Mark Barron Says There's More to Rams' Offense, Aaron Donald Will Be Aaron Donald
Mark Barron spent five years with the Rams organization before coming to Pittsburgh. He made the adjustment from safety to inside linebacker in St. Louis, and made the transition to LA - and went to a Super Bowl.
Barron has played with most of the current Rams' roster, and preparing for a team this good, the Steelers will look anywhere for information. Barron admits "a lot of what I'll be saying is on film," but is going to help prepare his current team any way possible.
"Whatever information I have, or if they come up and ask me, if I have an answer I'm going to give it to them," Barron said. "I have some knowledge of what they do and some personality things so I mean, if they have questions I will answer."
He knows more than anyone else in Pittsburgh. What Barron saw during his five seasons with the Rams was enough to make a lasting impression. He's played with some of the best offensive and defensive players in the league.
Mike Tomlin pointed out on Tuesday that preparation, "obviously any discussions starts with minimizing Aaron Donald." That's no surprise as the Defensive Player of the Year continues to dominate games.
Barron agrees. Like everyone else, the conversation is easy when it comes to the Pitt native.
"Everyone knows what Aaron likes to do, he's been dominating for a couple years now," Barron said. He's hard not to see, so you see what he does, you see his highlights everywhere, so you know who Aaron Donald is."
The Steelers will scheme around Donald, but it's not an easy task. The defensive end will be double-teamed throughout the matchup, finding new ways to limit his impact. But at the end of the day, Barron says Aaron Donald will be Aaron Donald.
"People try to double him, and sometimes he beats them and sometimes he doesn't," Barron said. "It's one of those things that at some point in the game, Aaron Donald is going to make a play, you just got to kind of try to limit that."
On the offensive end, LA may not have a single player the Steelers defense can focus on. Stars like Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp fill the starting lineup, and Barron knows that. The linebacker says that despite the list of names, there isn't one key player Pittsburgh should keep an eye on.
"I wouldn't say one particular person with this group and I've been around for a long time so I know who they are - I mean the skill players are still the same guys - and with them it's a combination of guys," Barron said. "They have good players everywhere. You're talking about the skill players, you're talking about the running backs, quarterback, they just have good players everywhere and schematically, they kind of don't let you pin point. They spread the ball around and get it to everyone."
With the threats threw the air, the Steelers will have a difficult task at hand covering receivers. But there's more to this receiving core than wide receivers.
"You can't just lock in on Kupp, because then you've got Woods, you've got Cooks, they've got good tight ends, running backs that can go out and make catches," Barron said. "So you can't just lock in on that guy, he has been their leading receiver but if you went in and just tried to lock in on Kupp I feel like you'd be making a mistake."
It's a challenge this defense is looking forward to. Stopping the Rams won't be easy, but it's certainly capable. And how do they do it?
"Execution and communication because that's what's going to be required to be pristine," Barron explained.