— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 6, 2017
The Los Angeles Rams are preparing to be without their best defensive player heading into Sunday’s season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
Aaron Donald has missed an entire offseason, training camp and preseason during his holdout due to contract disputes with the Rams. Many believe Donald, a three-time first team All-Pro, is not only L.A.’s best defender but the best defensive player in all of the NFL.
With just days until Sunday’s season opener against the Colts, the debate over whether or not Donald deserves to get paid shouldn’t be in question. What the team should decide is whether or not they want Donald to suit up for them against an Indianapolis team minus Andrew Luck.
If the Rams are desperate to get him on the field (which they don’t seem to be) their solution is clear–pay the man. Donald has proved he won’t budge until his contract is restructured and he’s compensated to his standards.
However, if L.A. thinks they can do without Donald, at least for Week 1, then they continue to do nothing about his contract and go with who they have in tow.
That’s exactly Head Coach Sean McVay’s plan as he told the media during a press conference Monday. When asked about Donald’s absence McVay spoke about the team’s game plan and being ready with or without their best player.
“It’s like what it’s been this whole offseason – guys are continuing to work. It was a great day today focusing on our game plans offensively, defensively and special teams for the Colts. That’s where our mindset and mentality is and that’s where we’re at.”
“He [Donald] is not ruled out, but right now he’s not here. Guys are ready to go and we’re getting a plan in place and the preparation goes on. Fortunately, we’ve got a bunch of guys that we feel confident in that are ready to step up. Like we said, our message continues to remain the same, if he’s here, great, we’ll accept him back with open arms, but in the meantime we’ve got to get ready to play a football game and we know the Colts are getting ready as well.”
McVay and his staff continue to show ‘optimism’ about finding a solution to the contract dispute between Donald and the organization, but his focus is on the players he has in front of them and getting them ready to hit the field come Sunday.
How long Donald stays away from the Rams’ organization depends on how bad they want him back.
If L.A. struggles against the Luck-less Colts Sunday, it may be a wakeup call to them that they need to get a deal done–like a month ago.