By Chris Emma—
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) – When Rams cornerback Lamarcus Joyner knocked Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater out of Sunday’s game with a concussion with an illegal hit, a great stir was caused.
Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer pointed to Gregg Williams, the St. Louis defensive coordinator, and his reputation for dirty hits that includes the “Bountygate” scandal in New Orleans. The football world was left wondering whether the hit on Bridgewater was intentional and if the Rams’ up-and-coming defense is dirty.
Aaron Donald, the Rams’ second-year defensive tackle, was questioned about it during a conference call with Chicago reporters Wednesday.
“Everybody’s got their own opinion,” Donald said of the Rams’ reputation on defense. “The game of football is a physical game, and we’re a physical team. We play fast. But our mindset is never try to go out and injure anybody. We just go out and play fast.”
On Sunday, the Bears will get a first-hand look at Donald and Rams defense, which ranks fifth in yards allowed and sixth in points allowed.
Donald is one of the Rams’ rising stars, compiling 13.5 sacks in 24 NFL games. He went to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season after he was selected 13th overall in the 2014 draft. The Bears took cornerback Kyle Fuller with the 14th pick after missing out on Donald, one of their top prospects.
Chicago enters Sunday’s contest with a record of 3-5 following a 22-19 win at San Diego on Monday night. Donald pointed to the strong arm of quarterback Jay Cutler, the productive rushing attack of Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford, plus a makeshift offensive line that provides physical blocking.
The Rams (4-4) boast a defense that will be ready for the Bears on Sunday, bringing a physical, tough style of play. Do they embrace the concept of being considered dirty?
“Like I said, everybody’s got their own opinion,” Donald said. “We can’t control what other people think. We just got to play the game.”