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Young Ready to Rock and Provides a Different Look for the Defense | Washington Commanders

By Adam Aniba

After missing Week 1 due to a neck stinger, 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young will see his first action of 2023 vs Denver this Sunday.

During Friday's presser, Young had the following to say about being cleared to play this Sunday.

"I'm blessed man, i'm ready to rock. Obviously I want to play every game, but it's all good. My time will come. It's time. Now it's time to go play."

Washington declined Young's 5th year option and he'll be an RFA in '24, if not franchised tagged or given a long term deal.

Heading into his 4th season in Washington, Young has only played in 27 career games. After playing in 15 games during his rookie season, the former Buckeye has only played in 12 games over the last two seasons.

After having one of the most impressive rookie seasons from a Washington pass rusher in '20, recording 7.5 sacks, forcing 4 fumbles, recovering 3 and returning 1 for a touchdown, Young simply hasn't lived up to expectations.

It was expected that Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio would deploy more 5-man fronts during Week 1, but without Young they utilized the package less than 20% of of the time vs Arizona.

Although Ron RIvera made it clear that Young will be on a limited snap count this week, unleashing him on obvious passing downs and in 5-man fronts, should lead to more 1 on 1 opportunities to rush the passer.

Similar to the Commanders, the Broncos have a relatively new offensive line group. Their unit surrendered 2 sacks and only registered 166 passing yards from Russell Wilson's 34 passing attempts in their Week 1 loss to the Raiders.

Expectations should certainly be tempered with Young's return. The truth of the matter is the defense should look even better this week with a motivated Young, who's on the last year of his rookie deal with a lot to prove.

Young discussed working on his craft as his biggest offseason focus, which will be key for his development. Regardless of what fans think of the pass rusher, having him on the field makes this defense more dangerous.

Defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina was asked how Young has looked.

"His explosiveness was back. He wasn't thinking about anything, he was just playing. He was the Chase of old."

Although sacks, pressures and tackles for a loss are imperative for an effective pass rusher, Young's ability to knock down balls at the line of scrimmage lead to more opportunities for turnovers.

In the end, durability has been Young's biggest obstacle. With Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montz Sweat and a defensive backfield that has been upgraded, the former #2 overall selection could have a career year if he can put it all together.



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