Aaron Donald is one of the NFL’s most imposing defensive players, tossing 300-pound offensive linemen around like rag dolls on a regular basis.
For a 49ers offensive line that already has struggled mightily through five weeks, Donald and his NFL-leading 7.5 sacks present an immense challenge.
NBC Sports Bay Area NFL analyst Ian Williams, a former NFL defensive lineman himself, believes there isn’t much Trent Williams, Mike McGlinchey and the rest of the 49ers’ O-line can do to pass-protect against such a dominant unit.
“Just forfeit the game, just try to look on to the following week,” Williams said Sunday on “49ers Postgame Live” last weekend. “I’m telling you, they’re going to turn this film on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and they’re gonna see the 49ers played this bad against the Eagles, and then played this bad against the Miami Dolphins.
“ ‘We’re gonna isolate Daniel Brunskill, we’re gonna bring eight, nine guys into the box, we’re going to move them all around, we’re gonna stack linebackers in the A-gaps and move them out, we’re going to do a lot of things to confuse that offensive line and confuse whoever the quarterback is going to be back there for the 49ers. We’re going to make it very difficult for them, and you know what, you guys may have won the NFC West last year, but it’s our year this year.’ "
Williams, of course, was joking about the team actually laying down and forfeiting, but Donald and the Rams clearly will be the offensive line’s toughest challenge so far this season. And after last week's debacle against the Dolphins -- where the 49ers O-line had another rough game -- there was little reason for optimism going against the vaunted Rams.
However, the 49ers had a strong week of practice and feel like they've fixed a few issues heading into Sunday's matchup against their division rivals.
The 49ers will be ready for everything Donald will throw at them. If not, Jimmy Garoppolo could be running around quite a bit on “Sunday Night Football.”