Browns prepare to face the “best player in the league”

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He may not be among the way-too-early MVP candidates, but he continues to be regarded by many as the single best player in the NFL.

He’s Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. He returns to NBC’s Sunday Night Football this week to face the Browns.

“He is the best player in the league,” Browns guard Joel Bitonio told reporters on Wednesday regarding Donald. “He is strong against the run. He is strong against the pass. He does everything well. People say coming out he was undersized slightly and things like that, but he has all of the power you need to play that position and all of the leverage you need. He has speed. When you think you are going to try to shut off the speed move, he can counter with his power move.

“That first step has people panic, and when people panic, you overset him or move too quick and he moves inside. He kind of plays everywhere. He is on the left, he is on the right, he lines up outside sometimes and they move him around. You can kind of tell with their defense he is definitely a focal point for a lot of teams so sometimes he does not have the stats. I think he only has two tackles this year maybe, but if you watch the film, he is making plays.”

Chris Simms would put those outcomes in the “eff up the play” statistical category. Donald likely leads the league on that front.

“You have to trust in your technique, and hopefully, watch enough film and understand the situation,” Bitonio said regarding the strategy for avoiding panic in response to Donald’s first step. “He is good enough where if you take one bad step . . . . If you are perfect in your technique,  you have a chance, and you take that bad step and lean or do something wrong, that is when he takes advantage of it.”

Browns running back Nick Chubb was more basic in his description of Donald.

“He is a monster,” Chubb said. “He is a beast. Every play he is going full speed, 100 miles per hour. He is hard to stop. We have to do our best every play to make sure we have someone on him and someone to try and slow him down.”

Indeed they do. Because Donald alone can keep the Browns from getting into an offensive rhythm.

“He is an unbelievable player,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “His game speaks for itself. He works very hard at what he does. That is why he is one of the best in the game right now. He creates a monster itself within his game, but then also that creates opportunities for other guys to get one-on-one matchups. Not just is his game a game-changer, but it allows for those other guys to play free.”

That’s the challenge the Browns will face as they play their second prime-time game in six days against an opponent far more potent than the Jets.

43 responses to “Browns prepare to face the “best player in the league”

  1. Plays like another legendary monster…Randy White. Not Reggie kids, Randy (don’t get me wrong, Reggie was awesome)…but look him up. In 1980, a survey of GM’s asked which player they would take to start a franchise…the overwhelming favorite – Randy White

  2. Browns aren’t playing the Chiefs this week so not sure how they plan on playing the best player in the league because Patrick Mahomes will be on the field Sunday playing the Ravens in Kansas City.

  3. Incorrect. The best player in the league earned his 6th ring throwing balls over this guy’s head for ~5 hours last February. Donald is a generational defensive player, for sure. But there is no serious debate about who the best player in the league is..

  4. jodave5 says:
    September 18, 2019 at 7:21 pm
    Browns aren’t playing the Chiefs this week so not sure how they plan on playing the best player in the league because Patrick Mahomes will be on the field Sunday playing the Ravens in Kansas City.


    Gotta beat the best to be the best. Good chance it happens this January. Better chance it doesn’t.

  5. Mahomes also could’ beat Goff last year. Goff went on a late 4th quarter drive to take the lead. Mahomes threw an interception on his 4th quarter drive to lose the game.

  6. Aaron Donald in the SBowl: 1 solo tackle, 0 sacks, 1 QB hit. Thumbs down are easy. At least try to bring something to the table. If you’re able to.

  7. Id hate to inform all you Patriot wagon riders that TB12 isnt the best player in the league any longer. And that debate isnt even close!
    Congrats Pats on your huge wins against the Steelers who will finish with 5 or 6 wins and the Dolphins who probably wont win a game until 2021. All those wins did was age Tom two more games quicker. Did all you rainbow warriors watch Tom’s 19th game last season? Father time was showing strong. Little Ju ju and his 14 catches, 11 of them where the ball didnt travel more than 9 yards saved the day, NOT TB12. Come talk junk when Steve Grogan reincarnated hits game 8 and 9 this season. The end is near Kraft, BB, TB12 and all you wagon jumpers…

  8. If Aaron Donald is the so call best player then i would like to also anoint myself the best player too since he had as much impact as myself in watching 13 points be the winning Score in the Superbowl. You CAN’T be call the best player and is unable to trouble the Scoreboard, lets stop the insanity!! Nice guy and and the best defensive player but it stops there. The best player is that once in the generation Gunslinger down in kansas city who actually has a say in troubling that Scoreboard.

    The Rams would have gladly in that Superbowl call and pay the Chiefs whatever they want so they could BORROW the MVP for the afternoon. Sean McVay and that Rams Organization would be showing off their Rings today.

  9. Lol, the same Aaron Donald who dissapeared in the Superbowl is the best player in the league? What a joke! I thought they were preparing to face Carolina and Cam Newton when they said best player in the league. Superman Cam isn’t just an all pro QB, he’s also an all pro rb. Just look at everything Cam can do! I know you haters get blinded by all those flashy and stylish outfits and hats that Cam likes to wear, but don’t be jealous. Cam doesn’t just do it in the season, he brings it in the Superbowl too!!


  10. If the draft for any player in the league was tomorrow; Everyone with a hint of football knowledge is taking Mahomes #1 overall.

    Donald may be second, but Brady wouldn’t be in the top 2 rounds, but only because of his age. Brady is the GOAT, and it’s not close. But in 2019 Mahomes is #1.

  11. Donald is currently the best defensive player. Not sure if he’s the leagues overall best player.

    Also hard to criticize him for his performance in the super bowl. Brady gets rid of the ball faster(reading the defense and distributing to receivers) then everyone else. Also Belichick has a way of making the other teams best player a non factor. Hence why he’s arguably the best coach of all time

    -non Pat’s fan

  12. Mahomes has to beat Brady and Goff, it’s true. But when the questions are asked who is the best player in the NFL and who would you start an entire franchise around if you had your pick, I tend to stay quiet because I’m quiet happy with the guy who has an Arrowhead gracing his helmet, losses included.

  13. Aaron Donald is a beast. Will get into the Hall on the first ballot. Not sure why ppl are mocking him for his SB play. The Pats only scored 13 pts in that gm. So the Rams D did pretty darn well.

  14. the Patriots scored 13 points … you blocked Aaron Donald with 3 people. stop with Aaron Donald bashing. he was very much a factor in the SB. I thought Patriots fans were smarter than that. it’s ok if other NFL players get the shine sometimes. relax

  15. I really don’t get the insecurity of Pats fans on display. Six SB rings isn’t enough. They have to swarm a totally unrelated story from their team. Everyone in the world has to bow down to Brady’s image.

  16. shoopk says:
    September 18, 2019 at 9:05 pm
    Id hate to inform all you Patriot wagon riders that TB12 isnt the best player in the league any longer. And that debate isnt even close!
    They have 6 rings. Who cares?

  17. Best player in the league? I don’t think the best player in the league is on the defensive side of the ball. Right now, in week 3, the best two players in the league are playing in Kansas City and Baltimore.

  18. “This is the kind of stuff that sets the Pats off. Complete and utter disrespect.”

    What sets the Pats apart is they’re all business and pay almost no attention to stuff like that. It’s amusing how they’ve been so good for so long and even some of their fans can’t figure out why.

  19. I thought the thrust of this article was that the Browns were already looking ahead to their seventh game.

  20. Every other player who is not wearing a Brown’s uniform on every team they face will seem like the best player to them.

  21. Every other player who is not wearing a Brown’s uniform on every team they face will seem like the best player to them.

  22. The offense watches film about and plays against defenses. Aaron Donald is very likely the best player that the Browns QB, LG, and RB will face this year which is what they were asked about.

    Somehow Pats fans find a way to find disrespect everywhere. Not sure how Boston fans who have so many titles in the last 20 years still see themselves as disrespected undedogs but whatever.

  23. i agree with that. look at them in these comments. the Pats have been the best team in football for damn near 20 years but you wouldn’t know it by their insecure fans. it’s juts. the article is about the respect the Browns have got Aaron Donald. the man was voted the best player in the nfl by his peers. what’s the big deal? talk about having a lack of grace

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