The Washington Commanders will get added firepower to their already impressive defense this weekend.
First-round defensive end Chase Young will make his season debut Saturday in San Francisco against the 49ers.
He has not played since Nov. 14, 2021, when he suffered a torn ACL against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The return may be too little too late as the Commanders’ playoff hopes took a huge dive after their 20-12 loss to the New York Giants Sunday night. With the loss, they now are on the outside looking in at a playoff spot.
However, it’s better late than never, especially for the second overall pick from the 2020 NFL Draft.
He was a Pro Bowler his rookie season while also winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award by a wide margin.
The Ohio State grad has started all 24 games he has played, racking up 9.0 sacks in his career, 7.5 of them in 2020. He’s forced six fumbles and recovered three. He also returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown his rookie season.
Young’s return comes later than some may have expected. Some thought he would return for the Commanders’ Week 13 matchup against the Giants. But with the bye week following, many assumed the extra rest wouldn’t hurt. When he didn’t return last weekend, though, it raised some eyebrows.
Washington activated Young to the 53-man roster Nov. 22.
GIANTS STOP COMMANDERS’ LAST-MINUTE DRIVE TO INCREASE PLAYOFF CHANCES; WASHINGTON’S POSTSEASON HOPES SHRINK
“The biggest thing we want to see is where he consistently cuts it loose,” head coach Ron Rivera said at the time. “We want to make sure he’s confident, no hesitation. … You start to see it, especially when he’s not thinking about it. I watch it very closely and every now and then check to make sure it’s fine. We want to make sure because the last thing we want is for him to get back out there and hurt it again.”
Washington has 34 sacks in 14 games this season, 15th in the league. But they have only recorded two in their last three games, two of which were against the Giants.
The 7-6-1 Commanders and 10-4 Niners kick off at 4:05 p.m. ET Saturday.
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