Aaron Donald stopped by CBS Sports Radio on Thursday, and Brandon Tierney had an immediate bone to pick with the Rams All-Pro defensive tackle.
Yes, in the preseason, Tierney went out on a limb on national radio and national television and said that the Rams, who hadn’t finished with a winning season since 2003, would make it to the Super Bowl. The Rams, however, went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the 11th straight year.
What the heck happened?
“A lot of injuries, man,” Donald said on Tiki and Tierney. “We had a lot of injuries. We started strong (but) had a lot of injuries that slowed us down a little bit. We picked it up a little later in the season, but it’s hard to win in this league. When you lose a lot of your top starters, a lot of guys that help you win games and you lose those guys, you’re going to struggle a little bit.”
Tierney was encouraged by his pick after Week 1, when the Rams beat the Seahawks, 34-31, in overtime. Then the Rams lost eight of 11 – albeit through no fault of Donald or the defense. The Rams averaged 26.3 points per game in their seven wins but just 10.7 points per game in their nine losses.
That’s a sizable difference.
Donald, however, was consistently productive throughout the season, recording 69 tackles, 11.0 sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery.
“It’s a fun unit,” Donald said of the defense. “That’s all I can say. We have a lot of fun, man. We got a lot of players, a non-stop rotation. We got Will Hayes, you got Eugene Sims on the line, you got (Nick) Fairley. We got a lot of guys. We rotate nonstop and we’re trying to make a lot of plays out there together. It’s definitely a fun unit.”
The Rams, of course, are moving from St. Louis to Los Angeles this offseason. Donald, 24, is excited for a fresh start with new opportunities, but he knows how hard the city of St. Louis is taking the relocation.
“You still had diehard St. Louis Rams fans that have been there since day one,” he said. “The last game we played there, that Thursday night game, a couple fans came up to me crying, saying, ‘This may be the last time we get to watch you in this stadium.’ A lot of people was emotional, man. It kind of sucked to see how they feel. Hopefully they onto to support us. We’re going to try to win some games so the fans can have something to cheer about. We still love the fans in St. Louis. Hopefully they continue to support us.”