The Baltimore Ravens will have to figure out a way to move the ball against the St. Louis Rams and their vaunted front four. The Rams front features four first round draft picks: Michael Brockers, Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald.
Donald is the most recent pick, but he is the also the most disruptive. He has already established himself as one of the best interior linemen in the NFL. Donald is consistently in the opposing team’s backfield. The penetration that he is able to get on the inside will make offensive coordinators devised a scheme to slow him down.
John Harbaugh pointed out how there are a lot of very talented interior defenders in the NFL now. He feels that the interior linemen overall are playing better than ever.
The Ravens have a very good defensive tackle of their own in Brandon Williams. Rams head coach Jeff Fisher will be charged with figuring out how to deal with Williams. Fisher sees a similarity for between Donald and Williams and said the two can be defended with a similar game plan.
“Offenses are going to game-plan against players like that. If you know where he’s going to be, then you’ve got to [use] double-teams. You’ve got to make sure that he doesn’t get into one-on-one situations, because he’s typically going to win;” Fisher said. “Aaron [Donald] is special for us just because of what he’s doing on the other side of the line of scrimmage – the tackles for loss, the sacks, the pursuit and how he’s dictating what offenses are doing. And we have to continue to try to stay ahead and move him around so we don’t create that situation where he’s eliminated from our scheme.”
Donald is truly dictating what offenses are doing. That may not be a very good sign for the Ravens because of the way Marc Trestman has neglected the running game.
Justin Forsett stressed the importance of being patient with the zone principles. He said that the running backs have to be decisive when they look to shift running lanes. That is especially the case against a guy such as Donald that has such an explosive first step and gets off of the ball so quickly.
Forsett joined in on the on the praise being heaped upon the guys up front for the Rams. “Their front four is one of the best in the league, probably the best we’ve faced this year,” Forsett said. “We’ve just got to be extra patient. We’ve got to be able to stick with it, keep chopping, and hopefully, we’ll get some big runs in.”
There are some other players on the front seven that draw interest. Harbaugh brought attention to them as well.
“Aaron Donald, he’ a guy … [Michael] Brockers is inside. They’re different types of players, but they’re both dominant players inside. [James] Laurinaitis – in the middle – has been around forever,” Harbaugh said. “He’s another first-round pick. [Robert] Quinn on the edge out there – if he plays – is a pass rusher. But the two young backup pass rushers who are playing, they’re really good players, too. They’re tough, high-motor guys with a lot of length and heavy hands, so they do a good job. It’s a penetrating, four-three-attacking, typical-Tennessee, Jeff Fisher-Gregg Williams, Saints-type system that we’ve seen over the years. That’s what we’re preparing for.”
The Ravens offensive line will have a job to do when the Ravens faced the Rams. John Urschel is one of the Ravens offensive linemen that will see the most of Aaron Donald this week. Urschel need to control the line of scrimmage against one of the best