Aaron Donald is considered by many to be the best player in the NFL. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year was ranked by his peers as the No. 1 player in the league in 2019, and No. 3 heading into this season.
You wouldn’t have known it watching Sunday’s game vs. the 49ers, however. Donald had just two tackles and one QB hit in the 24-16 loss.
The 49ers’ much-criticized offensive line deserves a ton of credit for stifling him. According to former 49ers safety Donte Whitner, Donald’s effort was also severely lacking.
“I felt like he quit late in the game,” Whitner said on KNBR. “The fans can’t really see it, but when you get guys in the run game like Brunskill reaching you, and you’re supposed to fight over the top and get in that gap, and you take the play off and you go backdoor, and you hurt your football team on the frontside, that’s quitting.
“All the time they tell the defensive tackles ‘fight over the top, don’t backdoor.’ So many times he backdoored. So many times the play is away from him and he starts to walk to the football while the guys are actually still fighting for yards. That’s not a team player. It tells me that all you’re really thinking about is going to get sacks, and when it comes to team football it’s all about you and about getting yours.”
Listen to the full interview below.