Chase Young is a prime bounce-back candidate in 2022

·2 min read

Washington defensive end Chase Young had one of the more disappointing seasons in the NFL in 2021. The 2020 NFL defensive rookie of the year started nine games in 2021 and recorded just 1.5 sacks before injuring his knee in a Week 10 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Young’s knee injury was more severe than first thought, and he will begin the 2022 NFL season on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list, which means he will miss at least the first four games of the season.

That’s not a surprise. The Commanders have maintained a patient approach with Young’s recovery throughout the offseason and into training camp and were never going to put a timeline on his return.

When Young returns, expect to see a different player from one year ago. ESPN and Pro Football Focus collaborated to name one bounce-back candidate for all 32 NFL teams, and Young was the choice for Washington.

What went wrong: This one is difficult to pin down. A right ACL tear ended Young’s 2021 season against Tampa Bay in Week 10, but he fell well short of expectations prior to that. With his inability to win the edge, the “book” was out on how to stop him. Tackles were sitting on his bull rush and inside moves, forcing him to work an outside move. And Young had no recourse, per PFF

Outlook for 2022: Young will miss the season opener and possibly at least four games as he recovers from reconstructive surgery on his right knee. When he returns, his coaches hope he abandons a bad habit he fell into last year, in which he’d stutter step after starting his pass rush. It impacted his ability to play with violent hands and resulted in ineffective pass rushes. If he focuses on using his quickness off the ball combined with hand strength — and attacking one half of the blocker — Young will rebound once healthy, via John Keim of ESPN.

Washington head coach Ron Rivera spoke of Young fixing a stutter step in his pass rush that would help improve his production. If Young adjusts and is healthy, there’s no reason why he can’t become a perennial double-digit sack guy.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire