Ever since Sean McVay took over as the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, he has not had the luxury of having star defensive tackle Aaron Donald present during training camp.
Donald held out each of the last two seasons in search of a new contract, which he ended up getting just before the start of last season.
Now that he has that contract, there is no reason for Donald to hold out so McVay discussed how different it is going to be and the plan for him during training camp this year, via Myles Simmons of TheRams.com:
“Aaron’s such a great competitor, but then also he can ruin a practice if you’re trying to have some offensive production,” McVay said Tuesday morning before joking, “But Aaron better be there in training camp.”
“But we talk about those things all the time,” McVay continued. “We always monitor our players. But specific to a guy like Aaron, who pushes himself — I think it’ll be great to get that work earlier than what he’s gotten the last couple years. And he’s got a specific process that clearly has helped him.”
Training camp is not really something that Donald seems to mean considering he has been the NFL Defensive Player of the Year each of the last two seasons.
McVay added that Donald is unlikely to play in any preseason games but they are still going to find other ways to get him ready for the season:
“I think what he would tell you that’s been really unique just talking to Aaron is, you can’t truly mimic and emulate putting pads on, playing in a game-like setting,” McVay said. “And I think we will take a very similar approach to what we did in the preseason. So I think for us, it’s how can you find a way to create those competitive environments while minimizing the risk of injury. So I don’t think you’ll see him play in the preseason, but we’ll try to create those settings in practice and practice against some different teams that we play — like what we did with Baltimore. We’ll look to really take advantage of those situations as much as possible.”
Unlike many other teams, McVay typically doesn’t play any of his starters during the preseason to avoid any serious injuries before the games count for real.
That is expected to be the case once again in 2019 it seems.