Rams' DT Aaron Donald Quotes 8.5.20
COURTESY OF LOS ANGELES RAMS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(On his feeling to be back at the team facility) "It feels good. The last couple of months, all we've been doing at home is training and being in the house. So, just being able to be back around the guys and doing something different than what I've been doing. It's just good to be back in the football mood."
(On dealing with the COVID-19 protocols at the facility)
"It was a little different at first. But, you kind of get adapted to it. Once you're really here around the guys, you kind of block everything out and it's just back to football, honestly. You do what you've got to do. Once we get in meetings and back on the field doing drills, grinding together, doing walk-thrus and things like that, it really just becomes normal again in my eyes. That's how it feels towards me. I kind of forget about everything that's going on really and football's just football."
(On any concerns about staying safe while playing football in the pandemic)
"I think the setup is good, as far as what we have to go through – protocols and things like that right now. I think that's going to depend on guys doing what they need to do outside the facility. As long as everyone does what they've got to do, and they keep themselves away from large groups of people and things like that. It just takes one person to spread it and we all shut right back down. I think it's going to be tough, definitely. Football is a contact sport, up-close. We're slobbering, spitting and bleeding on each other. So, we need guys to do what they need to do so we can be able to do our part and play the game. If guys do it the right way – we'll be fine. If not, it probably won't happen."
(On any discussions had with teammates about COVID-19)
"Well, you've talked to guys. Guys know what they need to do. We're all grown men at the end of the day. For this thing to work, guys need to do it the right way. You can tell guys, and do whatever you need to do, to explain it to them, but at the end of the day, we are all grown men, and people are going to do what they want to do outside the facility and make their own decisions. You've got young guys, some guys aren't family men, sometimes they might be lonely at home, but as long as they keep themselves distanced from all of that close contact with a bunch of people, we'll be fine. I think they know what the risks are. If they don't do their part, we won't be having any football. Everybody wants to play ball and get back on the field, we've got to do it the right way."
(On his message to the team about staying in shape and getting mentally prepared throughout the offseason)
"Well, we’ve just got to adapt. Do their part to find ways to keep themselves ready. Now we're here at this point getting guys through a conditioning stage. They just have to work, push themselves. At the same time, being a leader, you want to set that example and show these guys the way it's supposed to be done the right way. As long as you’re grinding and putting that work in and you doing what you need to do, guys that's around you, they absorb that and try to follow your lead. So, you lead by example, you speak to guys, but at the same time, they understand that this is their job now. You have got to stay focused. We do on install, one, two, three, you have a different install every day. It's really not as hard as people think. So, as long as you stay focused and grind, you'll be fine. It's just ball."
(On how Defensive Coordinator Brandon Staley intends to use him this season)
"Yeah we talked. We've talked a lot. Before we even got here, he called me multiple times and talked to me about certain things he wants to do to try to put me in good positions. I got excited about it. Just being here, being able to walk-thru the defense and actually be on the grass, getting a little feel for how it's going be and how I can play in it and put my own swag and own style to it, so I can be successful in the defense. The first day, you’re out there, there’s different things that are kind of rocky, the next day you feel a lot more clean, a little bit more of an understanding of how I have to play things. Like I said, the same way, I can put my own little twist to it, but not do it to the point where I'm messing up the defense. Each day is going to keep getting better. We’ve got good things going in that's not just going to help me, but help a lot of guys around us. I'm definitely excited about it."
(On is he in the best shape than he's ever been)
"I'm in great shape. I feel amazing. All I did since the offseason was train. I really just trained, that's all I did and was at home with my family. I still have my guys, DeWayne Brown, with Two Tenths (Speed and Agility), I still was able to train with him – it was just, was more one-on-one things, but, we’d work on one field and if one field got shut down – we’d move to another field. That was different, but at the same time, I wasn't always at Pitt because Pitt was shutdown. So, I had to train back, in the dungeon – in the basement where it all started. I got great work. I still was grinding every single day, still working conditioning-wise keeping myself in shape. I feel strong. I feel like I'm getting older, but I feel like I'm just getting in better shape as I get older. I feel amazing."
(On is he going to play more defensive end this season than he did in 2019)
"You just have to wait and see."
(On is he playing at the same weight this season as he were last season)
"Yeah, I’m around the same weight I been for the last three years. So, yup."
(On if he's tried on the new face-shield helmet for this season)
"No, I haven't tried it out. Honestly, I probably won't even put that on. I need air when I'm out there running around and breathing with them long drives and stuff. I feel like, we’re out there, we’re playing up close there is nothing you can really do – if a guy got it and I tackle the guy, then I probably got it because he gone be sweating and spitting and slobbering all in my face. So, hopefully these guys are just doing what they need to do. The shield, they say it works, but I don’t really think it would, because the way football is played. Like I just said, that's on guys doing what they need to do the right way outside of this facility, as long as guys do that, we'll be fine.
(On the difficulty of not thinking about Covid-19 while on the field)
"No. Earlier I just told you guys, once you are out there grinding with the guys, you kind of block all that out and it’s just football again. I was just thinking about that earlier, when I'm out there, I kind of forget that all the COVID stuff is going on until you leave the facility. Because once we are on the field, you are just running around, doing drills and it's normal."
(On his thoughts about MLB playing without fans)
“It's weird. It doesn’t seem as fun. The excitement is kind of off, but I don't know. It's different for football, I think. It definitely seems weird. It's different, but I guess you have to try and adapt to that. But I definitely think we need some type of fans in the stadium, even if it's not a full house. I feel like they can do a thing or two, to the point where they can get people in the stadium but get nice space and spread it out good enough to make it work.”
(On if music in SoFi Stadium will be enough to replace the energy of fans)
"You have energy, but it's just when you make that big play, you don't have those fans yelling, going crazy for you, to make, you know, that excitement part, you're just going to be missing that.”
(On maintaining the same body fat)
"Yep. I feel great, I feel really great. I feel strong and I'm just getting better."
(On the NFL's response to COVID compared to MLB teams)
“It depends what guys are doing when they leave. You feel like baseball would work even better because they are already spread out, so far apart. If football is trying to do the same thing, as far as what baseball is doing, as far as traveling, I don't know. But, if they are, hopefully that won't mess up what we are trying to do here, because it's not working there. It's just a lot of not knowing. All I can do is control what I can control right now. We are here now and I'm just preparing, trying to get myself ready."
(On how he feels about the OLBs getting pressure on the quarterback)
"I feel good, but we still have to practice, and you've still got to get a feel for how guys play. But, I played with (OLB) Samson (Ebukam) the last couple of years. At the same time, there's a new defense, new calls. So, we're just going out there playing, guys getting a feel for each other, different calls we are getting from the defense and finding our little twist we can put on them to the point where we can dominate, but I feel good."
(On what kind of season, he thinks CB Jalen Ramsey can have)
“A big season, a huge season. We are on the same team, so I hope it’s a real big season. Knowing what type of player he is, I am pretty sure he prepared himself and got himself ready to be at this point right now. Him having a full season with the team and getting a feel for the guys, being around all the guys and him being a leader. I am definitely expecting huge things from him this year. I am excited that we are on the same team.”
(On how Defensive Coordinator Brandon Staley is like as a coach and how he communicates to the team)
“He is great. He has an excitement with him. He cracks a couple jokes here and there. But he definitely brings a lot of excitement and a lot of passion with him. Just speaking with him and the way he goes about with meetings – if we look tired, he is going to call and try to get us pumped up and wake us up. Just the energy he brings. I am just excited to continue to work and learn this defense. Hopefully we have a huge season, a winning season and do some big things this year.”
(On what he hopes to get out of training camp and these next few weeks)
“We just want to get better, just keep working. It is a whole new defense. So, I want to learn the defense to the point where I can just go out there and play and I don’t have to think. I can just go play fast and do what I do. That is what it comes down to. Right now, we are just doing walk-thrus. I will feel a little more comfortable once it is full speed and going against our offense. We are going to pick things up. I just want to be able to hear a call and know it like that (snaps fingers) to the point where I don’t have to double check. I don’t want to have to think at all. When you have to think, it tends to slow you down. I want to have it to the point where I can go 100 miles per hour on the football field.”