Rams’ Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey earn Pro Bowl selections
Donald and Ramsey are cornerstones for a Rams team that is 9-5 and coming off a defeat by the previously winless New York Jets. The Rams play the Seattle Seahawks (10-4) on Sunday in an NFC West showdown in Seattle.
Because of COVID-19, the annual Pro Bowl exhibition will not be played in late January. But the recognition from players, coaches and fans is a stamp of approval to which Donald and Ramsey have become accustomed.
“To have one of the great pass rushers in the history of the game on the inside of your defense, where he can impact so many plays, every snap, that’s something that’s a winning edge, it’s a winning formula,” Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley said last week. “Then for Jalen ... You can count on your hand, maybe the list of true matchup corners in the league in the last 20 years. …. To have those two together, they like playing together. They have so much respect for one another.
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“When you’re as good as they are, it’s rare that they kind of look at you and say, ‘Yeah, you know, you’re pretty good too.’ Those two guys, I think, see each other that way. It’s awesome to see them work together.”
Donald, the 13th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, was voted to the Pro Bowl for the seventh time in seven pro seasons.
The two-time NFL defensive player of the year has 12½ sacks, which ties him with New Orleans Saints end Trey Hendrickson for the league lead.
Donald, 29, is in the second year of a six-year, $135-million extension he signed before the 2018 season.
“Whether A.D. knows it or not he encourages and he pushes me every day just by watching how he works and how he goes about his business,” Ramsey told reporters recently.
Ramsey was voted to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in five NFL seasons.
The Rams acquired Ramsey, 26, in an October 2019 trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Staley, in his first season with the Rams, has deployed Ramsey from various spots for a defense that has given up a league-low 15 touchdown passes.
Ramsey has only one interception but his ability to shut down one side of the field has created opportunities for cornerback Darious Williams and Troy Hill, who have four and two interceptions, respectively.
Ramsey, like Donald, is part of the Rams’ long-range plan. Before this season, he signed a five-year, $105-million contract that made him the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history.
Kevin Greene, who played for the Rams, Steelers, 49ers and Panthers during his Hall of Fame NFL career, died Monday at the age of 58.
“When he first got here last year, me and [defensive lineman Michael Brockers] were watching him, how technique-sound he was doing the walk-throughs, how focused he was and things like that,” Donald said. “It was just crazy to watch that.
“So, to see how he practiced, the way he prepared, the knowledge he got for the game and he translates that to the football field in the way he is able to dominate. We’re definitely happy to have a guy like that on our team to help us.”
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