Here's how the Detroit Lions plan to stop Los Angeles Rams pass-rusher Aaron Donald

He is the very best protective gamer in football —- still. Maybe the very best gamer, duration.

And the Detroit Lions are aware of how difficult it will be to stop him.

“Aaron Donald, they just move him to so many different places,” Lions offending planner Anthony Lynn stated Thursday. “He is not a stationary target, so our protection system is going to have to be very sound this week, and we cannot let him wreck the game, because he can wreck the game.”

Lynn said the Lions’ protection plans for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams start with double-teaming Donald, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year who is on pace for his fifth straight double-digit sack season.

Former Lions GM Martin Mayhew said the team would have beat the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs had he drafted Aaron Donald instead of Eric Ebron.

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“There’s going to come long times when we are going to be individually with him and we’ve got to do the job,” Lynn said. “But you wish to put 4 hands on him as much as possible.”

Donald has actually controlled the NFL given that going into the league as the 13th choice of the 2014 draft, notoriously going 3 areas after the Lions took tight end Eric Ebron.

Donald won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, was an All-Pro by his 2nd season and was acknowledged as the league’s finest protective gamer for the very first time in 2017.

He has a non-stop motor and has fun with excellent utilize since of his size (6 feet 1), however his previous protective linemate with the Rams, Michael Brockers, stated that does not start to describe Donald’s success.

“He’s transitioned my career, just watching a guy like that,” Brockers stated. “(To) have all the accolades he has and to still work like he’s an undrafted free agent. He still has to work like he has no accolades, he’s a nobody. He works so hard. He’s in the film room more than anybody I know, he’s in the weight room more than anybody I know. And to see that and then to have that drive, cause that drives me now. It’s still, every day I’m like, ‘Oh, man, A.D. would be getting extra reps here.’ … And that drives me and some of the young guys see that from me and they want to do it.”

Evan Brown, who will make his 3rd straight start at center Sunday, called Donald “clearly the best defensive lineman in our league right now and probably, in my opinion, the best player in our league.”

Lynn, who was familiar with Donald the previous couple of years when both remained in Los Angeles, concurs.

“He does some of the things that are very unsound for a defensive lineman, but he makes plays doing it,” stated Lynn, the previous head coach of the L.A. Chargers. “So he catches you off guard, an element of surprise with some of his stuff. But he just – and he wants to be the best in the league. I got a chance to know him a little bit being in L.A. with him. He’s just an unbelievable human being and he wants to be the best in the league. And right now, I believe he is.”

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Briefly

Tight end T.J. Hockenson (knee), fullback Jason Cabinda (hip) and defensive end Nick Williams (knee) returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis. Taylor Decker (finger) missed his third consecutive practice dating back to last week.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions determined to stop Aaron Donald: ‘He can wreck the game’



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