Malik Jackson Tutoring Eagles Guards on Aaron Donald
PHILADELPHIA – Malik Jackson is doing whatever he can to get the Eagles’ guards ready for that noted game-wrecker and quarterback destroyer, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who Carson Wentz called “a monster” on Wednesday.
“I fancy myself a good pass rusher, so if I go out there and do some (of the) things I see he does, try to imitate it as best I can, maybe it will help them,” said Jackson after Wednesday's practice. “I firmly believe they won’t see a better three-tech than me, so it’s up to me to go out there and show during the week and during camp. After this game, we’ll see how good of a job we did as a scout team.”
It’s a very noble effort from Jackson, but this is Aaron Donald, a Pro Bowler every year since he entered the league as the 13th player taken overall in 2014 out of the University of Pittsburgh and a first-team All-Pro performer each of the last five seasons.
“There are not many offensive lines out there that really kind of slow this guy down,” said Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. “I mean, he just goes from snap to whistle. He's a 100-miles-an-hour and that's tough.”
Somehow, though, the Eagles have held Donald without a sack in the three times they have played the Rams and Philadelphia is 3-0 against the Donald-led Rams. Now 29, he has just four tackles in those three games, though he has recorded five QB hits.
Those QB hits against the Eagles in three games are only more than the Dallas Cowboys allowed in one game, their season-opening loss to the Rams.
“Obviously, it's hard to just specifically game plan one guy because there are 10 other guys that fit within the defense and fit within the structure of what they are doing,” said Pederson. “It's more about awareness of where he lines up and is he to the tight end side; is he to the open side; is he playing a tackle; is he playing an end. It's just part of their scheme.
“It's not about necessarily game planning a specific player as much as it is the whole entire scheme, but within that, as I mentioned earlier, we have to be aware of where a player like Aaron Donald lines up.”
Donald ravaged the Cowboys’ line with a sack, four tackles, and four hits on Dallas QB Dak Prescott.
That’s called a field day and one the Eagles can simply not allow to happen if they want to level their record at 1-1 and send the Rams back to L.A. at 1-1.
So, Jackson is tutoring the guards, Nate Herbig and Isaac Seumalo for what may lie ahead.
Jackson will talk about how well Donald uses his hands, maybe the best in the business at that, and how Donald is so strong he is able to get an O-lineman turned sideways so quick and so fast that he is in the backfield in the blink of an eye.
Mostly, Jackson will tell them about mentally preparing for Donald.
“I personally think the best part of his game is before he even plays people,” said Jackson. “They are so shook before they even play him, they’re like, ‘Oh my God, I have to stop this, I have to stop that,’ then they start thinking about a bunch of things then he does what he’s best at.
“He is the guy. Beside Fletch (Cox) in the interior, I think he is the guy. I can’t wait to sit there and watch him…he does everything well.”
Wentz won’t have the luxury of sitting and watching Donald. He’ll either be running for his life or trying to find an open receiver before Donald gets him or running for his life. Yes, running for his life is mentioned twice, but, again, this is Aaron Donald.
“Aaron Donald is a monster … somebody we always have to know where he is, but at the same time we have to execute,” said the QB. “We have to come out and execute and not play afraid, not play timid, but he’s a guy we definitely take accountability for where he’s at, at all times. He’s a game-wrecker if you let it happen. We have to be smart how we handle that.”
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