ASHBURN, Va. – The Washington football team got the news they feared: defensive end Chase Young finished this season.
Washington coach Ron Rivera confirmed the news Monday during his weekly video conference.
Rivera did not specify the exact nature of the injury, referring to it as a leg injury. But sources told ESPN on Sunday that team officials feared Young had suffered a torn ACL.
Young will undergo surgery to repair his knee. It’s a tough end to a somewhat tough season for Young, who only had 1.5 sacks a season after winning Defensive Rookie of the Year.
“It’s definitely sad,” Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said. “It’s going to be tough, but knowing Chase’s personality, knowing the way he works and the type of person he is, he will come back stronger than ever.”
Young suffered the injury with 7 minutes, 49 seconds left in the second quarter when he rushed quarterback Tom Brady on a third-and-two. Young fell to the ground without much contact and writhed in pain.
When the car hit the field, Young turned it down and opted to limp more than 30 yards into the tunnel, with the help of teammate Brandon Scherff for part of the walk and then with the athletic trainers.
Washington already had a starting defensive end disadvantage, as Montez Sweat suffered a broken jaw Oct. 31 in Denver. You will miss another three to five weeks. Casey Toohill and James Smith-Williams will start in the final standings with rookie Shaka Toney as the main backup. Smith-Williams and Toohill are in their second season. All three are seventh-round picks that replace first-round picks.
“They’re big and athletic and they can move,” Rivera said of Young and Sweat. “Those guys are hard to find.”
Rivera said they liked how Young had been playing the run and were excited to see him this week after what they considered solid practices, especially as a pass rusher.
“He had some good moments early in the game. It was promising,” Rivera said. “Now you lose the threat of that type of player going over the edge. We have a couple of workers who have a chance. We’ll see how they handle it.”
He said Washington could also end up bombing more to build edge pressure. You can also create inner pressure with Allen and fellow tackles Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis. Allen leads Washington with six sacks.
Young, the second pick in the 2020 draft, was also a captain and had become an energetic leader for Washington.
“It’s hard to see a guy like that fall for us,” Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin said. “He is a dominant player for us. He is a leader for us.”
Last season, Young won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors by recording 7.5 sacks. In the second half of last season, he had four sacks, forced three fumbles and recovered three. He installed other pass rushers with his pressure. This season, the coaches wanted him to improve his careers, from eliminating stutters to staying in his area. But they also saw Young become a vocal presence.
“That’s one of the things you want, a guy who doesn’t just say something, but at some point he’ll make an impact play,” Rivera said. “That’s the hard part you have to replace … Someone will have to step up.”