Matthew Stafford names one aspect of Aaron Donald’s game that isn’t recognized enough

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Cameron DaSilva
·2 min read
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Aaron Donald has unquestionably been the best defensive player in the NFL for the last several years, having won Defensive Player of the Year three times since 2017. By now, every football fan knows his name and how dominant he is as an interior pass rusher.

Matthew Stafford is thankful to now be on Donald’s team after facing him three times before and getting sacked six times in those matchups. Stafford has watched Donald from afar and respected his greatness, marveling at his speed and power since Donald was drafted in 2014.

But there’s an aspect of Donald’s game that doesn’t get talked about enough, Stafford says. It’s his awareness and ability to recognize blocks that sets him apart from the rest.

“I think his physical traits jump off the screen to you. That’s obvious,” Stafford said in an interview on TheRams.com. “To see his ability to slash and get in between, block, defeat, one, two, three guys, whoever’s blocking him. That stuff is a bit obvious. But you know, his mental aptitude for the game is off the charts and something that I don’t know is talked about enough. He’s the guy that recognizes blocks as quickly as anybody I’ve ever seen. I’m excited to get to have him on my team and be in a red jersey when I play him in practice and not live.”

Splitting double-teams has become a necessity in Donald’s game because of how often teams send two or three blockers his way. He executed that to perfection against Stafford and the Lions back in 2018, busting through and forcing a fumble against.

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Stafford won’t have to worry about being sacked by Donald anymore so long as they’re on the same team, which is a feeling every quarterback would love.