WFT star pass rusher Chase Young has seen his production fall off a cliff in his second year.
With Washington struggling at 2-6 and coming off a bye week, criticism of his play has gotten louder by the week.
When asked about missing OTAs to shoot commercials — and if that somehow has contributed to a slow start, Chase Young said, "I was making money baby. Got to make the money. None of you all would have ducked the money. It's a job, just like you all do your job I do my job."
— John Keim (@john_keim) November 11, 2021
Based on some quotes Young made this week, he seems unbothered by that criticism concerning his struggles, which can probably be directly related to him missing offseason OTAs (Organized Team Activities).
“I was making money, baby. Got to make the money. None of y’all would’ve ducked the money. It’s a job, just like y’all have to do your job, I do my job.”
Chase Young Backstory
When the Washington Football Team drafted Chase Young with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, they thought they were getting a generational talent at defensive end.
A dominating player in the mold of future Pro Football Hall of Famers such as Julius Peppers and Von Miller.
Although he won Defensive Rookie of the Year and helped lead the WFT to a division title (with a losing record) and the playoffs, teams began studying film in how to block Young.
Young’s 2020 stats looked like this: 44 tackles, 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, 10 tackles for loss, and 12 QB hits. Not to mention, he added a team-high 45 QB pressures (3.0 per game). The belief was that Young would take his dominance off the edge to the next level in 2021.
“Not So Fast” (Lee Corso Voice on ESPN “College GameDay”)
2021 has shown us Young’s regression, which also reflects the declining performance of the entire WFT defense.
Last year it was a team strength, this year it’s more of an Achilles heel. It all starts and ends with Young.
2020 Was Fool’s Gold Because The Team Played A Last-Place Schedule
The 2020 season was an anomaly, as the defense played well enough to help lead the team to a (7-9) record and a division title.
Washington really benefited from the poor quarterback play of its opponents during a pandemic season.
Fast forward to 2021 and those games are now against teams who won their division the previous season and have very capable quarterbacks.
Young isn’t going up against nearly as many bad offensive lineman as he did a season ago, which is another factor contributing to his struggles.
A Year Of Film On Young Helped Teams Better Prepare For Him
There there was film on Young coming out of Ohio State which may have highlighted some of his strengths and weaknesses. But it still takes time for teams to adjust to strategizing against a player of Young’s caliber weekly.
Now that the offenses have caught up to Young, he must adjust and add some new pass rush moves to his repertoire in order to be successful.
Last year’s go-to moves aren’t as effective now that teams have had time to dissect every tendency and habit in Young’s game.
Even WFT head coach Ron Rivera made a comment during the team’s recent bye week about something he sees as a problem for Young that teams have been taking advantage of in this season.
“One of the things that was really prevalent from Young’s 2020 film was you can see him sticking to the edge a little bit longer before he ducked inside.
“I know you want to make plays, but the thing you’ve got to do is be patient, be disciplined and let the plays come to you.”
“He’s become the focus of a lot of the offenses that we play. People have adjusted to him, and now he’s gotta adjust in return.”
Missing Offseason Workouts Stunted His Growth A Bit
With Young opting to do other things during the offseason instead of attend OTAs, it hurt his growth from year one to year two. Remember, he missed significant prep due to the pandemic in his rookie year.
Missing those valuable reps for two straight seasons can negatively impact a player trying to learn to play his position at the professional level, which is totally different and more reliant on technique and skill than just pure athleticism.
Young’s always had the physical tools, and those tools helped him get away with any mistakes in college. But he definitely needs to work on the mental and technical aspects of his game.
No way a talent of his caliber should have 1.5 sacks heading into Week 10. Sacks are not the end-all-be-all, but if the sack total isn’t going to be up to par then he needs to affect the game in some other way, like being a better player against the run, diagnosing the screen game better, or just affecting the QB somehow via QB pressures, hits or hurries.
If Young can do this the entire Washington Football defense instantly becomes better, because teams will begin to overcompensate for him, allowing others to make plays.
But if he remains selfish and trying to play hero ball, WFT will continue their abysmal play on the D-line, with the linebackers and in the secondary.