Commanders DE Chase Young's importance
There's been no new development on the health of Chase Young. The defensive end is still awaiting medical clearance to resume contact drills after suffering a stinger in the Washington Commanders' opening preseason clash against the Cleveland Browns, which is clearly worse than many initially thought and leaves his status for Week 1 in doubt.
Starting such a critical campaign on the sidelines would be a disaster for Young. The former Ohio State phenom didn't get his fifth-year options picked up thanks in large part to an inability to remain healthy over the last two seasons, so missing Washington's sold-out opener against the Arizona Cardinals is a bad look all things considered.
This was a topic brought up by David Harrison from Sports Illustrated, who claimed that Young's health is the critical factor above all else for the Commanders' defensive front in their quest to become the league's best unit in 2023.
"There are some questions about whether or not Young will actually start the season healthy after suffering a stinger in Week 1 of the preseason that has taken an abnormally long time to heal. But if he is, and Washington gets Young on the field in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, it could be the final push needed for the defensive line to enter the top level of unit prestige. And that would go a long way toward helping the Commanders achieve their goal of rising up the rankings as an NFL franchise this season."- David Harrison, Sports Illustrated
Young has the weight of the world on his shoulders and cannot afford to start the campaign slowly. Especially considering a number of other important figures - including fellow pass-rusher Montez Sweat - are fighting for new deals, too.