Why Aaron Donald is the greatest interior defensive lineman of all time | Baldy's Breakdowns

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RamBill
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Why Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the greatest interior defensive lineman of all time | Baldy's Breakdowns

NFL Highlights•

NFL Network's Brian Baldinger breaks down why Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the greatest interior defensive lineman of all time.

https://sports.yahoo.com/why-los-angele ... 47908.html



Claremontram
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Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:02 am

Very nice summary of AD's game.



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69RamFan
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Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:25 pm

I love me some Baldy,,,,,

When it comes down to being in the trenches,,, he is the expert....

This is one man I listen too, as I always post his stuff on here...



Rammer
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Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:11 am

I agree about Baldy. He is usually right on target. I just wonder about the position itself. Whether it warrants such a huge investment. I am not debating whether the Rams should have signed AD. You have that kind of talent, you have to keep him.Not keeping him would have sent the wrong message to the team and the fan base.

Still, I question whether having the best interior lineman of all time on your roster is really worth the price you pay. I am just thinking out loud that maybe it's not worth the resources and cap space that you don't have to spread around elsewhere. Would the defense be better off with say a better than average guy in the middle with better than average linebackers to go along with it? I think we can say the big money is worth it for QB, maybe awesome WR, best left tackle ever but interior lineman? I just don't know. I hve to admit I like having him playoff time in the fourth quarter but I need to see it help more consistently.
Last edited by Rammer on Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:06 am

^^^^^^^
I believe there's certain key position you have to pay....

As for a DT getting paid, normally we are not used to seeing someone like AD getting paid that amount.....

But he is one of a life time type of player....
By far he is the best defensive lineman in the league....

When you get a player of his caliber, then you have to put role players around him with lower pay contracts....

You have certain key players on a team starting with a QB, then LT, RB, WR on Offensive where you would pay some big bucks, then on Defense, DE, MLB, CB.... IMO

AD is that DE/DT

Like any other great sport teams, you will have a super start to carrier those teams... and if you can have more superstars the better....

The key is drafting excellent young players on their initial contracts to play around those big contracts...

Plus we lucked out with vets in Matthews and Weddle taking cheap contracts, cause they see a chance of getting a ring with the players we have...



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Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:22 pm

The greatest ever?? Well, back in the days on the PD board I thought Tampa would take him at 7 but I otherwise had the Rams taking him as a surprise pick with their 2nd #1 which I think was 12 or 13?? I had them actually had them taking Zach Martin, with Donald being the surprise pick. I thought Jake Matthews would be the first pick... Ahem... Robinson... Anyhow, The biggest draft pundits that year had Donald as a late 1st (size). I thought no flippn way that guy lasts anywhere near that. To me at the time Donald WAS Warren Sapp all over again. And with Lovie the coach, no way Donald gets by Tampa. He did... the rest is history...

To be the best ever though A.D. has to learn to play with better gap integrity. A.D. was actually a key problem the Rams D had against the run during the regular season because he would just go all out to get into the backfield, but when he doesnt win he left a huge hole the Ram undersized LB's couldnt always cover. In the playoffs we saw A.D. play much more disciplined and no one could run on them. That turned the Ram defense into the unit we thought we would see during the entire regular season. Right now, top 5 best ever no doubt. To be the best ever IMO it's what I said above. He does that and still get 11-13 sacks. Best ever indeed.



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Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:40 am

CierraRam wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:22 pm
The greatest ever?? Well, back in the days on the PD board I thought Tampa would take him at 7 but I otherwise had the Rams taking him as a surprise pick with their 2nd #1 which I think was 12 or 13?? I had them actually had them taking Zach Martin, with Donald being the surprise pick. I thought Jake Matthews would be the first pick... Ahem... Robinson... Anyhow, The biggest draft pundits that year had Donald as a late 1st (size). I thought no flippn way that guy lasts anywhere near that. To me at the time Donald WAS Warren Sapp all over again. And with Lovie the coach, no way Donald gets by Tampa. He did... the rest is history...

To be the best ever though A.D. has to learn to play with better gap integrity. A.D. was actually a key problem the Rams D had against the run during the regular season because he would just go all out to get into the backfield, but when he doesnt win he left a huge hole the Ram undersized LB's couldnt always cover. In the playoffs we saw A.D. play much more disciplined and no one could run on them. That turned the Ram defense into the unit we thought we would see during the entire regular season. Right now, top 5 best ever no doubt. To be the best ever IMO it's what I said above. He does that and still get 11-13 sacks. Best ever indeed.
This matches what I think exactly.



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Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:10 am

How much do top DEs make they are a very coveted position AD is a DT and DE getting 20.5 sacks makes him worthy of a top DE so what's the difference. Throw in the fact that he makes it miserable for QBs up the middle and disrupting their timing or sacking them is huge. We value the glamorous QBs, WR, DE we forget the value of Data and like said in ADs case a DT/DE.



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zackn
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Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:33 am

AD obviously played well the last 2 years, and that's after hold outs, without the benefit of OTAs or training camp. He started slow both years. Imagine him not starting slow, but being up to speed in game 1.

Plus the new DL coach who is specifically working on technique issues. AD himself said coach Henderson sat him down and went through film and told him the things he can clean up. So that's one of the benefits of being in OTAs and camp.

And of course, AD is also there as they adjust the defense and develop new defensive strategies and integrate new starters for 2019. He is in on that from the get-go, instead of having to pick it all up after the season starts.

So I would be surprised if this wasn't his best year yet.



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Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:56 am

CierraRam wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:22 pm
The greatest ever?? Well, back in the days on the PD board I thought Tampa would take him at 7 but I otherwise had the Rams taking him as a surprise pick with their 2nd #1 which I think was 12 or 13?? I had them actually had them taking Zach Martin, with Donald being the surprise pick. I thought Jake Matthews would be the first pick... Ahem... Robinson... Anyhow, The biggest draft pundits that year had Donald as a late 1st (size). I thought no flippn way that guy lasts anywhere near that. To me at the time Donald WAS Warren Sapp all over again. And with Lovie the coach, no way Donald gets by Tampa. He did... the rest is history...

To be the best ever though A.D. has to learn to play with better gap integrity. A.D. was actually a key problem the Rams D had against the run during the regular season because he would just go all out to get into the backfield, but when he doesnt win he left a huge hole the Ram undersized LB's couldnt always cover. In the playoffs we saw A.D. play much more disciplined and no one could run on them. That turned the Ram defense into the unit we thought we would see during the entire regular season. Right now, top 5 best ever no doubt. To be the best ever IMO it's what I said above. He does that and still get 11-13 sacks. Best ever indeed.
I kind of disagree on the statement I highlighted.....

Cause 90% of the time AD is getting double teamed.

It was Suh who was lagging during the season and not playing all out to his strengths, especially only being single covered....

But he turned it up during the playoffs,,,, This is what I was expecting from Suh to do during the regular season.

To make it work for AD in what he was doing, I was expecting Suh to keep sound as a NT and close up the middle against the run....

At the same time,,, for saying that AD was keeping more gap sound in the playoffs... I say that wasn't the case,,, cause he still had 5 QB hits, and I believe he had a sack taken away from him and he had 3 TFL in three playoff games... All this was happening while being double teamed.

It was more about Suh stepping up and doing what he had to do as a NT.... IMO



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Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:00 pm

CierraRam wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:22 pm
The greatest ever?? Well, back in the days on the PD board I thought Tampa would take him at 7 but I otherwise had the Rams taking him as a surprise pick with their 2nd #1 which I think was 12 or 13?? I had them actually had them taking Zach Martin, with Donald being the surprise pick. I thought Jake Matthews would be the first pick... Ahem... Robinson... Anyhow, The biggest draft pundits that year had Donald as a late 1st (size). I thought no flippn way that guy lasts anywhere near that. To me at the time Donald WAS Warren Sapp all over again. And with Lovie the coach, no way Donald gets by Tampa. He did... the rest is history...

To be the best ever though A.D. has to learn to play with better gap integrity. A.D. was actually a key problem the Rams D had against the run during the regular season because he would just go all out to get into the backfield, but when he doesnt win he left a huge hole the Ram undersized LB's couldnt always cover. In the playoffs we saw A.D. play much more disciplined and no one could run on them. That turned the Ram defense into the unit we thought we would see during the entire regular season. Right now, top 5 best ever no doubt. To be the best ever IMO it's what I said above. He does that and still get 11-13 sacks. Best ever indeed.
I agree to some extent he still can diagnose plays better and play them with the right technique. But I prefer he keep that same explosiveness into the backfield that he's displayed and Phillips figures out a way to use the NT/LBs to close those gaps. Donald was getting double teamed a lot and would still get great penetration through the line, I think Suh is the one who dropped the ball in the gap filling responsibilities (at least during the regular season). Here's to hoping that Gaines is the piece we needed on early run downs. I'd take 20.5 sacks over 11-13 from AD 🤷‍♂️



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zackn
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Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:38 pm

malibu wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:10 am
How much do top DEs make they are a very coveted position AD is a DT and DE getting 20.5 sacks makes him worthy of a top DE so what's the difference. Throw in the fact that he makes it miserable for QBs up the middle and disrupting their timing or sacking them is huge. We value the glamorous QBs, WR, DE we forget the value of Data and like said in ADs case a DT/DE.
There's some details behind this. When AD came up for his 2nd contract, the Rams (and the informed sectors of the press) did not talk about him as getting paid either as a DT, or in comparison to DEs. They used a completely different, unofficial but real category which is called "top defender." Other guys who got that designation were Von Miller and Mack, and before them, Watt. I think the thinking is, Mack is more than just a linebacker, he transcends that in his value, and AD is more than just a DT. That was a very real thing that came up constantly when he was negotiating, and the Rams used that language in talking about AD and what he was worth both in contract terms and as a player.

I agree with you about his value to the team. I see it like this. None of this is profoundly new...just puttin it down in black n white. A top DT draws attention because an offense can't let someone who starts that close to the ball disrupt plays. By drawing attention he improves his whole defense overall. Someone somewhere else on the D will have a better opportunity. An ELITE DT draws that kind of attention, AND makes plays on top of it. An elite DT is a good thing to build a defense around. So AD was double-teamed last year more than any other defender in the league, but also led the league in qb pressures. That kind of thing will always give the D a huge advantage. IMO they just need to upgrade the pieces around him (NT, LB).

I mean I don't know about "best ever" but I like that Baldinger said it.

Elite DTs are actually more rare than elite qbs.

...
...



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69RamFan wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:56 am
CierraRam wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:22 pm
The greatest ever?? Well, back in the days on the PD board I thought Tampa would take him at 7 but I otherwise had the Rams taking him as a surprise pick with their 2nd #1 which I think was 12 or 13?? I had them actually had them taking Zach Martin, with Donald being the surprise pick. I thought Jake Matthews would be the first pick... Ahem... Robinson... Anyhow, The biggest draft pundits that year had Donald as a late 1st (size). I thought no flippn way that guy lasts anywhere near that. To me at the time Donald WAS Warren Sapp all over again. And with Lovie the coach, no way Donald gets by Tampa. He did... the rest is history...

To be the best ever though A.D. has to learn to play with better gap integrity. A.D. was actually a key problem the Rams D had against the run during the regular season because he would just go all out to get into the backfield, but when he doesnt win he left a huge hole the Ram undersized LB's couldnt always cover. In the playoffs we saw A.D. play much more disciplined and no one could run on them. That turned the Ram defense into the unit we thought we would see during the entire regular season. Right now, top 5 best ever no doubt. To be the best ever IMO it's what I said above. He does that and still get 11-13 sacks. Best ever indeed.
I kind of disagree on the statement I highlighted.....

Cause 90% of the time AD is getting double teamed.

It was Suh who was lagging during the season and not playing all out to his strengths, especially only being single covered....

But he turned it up during the playoffs,,,, This is what I was expecting from Suh to do during the regular season.

To make it work for AD in what he was doing, I was expecting Suh to keep sound as a NT and close up the middle against the run....

At the same time,,, for saying that AD was keeping more gap sound in the playoffs... I say that wasn't the case,,, cause he still had 5 QB hits, and I believe he had a sack taken away from him and he had 3 TFL in three playoff games... All this was happening while being double teamed.

It was more about Suh stepping up and doing what he had to do as a NT.... IMO
I get the kinda disagree part of what you're saying. The fact is Donald kept shooting gaps regardless of what the MEH Suh was doing or not doing. MEH Suh wasnt beating his single blocks on Donald double teams. Donald splits said double team often to late. Meanwhile there go's the running back shooting through the Donald hole for 25. Playoff's. Suh is now motivated. Donald is using straight up technique, playing a lot more gap sound and is still highly disruptive. Now opponents cant run the ball. It changed everything front to back for the Ram defense....

Moreso I think it was the run defense problem that exposed MArcus Peter's in the pass defense as well. Peter's is a diagnose and react zone guy. When you have 2nd and 3, 3rd and 2 all of the time the opponents passing game playbook is wide open. Zone doesnt work against that. Peter's has to play man. Exposed. Most of us felt like the return of Talib turned Peters around. Sorta, yeah. But again, yeah... in the playoffs especially, opponents had a lot more 3rd an longs. Peter's was much more effective. Not a coincidence.



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zackn wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:33 am
AD obviously played well the last 2 years, and that's after hold outs, without the benefit of OTAs or training camp. He started slow both years. Imagine him not starting slow, but being up to speed in game 1.

Plus the new DL coach who is specifically working on technique issues. AD himself said coach Henderson sat him down and went through film and told him the things he can clean up. So that's one of the benefits of being in OTAs and camp.

And of course, AD is also there as they adjust the defense and develop new defensive strategies and integrate new starters for 2019. He is in on that from the get-go, instead of having to pick it all up after the season starts.

So I would be surprised if this wasn't his best year yet.
Zach, First off, glad you are here. I always enjoyed your post among the chaos over there on the PD board. Except for a few, this is much better forum.

Donald's best year IF the edge rush problem is solved so that he doesnt feel like he has to win at all cost. Last season I think that is where a lot of gap integrity issue's came from in his play. 20 sacks is a record for a DT. That's wonderful. However I still prefer 13 sacks and opponents constantly facing 3rd and 5 plus.



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Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:26 am

Rammer wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:40 am
CierraRam wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:22 pm
The greatest ever?? Well, back in the days on the PD board I thought Tampa would take him at 7 but I otherwise had the Rams taking him as a surprise pick with their 2nd #1 which I think was 12 or 13?? I had them actually had them taking Zach Martin, with Donald being the surprise pick. I thought Jake Matthews would be the first pick... Ahem... Robinson... Anyhow, The biggest draft pundits that year had Donald as a late 1st (size). I thought no flippn way that guy lasts anywhere near that. To me at the time Donald WAS Warren Sapp all over again. And with Lovie the coach, no way Donald gets by Tampa. He did... the rest is history...

To be the best ever though A.D. has to learn to play with better gap integrity. A.D. was actually a key problem the Rams D had against the run during the regular season because he would just go all out to get into the backfield, but when he doesnt win he left a huge hole the Ram undersized LB's couldnt always cover. In the playoffs we saw A.D. play much more disciplined and no one could run on them. That turned the Ram defense into the unit we thought we would see during the entire regular season. Right now, top 5 best ever no doubt. To be the best ever IMO it's what I said above. He does that and still get 11-13 sacks. Best ever indeed.
This matches what I think exactly.
Thank you! I think he felt like he had to win all of the time. No edge rush and MEH Suh. Big difference in the playoff's after Suh decided to play all out.



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RamFan562 wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:00 pm
CierraRam wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:22 pm
The greatest ever?? Well, back in the days on the PD board I thought Tampa would take him at 7 but I otherwise had the Rams taking him as a surprise pick with their 2nd #1 which I think was 12 or 13?? I had them actually had them taking Zach Martin, with Donald being the surprise pick. I thought Jake Matthews would be the first pick... Ahem... Robinson... Anyhow, The biggest draft pundits that year had Donald as a late 1st (size). I thought no flippn way that guy lasts anywhere near that. To me at the time Donald WAS Warren Sapp all over again. And with Lovie the coach, no way Donald gets by Tampa. He did... the rest is history...

To be the best ever though A.D. has to learn to play with better gap integrity. A.D. was actually a key problem the Rams D had against the run during the regular season because he would just go all out to get into the backfield, but when he doesnt win he left a huge hole the Ram undersized LB's couldnt always cover. In the playoffs we saw A.D. play much more disciplined and no one could run on them. That turned the Ram defense into the unit we thought we would see during the entire regular season. Right now, top 5 best ever no doubt. To be the best ever IMO it's what I said above. He does that and still get 11-13 sacks. Best ever indeed.
I agree to some extent he still can diagnose plays better and play them with the right technique. But I prefer he keep that same explosiveness into the backfield that he's displayed and Phillips figures out a way to use the NT/LBs to close those gaps. Donald was getting double teamed a lot and would still get great penetration through the line, I think Suh is the one who dropped the ball in the gap filling responsibilities (at least during the regular season). Here's to hoping that Gaines is the piece we needed on early run downs. I'd take 20.5 sacks over 11-13 from AD 🤷‍♂️
Well, we all would on the sacks. 20+ sacks is a record for a DT that will never be broken. Not even by A.D. That said... As 69 pointed out, in the playoffs Donald still was disruptive as he got 5 knockdowns. The difference is opponents couldnt run the ball. And that's a major difference front to back in the defense's playoff showing. Suddenly Peter's can play zone. They can blitz effectively. They did all sorts of things to disrupt because it's 3rd and 5 plus. Not 2nd and 3. All day long I will trade 20.5 sacks from A.D. in favor of the disruptive, gap sound one that's getting 11 to 13. It benefits what they do on the entire defense.



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zackn
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Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:30 am

CierraRam wrote:
Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:24 am

Zach, First off, glad you are here. I always enjoyed your post among the chaos over there on the PD board. Except for a few, this is much better forum.

Donald's best year IF the edge rush problem is solved so that he doesnt feel like he has to win at all cost. Last season I think that is where a lot of gap integrity issue's came from in his play. 20 sacks is a record for a DT. That's wonderful. However I still prefer 13 sacks and opponents constantly facing 3rd and 5 plus.
Glad to be here! And good to see you too. Yes this seems like a good board.

I mentioned coach Henderson and what he is doing for the Rams DL. I don't know if anyone posted about that here in a separate thread, but if not it's interesting what he brings.

Here is Farr on Henderson from a few weeks back (podcast: http://theramshuddle.com/topic/podcast- ... s-of-otas/my transcript):
Farr and Simmons have high praise for new DL coach Henderson, and in fact (according to them), so do the players. Farr goes on about all the drills Henderson is using in OTAs, and directly says that going through those drills, you cannot help but improve as a D-lineman. As a former D-lineman he had a lot of admiration for what he was seeing in OTAs.
In a separate discussion Donald talks about all the drills he is going through with Henderson and how they are helping him elevate his game. More on that below.

Henderson of course replaces Johnson. Johnson, before joining McVay and Wade with the Rams in 2017, coached for the Saints. (I know a lot of people know those facts but I am just making an effort to spell it all out in black n white.) To align with what the Rams DL player are saying about Henderson, here are some Saints fans on when the Saints replaced Johnson. The discussion comes from Saints fans noticing that the Rams just replaced Johnson too:
chameleonknight
Didn’t some of our players make comments to the effect that our new d line coach taught them far more than Johnson’s ever did?

fdl16
There was an Advocate article last year about how our guys never practiced pass rushing in practice under Johnson. The guys basically had to teach one another how to rush the passer at the NFL level.
Here is a New Orleans paper on the new hire (in 2017) of a DL coach to replace Johnson. What they say about that guy (Nielson) echoes what the Rams DL (and Farr) say about Henderson:
Nielsen has become well known for his “hands-on approach” to coaching and teaching players; which Erickson notes is the act of him personally and physically demonstrating technique, even if that means putting his hand in a 3-point stance and getting “down in the dirt” to show a player how to come off the ball and execute a move.
That “hands on approach” to teaching players was something that observers say wasn’t really embraced all that much previously by the former ‘old school’ D-Line coach Bill Johnson.
Johnson I guess was not a teacher, and Henderson is. The Rams coaches in general are known as teachers and it looks like Henderson fits in and Johnson didn’t.

This could mean the Rams DL (and maybe edge rushers too) are improved in 2019, including Donald. Donald is openly enthusiastic about Henderson. Here’s Donald on that:
…Donald has enjoyed the tutelage he’s received from new defensive line coach Eric Henderson — better known around the facility as “coach Henny.” And that’s because, just as Donald often says, Henderson feels like there’s a lot Donald can improve upon as a player.

“I’ve been loving coach ‘Henny,’ that’s one of the main parts why I want to be here — to work with the guys, and also work with him,” Donald said. “He’s working a lot of different drills that I feel like can help me get better, improve my game. He’s pushing me. Like I said, he broke down [film] on me, showed me things that I need to correct in my game.”
I really believe that new approach can have an effect. Donald missing camp the last couple of years meant missing things like technique work. Plus the Rams are in a position now where maybe some other DL players can step up. They like Joseph-Day, they have Gaines, Franklin-Myers, and Fox (though Fox looks to me like he will be more of a 4-3 style pass rushing DE in nickel and dime packages). Brockers also lagged last year but I think he was playing hurt much of the way---maybe he can step back up.

So maybe, we getter a better coached AD who is ready to find a next level, plus young players stepping up, plus Brockers returning to form. If all that clicks, it could be quite something, just in terms of DL play.

...



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