LA Rams Mission Impossible: Replace an NFL legend on the fly. Here are some options:

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams Sean McVay
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams Sean McVay / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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The unthinkable has happened. The LA Rams, and the entire NFL, have just learned that All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald plans to hang up his football cleats after 10 NFL seasons. While some now share that the team was not caught flat-footed by the news, knowing that the plane is about to crash into a mountain does not minimize the impact.

His career touched the lives of everyone associated with the LA Rams football team. Not just in personal interactions, but in the leadership he demonstrated to his coaches and teammates how to set the example. He is the epitome of the highest standard of preparation, of work-ethic, and of on-field production.

So now here we stand, amidst the rubble, trying to figure out how can the Rams bounce back from all of this. I suppose the first question is: Can the Rams bounce back from this?

In a word? Yes. Without any intentions of disrespect, the Rams defense had to fumble through six games in 2022 without Aaron Donald onboard. While that accounted in part to his plummet from 12.5 quarterback sacks in 2021 to just 5.0 quarterback sacks in 2022, Donald was healthy all season long in 2023 yet still managed just 8.0 quarterback sacks in 2023.

Rookie NT Kobie Turner recorded 9.0 quarterback sacks in 2023, and was double-teamed more frequently that Aaron Donald.

Confirmation continues to support that the LA Rams organization knew about Donald's retirement plans in advance of today's news. But so far, the epiphany seems to have been masked by the team's reluctance to do anything to prepare the roster to the team for what happens next. If there was an advanced alarm system, there is no evidence that the team took steps to saturate the defensive line with players.

In fact, the team talked about addressing the pass rush throughout the off-season, and yet the team is in a much more precarious position than they ended the 2023 NFL season at.