Aaron Donald can’t stop smiling about Rams’ prospects with addition of Von Miller

Recently acquired Rams outside linebacker Von Miller (40) mingles with his new teammates.
Recently acquired Rams outside linebacker Von Miller (40) mingles with his new teammates.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

The Rams traded for outside linebacker Von Miller three days before, but star defensive lineman Aaron Donald obviously was still feeling the initial effects Thursday.

“I ain’t stopped smiling yet,” he said, grinning broadly and chuckling, after practice.

Donald is a three-time NFL defensive player of the year. The six-time All-Pro has done just fine in his seven-plus NFL seasons, amassing 90½ sacks, including five this season.

But no Rams player might benefit more from the arrival of Miller, an eight-time Pro Bowl player who has 110½ sacks.


As with Donald, Miller has been subject to double- and triple-team blocking schemes from opponents since the Denver Broncos selected him with the second pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

“It’s going to be hard for teams to try and focus on one person because you have so many good players.”

— Aaron Donald, on Rams’ addition of Von Miller

Now, with Donald, Miller and edge rusher Leonard Floyd threatening quarterbacks, assigning multiple blockers to more than one will create advantageous opportunity for the others.

“I’ve been getting triple teamed for the last 10 years,” Miller said. “That’s six people right there. And we still got Leonard Floyd and all the other guys.

New Rams linebacker Von Miller says it is strange to be in a different color uniform, but it also feels like a movie that could have a happy ending.

“So, it’s going to be fun.“

Donald agreed.

“It’s going to be hard for teams to try and focus on one person because you have so many good players,” he said. “It should be fun.”

For the Rams offense as well.

“The first thing is, it makes you want to get up off the bench and watch the defense a little more,” receiver Cooper Kupp said. “As an offense, it’s just incredible to have those kinds of players on the other side of the ball going out there.

Being acquired by the Rams has brought a smile to outside linebacker Von Miller.
Von Miller isn’t the only Ram smiling about the prospects of the defense with the eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker added to the mix.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

“The complementary football that we should be able to play off each other, it’s exciting .”

Miller’s status for the Sunday night game against the Tennessee Titans at SoFi Stadium will be determined in the next few days. Miller is recovering from an ankle injury, and was listed as limited at practice on the Thursday injury report. But during the portion of practice that was open to reporters, Miller went through all drills, seemingly without a setback.

Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris was the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011, when Miller entered the NFL draft after playing four seasons at Texas A&M.

The Buccaneers, with the 20th pick, played a 4-3 defense at the time so some Buccaneers executives did not see Von Miller as a perfect fit for the scheme, Morris said.

The Rams didn’t need to complete many transactions at the trade deadline Tuesday. Their heavy lifting has already taken place.

“I said, ‘Change the scheme,’ ” Morris said, laughing. “And I meant it. I feel no differently about what he’ll be able to do for us.”

Miller “makes plays come to life,” Morris said.

“He’s one of those great players in this league that you can move just about anywhere,” Morris said. “You can do whatever you want to do with him.”

Miller is in the “fit-in” mode with the Rams, and will progress to becoming comfortable in the Rams’ base defense, Morris said.

The Times’ Sam Farmer analyzes each matchup and predicts the winners of Week 9 of the 2021 NFL season.

“And then you go play with those toys,” Morris said. “You don’t leave them in that package that you got ‘em in.”

Donald appeared as if he could not wait.

“It looks real good on paper,” he said, “but we still have to go out there and make it happen.”


Quarterback Matthew Stafford (back) did not practice for a second consecutive day. Receiver Robert Woods (foot) also sat out for the second day in a row. Both are expected to play Sunday. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey (knee), offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth (knee) and defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day were limited, according to the injury report. After sitting out for rest Wednesday, Kupp was a full participant in practice. Kupp was named NFC offensive player of the month for the second time. ... Rookie defensive lineman Bobby Brown III practiced after being absent Wednesday for personal reasons.