Rams’ Aaron Donald Reveals Blueprint on Stopping Cardinals’ Kyler Murray

Getty Images Aaron Donald sacks Kyler Murray in 2020.

It’s been a daunting task for opposing defenses to get Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray out of rhythm and uncomfortable in 2021.

Murray’s had a QB passer rating under 100 just twice so far in nine games.

For Murray’s 10th game of the season, the Cardinals have to face the 8-4 division-rival Los Angeles Rams. In Murray’s first Rams meeting in October, he completed 24-of-32 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions while also recording 39 rushing yards in the Cardinals 37-20 win.

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An opposing and imposing Rams figure voiced his thoughts on how to stop the 24-year-old on Monday Night Football.

All-Pro Gives Defensive Gameplan

On December 10, three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald is giving the Monday Night matchup a ton of intensity.

“I feel like it’s a playoff game, so that’s how we got to take it,” Donald said. “That’s the mindset and we know we got to win. We got to win.”

Donald also detailed what went wrong in their first matchup and how to stop Murray.

“We just ain’t play good, but we know what to expect,” Donald said. “We know what we got to do to try to bottle him {Kyler Murray} up — not let him get out the pocket and extend plays. So we do that, we’ll be fine. We just got to find ways to get after him, make him uncomfortable, and get some hits on him this time. We let him get out of the pocket multiple times and extend plays with his feet. And then was able to get out the pocket, see things, throw it downfield, and make some plays with his arm. So, you let any quarterback do that, they are going to have a good day. So definitely the type of talent he is, we can’t allow that.”

The Rams have lost three of their last four games. Donald was asked about the lack of success with their pass rush, even after acquiring Von Miller.

“I think it has been there,” Donald said. “You obviously aren’t seeing the sacks because the quarterbacks have been getting the ball out fast and things like that. But if you watch the film, you see [us] putting pressure on quarterbacks, hitting quarterbacks, making them uncomfortable in the pocket. So, we are doing the 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.”

Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris mirrored Donald’s beliefs on stopping the MVP candidate.

“You’d like to keep him in the pocket,” Morris said. “When he gets outside of the pocket, he’s very dangerous. His ability to extend plays and make plays extend throughout the down, especially when he gets outside of the pocket, are unique. But you also can’t be sloppy and let him step up in the pocket and outside the pocket and make those same type of plays.”

Despite missing three games, Murray leads the NFL in passer rating at 112.1., completion percentage, yards per attempt and is ranked second in PFF grades for QBs.

While Murray is at a different level in 2021, he did have trouble inside the pocket against the Rams in 2020, throwing a pick-six against the Rams in last year’s December matchup.

In 2021, Murray’s now one of the best QBs against the blitz.

If the Cardinals win, they clinch a playoff spot while also putting the Rams’ odds to win the division to bed at a three-game deficit with four games to go.

Injury Reports

The Cardinals haven’t seen an injury report on December 11 as small in quite awhile.

Left guard Justin Pugh and running back Chase Edmonds will be game-time decisions for the Cardinals. Kingsbury spoke about Edmonds on December 9.

“I don’t know if they’ll all come back this week, but I say within the next two weeks, by Detroit, it’s safe to say we have a good shot of getting them out there,” said Kingsbury.

With Pugh out for a potential fourth game in a row, the Cardinals have to be mindful of wherever Donald lines up with Sean Harlow next to Humphries. Tight end Zach Ertz and corner Byron Murphy practiced in full today after dealing with their respective injuries.

As for the Rams, they placed starting running back Darrell Henderson on the Reserve/COVID list according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

That means Sony Michel will get the lead-back duties who rushed for a season-high 121 yards and a touchdown last week.

The Rams starting center Brian Allen is doubtful with a knee injury, which could force the Rams to play backup center Coleman Shelton.

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