clear. Do not taunt or believe that a lull in the terrible destruction from a powerful being is a permanent development. Powerful beings like Aaron Donald eventually wake up, much as he did in December 2021.

While I would not consider Aaron Donald a ‘streaky’ player, he is not omnipotent. No NFL player dominates each and every regular-season game. In fact, the best teams in the league are the teams that rotate that boon of great play among a host of players.

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If one does not make a game-winning play, another player steps up. In fact, some have even raised that issue as a complaint in the comments section in the past.  If Donald doesn’t do it, nobody on the Rams roster picks up the slack.

But this time, Donald picked up his own slack in December 2021.