The accolades are endless for Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. 2014 Rookie of the Year. Two-time Defensive Player of the Year. Sacks leader in 2018. Six-time Pro Bowler. First team All-Pro five years running. You get the idea.
Duane Brown didn't mince words when it comes to how dominant Donald is.
"He's the best in the game, and the best defensive lineman that I've faced," Brown said.
The Seahawks will have their hands full when it comes to keeping Donald out of Seattle's offensive backfield, primarily due to his versatility. While he's listed at defensive tackle and typically plays the nose position, he frequently lines up at various spots on the defensive line, and his league-leading 9.0 sacks are only matched by elite edge-rusher Myles Garrett.
"With an edge rusher, forcing pressure off the edge … you still have a chance for the quarterback to step up in the pocket and have a throwing lane," Brown said. "When a guy is very successful rushing the inside, it flushes [the quarterback] in certain directions, so it's a little bit more of a challenge.
"The thing with him [Donald], he'll line up everywhere. He's lined up on the edge more this year, I think, than in years past. They're just trying to do whatever they can to get him different one-on-ones … Wherever the great rushers are, you have to just move them wherever you can."
Even without an offseason where the team could truly get together and work, and having an offensive line with three starters in new positions, Brown credits everyone's individual efforts for the solid performance the unit has put forth so far this season.
"I think, number one, individually everyone being committed to greatness and trying to improve as much as we can," Brown said, "as far as technique and the physical aspect of it, and getting the mental part of it down without being around each other in the offseason as much.
"Besides that, just trying to work as much as we could once we did get the ball rolling … a lot of that goes to coach Mike Solari, he's done a great job of having us overly prepared week in and week out."
Brown says that communication has been key among a unit littered with young players lacking a ton of experience at their respective positions.
"We've been really committed to just, everyday, improving, talking, communicating a lot," Brown said. "Kind of just learning each other's strengths and weaknesses and how to overcome those as a collective unit.
"Other than that, it's been a team effort," Brown said. "Russ has done a great job of identifying different defenses, getting the ball out on time, receivers are getting open, running backs are running hard. It's a team effort."
A team effort will certainly be needed again this Sunday against a stingy Rams defense that currently gives up the second-fewest points (19.0) and yards (291.9) in the NFL per game this season.