Aaron Donald doesn’t measure pass-rush success by sacks

The Rams Wire

The Rams have a trio of pass rushers that can rival any in the NFL. Aaron Donald and Von Miller are future Hall of Famers, and Leonard Floyd has taken his play to a new level since arriving in Los Angeles last year.

But in the last few weeks, the Rams haven’t gotten to the quarterback very often with their primary pass rushers. In the last four games, Donald has two sacks, Floyd has 1.5 and Miller has been blanked in his three games with the Rams.

They’re pressuring the quarterback, but because offenses are countering with a quick passing game, it’s tough to get home for sacks.

“I think it has been there. You obviously aren’t seeing the sacks because the quarterbacks have been getting the ball out fast and things like that,” Donald told reporters Friday. “But if you watch the film, you see (us) putting pressure on quarterbacks, hitting quarterbacks, making them uncomfortable in the pocket. So, we’re doing our job. We just got to try to capitalize and find ways to let the quarterback hold the ball that much longer, so we get them down to the ground.”

Fans often look at sacks as a measure of how effective a pass rush is, but it goes beyond that number. Donald wants sacks and impact plays in addition to generating pressure, but if the defense is making life tougher on the quarterback, he knows that has an effect on the game, too.

“You want the production. You want the plays, but it’s gonna come. You’re putting the pressure on the quarterback. You flying around, making the quarterback have to leave the pocket or getting quarterback hits is the same. It’s affecting the play. Obviously you want those splash plays too, but just affecting the game and my presence – if it’s not a sack, just putting pressure on the quarterback or getting the opportunity to make him move out the pocket, make them uncomfortable, then I’m happy with that too.”

Donald has been pressuring quarterbacks at a high rate all year, recording 54 total pressures to rank sixth in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Floyd is, too, slotting in at No. 21 with 41 pressures, while Miller is 33rd with 36 of his own.

So even though the sack numbers aren’t all that impressive, the Rams are still impacting the passing game by forcing the ball out quickly.

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