The Washington Commanders’ defense is one of the worst in the NFL without edge rusher Chase Young. Fortunately for the franchise, there is reportedly a timetable for when the former No. 2 overall pick will return to the field.
Young suffered a torn ACL in Week 10 last season, requiring season-ending surgery that put his availability for the start of the 2022 NFL season in doubt. Washington initially held out some hope for a speedier return from the 6-foot-5 edge rusher, but it became clear this summer that it wouldn’t happen.
Related: Washington Commanders schedule
Ron Rivera admitted in late July that Young would miss “a bit of time” to start the regular season and the franchise eventually placed him on the reserve/PUP list. It made him inactive for the first four games on the schedule but left the door open for Young to make his 2022 debut against the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 9.
As the Commanders now prepare to face the Titans in Week 5, Young won’t be anywhere close to suiting up with his teammates. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported in September that Young’s timetable for a return is behind teammate Brian Robinson. As the rookie running back nears activation off the non-football injury list, though, it’s evident that Young is much further behind Robinson.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Young is targeting a return in the middle of the season. While there is no specific date provided for when the former Ohio State star anticipates coming off the PUP list, the focus on returning in the middle of the NFL schedule suggests it could be in early November.
- Chase Young stats (career): 16 QB hits, 13 tackles for loss, nine sacks in 24 games
It’s a return date that would put him behind the optimistic schedule the team held heading into the summer. However, the timeline wouldn’t be unusual for an ACL injury. Young tore the ligament on Nov. 14, 2021, so a return in the first week of November would still allow him to return just under a year after suffering the tear.
Washington desperately needs Young to return as quickly as he can. Entering Week 5, the Commanders’ defense ranks in the bottom half of NFL teams in pressure rate (21.1%) and it has the second-lowest hurry rate (2%) in the league. Unable to consistently generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks, it’s allowed opponents to exploit a secondary that is surrendering the fourth-highest average passer rating (105.2) in the NFL.
Getting Young back will provide a boost for the pass rush, but it’s also reasonable to expect him to be less explosive in the first few weeks of his return. Considering how things are unfolding this season, the Commanders will also need to consider Young’s long-term health and prioritize it over rushing him back in what could be a lost season.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.