Rams News: Aaron Donald and Bears’ Khalil Mack Share Mutual Respect
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles is the city of stars and for the Los Angeles Rams, no star has shined brighter than Aaron Donald. The defensive has become one of the most prolific players in NFL history and earned some well-deserved attention along the way.

That attention has manifested itself into two consecutive NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards for Donald. On Sunday, he will take on the last winner of the award in Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack.

Mack won the award in 2016 as a member of the Oakland Raiders. During the 2018 offseason he was traded to the Bears, who are fighting for a playoff spot in the NFC just as the Rams are.

Donald, being one of the NFL’s great defensive players, is quick to recognize another great and understands that Mack fits the bill. Donald complimented the opposing linebacker and cautioned the Rams to gameplan for him earlier this week, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:

“He’s just a playmaker,” Donald said. “He dominate. If you don’t got a gameplan for him, he can take over a game. He been like that for the last couple years. We’ve got to try to find a way to slow him down, different type of ways, different gameplans, because if you don’t, it will be a long day.”

Mack is once again having quite the season, recording 30 solo tackles, 5.5 sacks and eight quarterback hits through nine games. The Bears defense has been impeccable since the addition Mack, this year allowing the ninth-fewest yards and fourth-fewest points by opposing teams.

Donald is right that the Rams will have to be prepared for Mack to wreak havoc. Of course, Donald will not be able to do anything as he will be doing his best to wreak havoc on the other end.

Mack knows that Donald is more than capable of that, and offered some compliments of his own for a fellow defensive star:

“Everything, man, everything,” said Mack, when asked what he appreciates about Donald as a pass-rusher. “Speed, power, everything that guy does, he does it at a high level, and it’s impressive to watch.”

Donald is having a solid season himself, leading the Rams defense to the allow only the 10th-fewest opponent yards and 12th-fewest opponent points. Donald has recorded 21 solo tackles, six sacks and 12 quarterback hits in his nine games. Although great stats, many expected Donald to put up another 20 sack season. Considering he is seeing double or triple teams on nearly every snap, it will hard to blame him should he fall short.

The mutual respect between the two star defenders is a pleasant surprise considering how competitive both players are. Both play at a special level that many other pros just cannot match, which should make for an exciting matchup this Sunday in Los Angeles.