How is former Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young approaching his emotional return to FedEx Field in Week 17?
After being tabbed as a generational prospect coming out of Ohio State, defensive end Chase Young became the Washington Commanders selection at No. 2 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Four seasons later, he's getting ready to take on his former employers for the first time.
Young was traded to the San Francisco 49ers for nothing more than a conditional third-round selection before the deadline. There was a sense both parties wanted a fresh start. Yet it's another stain on Ron Rivera's ability to draft the right guys and develop them accordingly.
Chase Young expecting tough Commanders test
It'll be an emotional occasion for Young this weekend. The edge presence is treating it like any other game based on comments via The East Bay Times. He was also keen to emphasize Jacoby Brissett's veteran composure under center and the fight within the locker room as potential stumbling blocks.
"Coming into this great organization and the locker room, anything they did was show me love in here. Just being around guys and being able to learn from Nick (Bosa), Trent (Williams), George Kittle, everybody, it’s helped me, for sure. Jacoby (Brissett) knows how to manage a game, knows how not to lose a game. He’s been in the league a lot of years so he knows how to play that position very well. We just have to be on our assignment. If we do that, everything will take care of itself. They’re definitely a team that is going to fight to the end. I know that."- Chase Young via East Bay Times
Young will have an obvious sense of motivation in this one. The Niners are also looking to get back on track after a highly disappointing loss against the Baltimore Ravens. Washington is the perfect get-right game given their freefall following a 2-0 start.
The pass-rusher also knows how Washington's offensive line can crumble under pressure. This is one of football's most porous protections. They were giving up sacks at a borderline historic rate until recently. Young will know their weaknesses having gone up against them plenty in practice.
Couple this with the added revenge element normally associated with going up against old teams, and it's not hard to see why Young could have a big day upon his return to FedEx Field. Something the Commanders will be looking to avoid in pursuit of salvaging something from an otherwise disappointing campaign.
There is a lot of revisionist history attached to Young. Many believe the Commanders were wrong to pick him over someone like Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. However, this completely ignores the immensely high esteem in which he was held throughout his time with the Buckeyes and pre-draft evaluations.
The biggest challenge for Young will be keeping his emotions in check. He's got experienced players around to ensure he's kept on the straight and narrow. Having a supreme leadership presence in the form of defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is another big asset to call upon.
San Francisco is heavily favored to triumph, which isn't surprising when one considers the direction these two teams are going. The Commanders should have a plan to limit Young's influence given their previous knowledge of the player. But focusing too much on him will create opportunities for other destructive weapons at all three levels of the Niners' defense.
It's a huge challenge to overcome. When it's all said and done, Young will likely get the last laugh. There might even be a Super Bowl ring to show for his efforts before embarking on free agency.