The Washington Commanders will be without Chase Young early in 2022, meaning the rest of the team must step up at the outset.
Chase Young won’t be on the field come Week 1. When he returns remains a mystery.
Yet for the Washington Commanders, the season’s start date isn’t flexible. And so with Young, Washington needs to hold down the proverbial fort while its star pass rusher recovers from a torn ACL suffered last November.
On Thursday, Commanders head coach Ron Rivera addressed the situation with reporters, per ESPN:
“It just depends on where he is. I can’t tell you. The doctor is the only one that can tell you. You guys want me to give you a number. I can’t give you a number. I don’t want to put pressure on the young man to try to hit a number that I can’t give you.”
Without Young, the Commanders must figure out a way to reach opposing quarterbacks. Last season, Young tallied only 1.5 sacks across nine games before being placed on Injured Reserve. Meanwhile, Washington got production from defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, who registered a team-high nine sacks, while edge rusher Montez Sweat authored five sacks. Beyond Allen and Sweat, no other Commanders defender totaled at least five sacks.
If Washington is going to contend in the NFC East, it’ll largely be because new quarterback Carson Wentz, especially while Young works his way back. Wentz was acquired for a second-round pick sent to the Indianapolis Colts in March, bolstering an offense which suffered after Ryan Fitzpatrick was lost for the season in Week 1 of the 2021 campaign.
Around Wentz, Washington added first-round pick was receiver Jahar Dotson from Penn State, who will play opposite Terry McLaurin to give the Commanders a quality duo. However, if the offense struggles early, the defense will need to hold out while Young is sidelined.
Once he returns, Washington will certainly be hoping for the Young we saw when he earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. That season, Young racked up 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, helping the Football Team win the division. However, with Young’s sophomore struggles came a regression for Washington, which saw the defense rank 25th in points allowed.
With six weeks until the start of the regular season, Washington has time to figure out its best strategy moving forward.