Ernest Jones: With Aaron Donald retired, it’s time for others to make names for themselves

The Rams will have a very different look on defense this season.

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald has retired, which leaves the Rams without one of the most imposing players in recent history as they prepare to try for another playoff berth in 2024. There won’t be anyone sliding seamlessly into the role that Donald played in Los Angeles, but linebacker Ernest Jones is one of the players who is looking at the change as an opportunity for himself.

In a press conference on Monday, Jones said he is relishing the chance to take on a bigger leadership role and he thinks others on the team will be in the same position as things unfold over the coming months.

“From the moment I got here, this was a goal of mine, to be the leader of this defense,” Jones said, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. “With [Donald] being gone, now there’s more eyes on me, which I can sure handle. . . . Without A.D., we get to go out there, and now it’s time for those guys to make a name for themselves.”

Jones became a starter on the way to winning the Super Bowl as a rookie and he’s coming off a strong third season, so there’s also thoughts of a second contract to serve as motivation for him to show that he can keep the Rams defense from slipping too much without Donald in the center of the action.

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