Shutting down LA Rams DL Aaron Donald is right call

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams have held out making the decision to shut down All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald through four games, despite the fact that he had suffered a high ankle sprain. Well, that decision has finally been made. The Rams are shutting Donald down for the final


er two games of the 2022 NFL season. It was absolutely the right call, and here’s why:

The LA Rams have been a shell of their optimal selves all season. However you view the decisions regarding this team’s 53-man roster, and 22-man starting lineup, the Rams were hit hard by injuries right out of the gates, and that constant stream of injuries never relented throughout the entirety of the 2022 NFL season.

Young Rams defensive linemen are seeing valuable action

Since Rams Donald has been inactive for Week 13 through 16, the team has played eight different defensive linemen, three of whom had not seen action for the Rams’ defensive front prior to Donald’s injury. And over the course of the past four games, the Rams have recorded nine quarterback sacks, so the pass rush has not been entirely shattered with Donald’s absence.

Of course, the Rams’ defensive line has not only been impacted by the absence of Aaron Donald. Veteran defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson has been out since Week 11. And productive young defensive lineman Marquise Copeland has not played since Week 14.  This was a team that did not add a defensive lineman in the 2022 NFL Draft, and the only player added to the Rams roster in the offseason, DT Elijah Garcia, was poached by the Denver Broncos before he ever had the chance to suit up for the LA Rams.

The Rams did claim DT Larrell Murchison off the Tennessee Titans’ waivers, and he has already exploded onto the scene with a pair of quarterback sacks of Russell Wilson in his defensive debut for the LA Rams. In fact, his performance was so robust that many NFL fans want to know who he is.

Room for more on the 2023 Rams roster

The Rams are finally getting some playing time for DE Earnest Brown IV as well as DE Jonah Williams. Even DT Bobby Brown III is finally getting a healthy slice of defensive snaps. Does that mean that the LA Rams will not extend either defensive lineman veteran, Greg Gaines or A’Shawn Robinson?  Not exactly.

But truth be told, the LA Rams have a lot invested in their defensive linemen group simply with Aaron Donald. So the money matters . . . well, they matter. The 2023 NFL Draft is projected to have a talented and deep class of interior defensive linemen and the Rams have proven to load up heavily when that has occured in the past.

The Rams will likely look to bolster their ranks of defensive linemen in the offseason. And we will be taking a look at the group again, perhaps several times. But for now, the Rams are taking a look at the younger players on this roster. I, for one, love what I’m seeing.

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