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Sean McVay: Aaron Donald is playing even better this year

Yes, Chiefs-Rams was a high-scoring affair, but the L.A.'s defense stepped up and still made big plays in crucial situations.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the 2017 defensive player of the year, already seems to be the clear favorite to win it again. His coach definitely thinks so.

“I think he was well deserving of defensive player of the year last year and I think he’s even playing better this year,” Rams coach Sean McVay told reporters on Tuesday. “I think he’s truly taken his game to a different level. You feel him every single snap. The impact that he makes on the game in so many different ways that maybe don’t even show up on the stat sheet, even though he is putting up these eye-popping numbers where he’s leading the league in sacks and he’s forcing fumbles. . . .

“You just kind of get accustomed to, ‘There’s another play Aaron makes,’ but you don’t ever want to take that for granted. The best part about Aaron, and you guys know this, is when you hear Aaron interview, the first thing he says is, ‘I’ve got a lot of room for improvement.’ I think the one thing that I’ve been so impressed with, with him is he is a great player, he’s a special player, but he’s always continually focusing on what he can do to improve. There’s never that complacency that sets in. I think that’s why you see a great player playing at a really high level. I think he raises the level of his teammates. He certainly raises the level of this team and he is making big-time plays at the moments that we need them the most. He is a really, really special player that we are lucky to have. I just think the way he works naturally rubs off on people and I think that consistency where a lot of people think leadership is talking and things like that. Really, what I’ve learned being around Aaron is I think he’s a great leader by the way that he consistently goes about his business, brings people with him just by doing right. We talk about it all the time, we see a lot better than we hear and he’s a guy that definitely shows up and he shows instead of having to say all the time and then that speaks a lot louder than what words can do in a lot of instances.”

Some have suggested that Donald should receive MVP consideration, but that will be difficult to accomplish, not only because the league has so many great offensive players this year but also because the Rams have two other viable candidates in running back Todd Gurley and quarterback Jared Goff. They may split votes, making it harder for any of them to win it.