In the two seasons that Aaron Donald and Wade Phillips have been together on the Los Angeles Rams, the former has been awarded NFL Defensive Player of the Year both times.
Despite being revered as one of the most well-respected coaches in the NFL, even Phillips continues to be in awe of the dominance Donald has displayed since his arrival. There is no question he has seen his fair share of legendary players throughout his 40-plus years of coaching in the league, however, it appears the Rams’ star has started to stick out.
Donald was recently voted on by his peers as No. 1 on the NFL’s Top 100 Players going into the 2019 NFL season. It is safe to say that Phillips wholeheartedly agrees with that notion.
He even suggested that a vote done by the coaches would have led to the same result, via the team’s official website:
“I think the neatest thing is his peers rating him the best player in the league. I think that shows you. I think the coaches all vote the same way. Certainly, I would.”
Phillips also touched on how Donald tends to make the difficult plays look easy:
“He made some plays where he’s standing — they’re handing off the ball in the backfield and he’s standing right in front of the guy and there’s two guys supposed to block him.”
Phillips’ praise is certainly indicative of the strong impression Donald has made on him through their first two seasons together. The onus is now on both of them to keep the defense going for years to come.
The veteran coach had even suggested in his comments that Donald still has room to improve. The prospect of the reigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year getting even better is a scary thought for the rest of the league considering he just finished the 2018 campaign two sacks shy of the NFL’s single-season record.
Regardless, it is certainly not too far-fetched considering Donald’s training videos have become the stuff of legend in recent years. Pair that with the team’s efforts to surround him with a stronger supporting cast up front which could result in more one-on-one matchups for him moving forward.
There is no question that it will be difficult for the five-time Pro Bowler and four-time First-Team All-Pro to continue to top his performances each season, however, he is perhaps one of the few players in league history capable of doing so.