Aaron Donald goes into full-on smash mode

To be fair, no one likes to practice when it’s hot.

To be truthful, nobody likes to apply when it’s scorching.
Picture: Getty Photographs

Earlier than right now’s joint apply between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals, Cincy head coach Zac Taylor, a former Rams assistant coach, had excessive hopes for his or her first face-to-face with the group that hardly slipped previous them in Tremendous Bowl LVI.

“A lot simpler than doing this with some other group within the league,” Taylor instructed reporters. “We all know what we’re in for. We all know how they apply.”

Ummm… yeah. Aaron Donald had different concepts.

Underneath searing 85-degree temperatures, Donald had no time for B.S. throughout their joint apply on Thursday afternoon after an offseason by which he casually entertained retirement on the quilt of Sports activities Illustrated,

In line with Cincinnati Enquirer Bengals reporter Charlie Goldsmith, their skirmish with the Rams was set off by newly-acquired left sort out La’el Collins throwing haymaker punches at Leonard Floyd on the finish of a play. In retaliation, Donald ripped the helmet off of the 6-foot-4, 315-pound La’el Collins. For good measure, Donald added one other helmet to his different hand, channeled his internal Unbelievable Hulk and commenced swinging downward from above his head at Bengals gamers.

After the teams were separated, both coaches ended the scrimmage. Well played, Aaron.

Donald shouldn’t even be out there. Does anybody think he needs the reps in a no-stakes joint practice at the age of 31? Also, who thought the Bengals and Rams matchup should take place IN THE PRESEASON?! My Deadspin colleague, Criss Partee, recently previewed the record of revenge games in 2022 and you already know who wasn’t on that record? The Rams and Bengals…

Joe Burrow is contemporary off an appendectomy, which led to him dropping pounds. I get Cincy wished to see how their new offensive line for Joe Burrow fares, they wished to danger subjecting him to Donald’s quarterback bloodlust once more. Not less than this time, he received to put on a crimson no-contact jersey, which most likely explains why Donald was so testy. The person simply needed to hit one thing.

From a macro perspective, it’s troublesome to inform if joint practices appear extra intense as a result of we haven’t seen them happen since 2019 earlier than the COVID pandemic compelled groups to isolate as a lot as potential or if starters are simply extra fired up after not attending to hit opposing gamers in joint apply environments since 2019. The latest spate of coaching camp fights has exemplified the ugly facet of joint practices. Essentially the most intense melee befell of the offseason befell between the Patriots and Panther when a fan was injured after the shoving spilled into the bleachers, nevertheless it’s been a standard prevalence.

As a result of this isn’t the common season and a treasured quarterback wasn’t concerned, the NFL might not crack down harshly on Donald because it did on Myles Garrett two years in the past. However nothing is for sure when gamers swinging helmets are concerned.

As if that weren’t sufficient, joint practices in themselves are an insult to the NFL’s shoppers. The typical value of a preseason ticket to an NFL game is $123.42. That’s a fraction of the common common season ticket, which might value $800 and $400 within the secondary market. But the starters and Corridor of Famers are out right here saving their greatest for daytime scrimmages?

The premise of joint practices is flawed. They’re primarily organized earlier than preseason games as a way of getting the starters concerned in high-intensity soccer in opposition to an opposing group. Methinks, the parents doling out money for a preseason contest would like to see the starters getting warmed up for the common season in one of many three preseason games they pay to attend, not by way of selective clips from joint practices posted on Twitter in the course of the workday.

The league did simply high-quality with out joint practices for the final two seasons. Perhaps it’s time to rethink them utterly.

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