Don't look now, but Commanders DE Chase Young has his swagger back

Chase Young is ready to bounce back with the Commanders in 2023.

Chase Young
Chase Young / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It seems as if Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young has got his swagger back heading into the 2023 campaign.

It's been a long time coming, but it finally looks as if Chase Young has his swagger back.

There is a different aura around the defensive end this summer. Young worked exceptionally hard on getting healthy throughout the offseason period, taking very few periods of rest and putting his body through extreme hardship in pursuit of avoiding the injury complications that have thrown his career into turmoil.

The Washington Commanders had no option other than to decline Young's fifth-year option at more than $17 million. This came after 12 games and 1.5 sacks over the last two seasons, which isn't what anyone expected from a player deemed generational coming out of college en route to becoming the No. 2 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Commanders are seeing something different from Chase Young

Young has an added sense of urgency in a contract year, which obviously helps. There is also the small matter of practicing throughout training camp without the Robocop-style knee brace that's restricted him significantly in recent months.

Ask anyone that's come back from serious knee injuries. Anything that gives an extra sense of confidence in the ailment and removes hesitancy can only be a good thing - something that's reflected in Young's performance levels across practices in Ashburn so far.

The former Ohio State star is setting the edge on running downs with supreme force. He's also generating pressure consistently and letting everyone know about it as part of a defensive front that's wreaked almost constant havoc over the last fortnight.

Ron Rivera seems to like what he's seen from Young based on his comments via the team's website. The Commanders will still err on the side of caution, but everything's gone according to plan so far and perhaps even better than they anticipated after such a frustrating period.

"Oh, it's good to see Chase [Young] moving around the way he did. I mean, he's light years ahead of where he was last training camp. I think that's a big deal for us. I think the thing that you can really point to really is just remember last year we talked about how the defense was working on something different and how they were trying to get that zone match down? It's different now. You see them, they're comfortable, they're confident in it. I know [Defensive Coordinator] Jack [Del Rio] and them [the defensive staff] looked at it, made a couple adjustments to it and those players have just adapted it so quickly. I mean, they are so far ahead of where they were last season."

Ron Rivera via

This is all positive for Young and a refreshing change of pace. However, all this newfound momentum will count for nothing if he cannot produce the goods when the regular season arrives.

Looking at how strong the Commanders' defense is across the board, anything is possible. If Young stays healthy and forms a dynamic pass-rushing tandem with Montez Sweat, it'll make everything easier and might even propel them to No.1 league-wide along the way.

That'll come with some financial complications with Young and Sweat both out of contract in 2024. That's not something Rivera is worrying too much about currently - especially considering he might not even be around beyond the current campaign unless significant improvements are made.

Excitement is building around Young, who is moving with purpose and ignoring all the outside noise in his quest to shut up the doubters once and for all. Having an added swagger about his demeanor should strike fear into the hearts of every offensive tackle unfortunate enough to come in his path next season.