‘Who’s this 99 guy on the Rams?’ Urban Meyer, meet Aaron Donald
Aaron Donald is pretty good.
Chances are you’ve heard of him.
Three-time NFL defensive player of the year.
Eight-time Pro Bowler in eight NFL seasons.
Even before the Rams defensive lineman became a Super Bowl champion last month, anyone who even remotely follows the NFL would have known his name.
Except maybe Urban Meyer.
According to an in-depth look at Meyer’s disastrous stint as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars by the Athletic’s Jayson Jenks and Mike Sando, the former college football coaching great claimed to have spent six months extensively researching the NFL before landing his first coaching gig in the league in January 2021.
Aaron Donald has been the most dominant defender in the NFL for years, but the Rams star wanted a championship and came up with big plays to help win one.
But he was somehow unfamiliar with Donald, who weeks later would be named the defensive player of the year for the just-completed 2020 season ... as he had in 2018. And 2017.
“Who’s this 99 guy on the Rams? I’m hearing he might be a problem for us,” Meyer said last season, according to one of Jenks and Sando’s sources.
Donald went on to register one sack, two quarterback hits and five tackles, including one solo, during the Rams’ 37-7 win over Jacksonville on Dec. 5.
The article mentions that “multiple sources said Meyer was unfamiliar with star players around the league” and lists San 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel and Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams as further examples.
Of course, Meyer had much bigger problems in Jacksonville, which are illustrated in great detail by Jenks and Sando. He was fired in December, after only 13 games and two wins.
“The most toxic environment I’ve ever been a part of,” a veteran member of the football operations staff told the Athletic. “By far. Not even close.”
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