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Chase Young is starting to reach his elite potential
Breaking down the performance and development of Commanders DE Chase Young
In his rookie year, Young relied too much on just his speed and athleticism on the edge or his favorite stutter move, but they became predictable and tackles learned how to counter that. Now, Young has multiple ways of beating a tackle, meaning they can’t just focus in on one or two moves. That in turn increases the effectiveness of each move, including the rushes that used to get him in trouble.
Now if you’ve read any of my previous articles on Chase Young, you’ll know that I wasn’t a fan of his stutter step move, which has always been a favorite of his. The stutter move is one that Young uses with the intent to get the tackle to stop his feet and create a disconnect between the tackle’s hands and feet, allowing Young to then either fire his hands and win leverage or burst outside faster than the tackle can restart his feet. It’s a move that definitely has its place as part of an arsenal of moves, but Young used to go to it far too often. Tackles could then anticipate it and use it against him to shut him down.
But now, Young has a lot more variety in his pass rush as we’ve established. That means he can now weave in his stutter move less frequently and see it become much more effective. As we can see in the clip above, Young uses the stutter move to get Eagles left tackle Jordan Mailata to stop his feet and hands. Mailata is an athletic tackle, but it’s hard for any tackle to stop and start their feet again and Young is able to dip low and burst past him on his way to a sack.
On the second play of the clip, we see Young use the stutter against Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews. By getting Matthews to pause, Young can throw his inside hand and land a punch to Matthews chest before suddenly bursting outside again. Matthews is left almost stunned by the combination and tries to cut off Young with his outside arm, but Young simply swats that aside and turns the corner, generating significant pressure on what was just a simple three step drop.
The Washington Commanders’ struggles in pass protection this season have been well-documented. Their offensive line has given up an astonishing 40 sacks through the first seven games, on pace to shatter both franchise and league records for sacks taken in a single season.
Some of the blame falls squarely on offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who seems unable to scheme up play calls and concepts to help mitigate the team’s glaring issues across the protection.
Some of the blame surely lies with the Commanders’ young quarterback Sam Howell, who is clearly having a problem holding onto the ball too long and struggling to find open receivers before pressure inevitably arrives.
Most of the blame, however, can be chalked up to the consistently subpar performance of Washington’s offensive line.
Howell has been under constant duress in every game this season. Washington’s porous offensive line regularly fails to hold up long enough for the young signal-caller to even get rid of the ball.
After seven weeks, fans have more than seen enough of the Commanders current collection up front.
Though the same five have started in all but one game this season, their suboptimal play has Howell getting hit or sacked almost every time he drops back to pass.
Ironically, the very players Washington signed to bolster the unit this offseason are the ones struggling the most. Two of the Commanders’ biggest free-agent additions this summer were center Nick Gates and right tackle Andrew Wylie - both have been particularly weak links.
Washington spent a third-round pick on Arkansas center Ricky Stromberg in this year’s draft. The promising rookie finally got some extended game action this past Sunday while filling in at left guard for an injured Saahdiq Charles.
Stromberg ended up playing 22 offensive snaps against the New York Giants. He allowed just one pressure while looking generally competent in his limited duty.
The rookie should no doubt receive more opportunities for playing time. Especially if Charles misses any extended time with yet another health issue.
There’s a strong argument to be made that Washington had its most complete game against the Eagles in Week 4. They’ll have a chance to replicate that on Sunday, but despite taking the Eagles into overtime, the Commanders know that they’re still going to be a challenge.
“They’re doing a good job and they’re doing a good job up front, obviously they have all those guys up front and I could sit here all day and name all those guys that they have. They have so much talent up there up front, and they have good players in the secondary.”
And they know that just because they played well a few weeks ago doesn’t guarantee the same results on Sunday.
— Howell was asked several questions about taking too many sacks for the seven games, and obviously, he’s as frustrated as everyone else is about it. One of the most popular suggestions is for the Commanders to get Howell moving outside of the pocket. That might work at times, but there are some limitations that come with that decision.
“When you kind of go out there on the perimeter, it limits what all you can do as far as like route combinations and stuff like that where you kind of got to have the right look to run those types of plays. It’s harder to get the right look every single time. Obviously, we did a good job in the game, and we were seeing a lot of man coverage, so we kind of knew a lot of those route combinations would be good. But it’s just kind of a throughout the game thing, you like to sprinkle in some movements every now and then just to try to keep the defense off balance.”
Terry McLaurin’s success against the Eagles
Terry McLaurin is also one of the NFL’s best wide receivers despite playing with over 10 quarterbacks in five NFL seasons. McLaurin also loves playing the Eagles, as he has 53 receptions for 784 yards and three receiving touchdowns vs. Philadelphia. In the first game, McLaurin caught eight passes for 86 yards and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. In overtime, McLaurin made a catch on the sideline that was ruled incomplete. It was a controversial call. Washington would have to punt, and the Eagles would kick the game-winning field goal.
The Washington Commanders announced DT Phidarian Mathis will return to practice and they have opened the 21-day window for his return.
OCT 25 WASHINGTON COMMANDERS START CLOCK ON DEFENSIVE TACKLE
2022 second round NFL Draft pick and defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis has missed every game this regular season due to a calf injury.
On Wednesday the team announced it has opened the 21-day window for Mathis to return off of injured reserve and will resume practice this week.
In the past there are several occasions where a player has returned to practice and the active roster in the same week, so there’s at least an outside chance Mathis plays for the Commanders this weekend when they host the Philadelphia Eagles.
Pro Football Focus
21. Washington Commanders (Down 3)
Projected Week 8 starters:
- LT Charles Leno Jr.
- LG Ricky Stromberg
- C Nick Gates
- RG Sam Cosmi
- RT Andrew Wylie
- Left guard Saahdiq Charles exited in Week 7 against the Giants due to a strained calf and was replaced by Ricky Stromberg.
- The Commanders allowed three sacks against the Giants, tied for the most among offensive lines in Week 7. As a result, the unit’s pass-blocking efficiency rating ranked just 24th out of 26 teams this week.
Best player: Charles Leno Jr.
- Leno is allowing pressure on 4.9% of pass plays in 2023, which ranks 22nd among tackles.
Podcasts & videos
Episode 685 - Guest: @MarkBullockNFL. Film breakdown .— Al Galdi (@AlGaldi) October 25, 2023
- why Chase Young should be extended & not traded
- the truth about the sacks & EB's game plan for #WASvsNYG
- insight on Sam Howell
I also talk revealing metrics for #Commanders WRs & #CapsLeafs.https://t.co/Lzd5Wuz3AV
Andrew Brandt on the NFL trade deadline with Kevin Sheehan
NFC East links
Pro Football Talk
The Eagles have officially disclosed nothing before, during, or after Sunday night’s game about a Jalen Hurts knee injury
It became obvious early in Sunday night’s game between the Dolphins and Eagles that something was bothering Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts. He simply didn’t have the burst or acceleration that he usually has. By the second half, he had a brace on his knee.
After the game, coach Nick Sirianni created the impression that the injury happened during the game, by saying that Hurts “played the rest of the game.” In a Wednesday session with reporters, Hurts reiterated that “it didn’t happen in the game.” (He said the same thing on Sunday night.)
So here’s the question. When did it happen? And why was nothing ever disclosed about any injury to Hurts?
There was no disclosure before the game. There was no disclosure during the game. Today, in the first injury report in advance of the Week 8 game against the Eagles, there was no disclosure regarding any injury whatsoever to one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
omething was clearly up with Hurts. The Eagles disclosed nothing about any knee injury. They still haven’t, even though both Sirianni and Hurts have openly acknowledged its existence.
The former lineman has certainly earned the distinction
Nothing against Ware, who was phenomenal, but it wasn’t that long ago when Jones made it sound like there were plans to induct Johnson soon. The two-time Super Bowl & NCAA National Championship-winning coach was enshrined with the class of 2020, yet three years later, he’s still waiting on Jones to green-light his Ring of Honor ceremony.
Fans, players, analysts, reporters, and pretty much anyone aware of the situation continue to wonder when it’ll happen for Jimmy. The simple answer is likely, not while Jones still roams the planet. Jones has been asked about it more than once over the years, and more recently, he’s been open to the idea but still hasn’t set anything in motion.
On the surface, they play nicely and are fine interacting with each other now, but it’s obvious Jones still holds a bit of a grudge toward Johnson. It’s almost like he’s holding out on inducting Jimmy until he can prove to the world that his organization can win it all with a team that wasn’t built by Johnson. Dallas won a third Super Bowl in the 90s after Johnson departed, but that team still had Johnson’s fingerprints all over it.
NFL league links
The NFL is getting a hybrid field for its two games in Frankfurt next month, a year after players complained about slipping on the natural grass in Munich.
The hybrid surface was installed last weekend at Deutsche Bank Park ahead of the Nov. 5 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins. The New England Patriots will then play the Indianapolis Colts at the same stadium a week later.
After the NFL’s first-ever regular-season game in Germany, players and coaches from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks complained about the surface at Allianz Arena, the home of Bundesliga soccer champions Bayern Munich. The game caused enough damage that the grass had to be replaced afterward.
Hybrid surfaces are widely used across Europe in soccer stadiums. Systems vary, but the fields are generally 90% or more of natural grass with synthetic fibers woven into them as reinforcement. Liverpool’s pitch installed at Anfield in 2022 is 95% natural grass.
Playing surfaces have been a hot topic since Week 1 when Aaron Rodgers tore his left Achilles tendon in his debut with the New York Jets.
The NFL said it collaborates with the host stadium “to ensure that the game field is in the best possible condition and is in compliance with the NFL mandatory practices.”
Indianapolis Colts owner wanted to share good news with his team’s fans and didn’t check with the league
Mistakes from umpires, referees, and officials happen all the time. That’s the human error risk every athlete takes when competing in sports. It’s better than having robots mediate sports right? Well, I guess unless you’re Angel Hernandez. Having an NFL owner share on his personal X account discussions he’s had with league officials about wrong calls is something new, however, as Colts headman Jim Irsay did this week. It might be sour grapes, but it definitely is unconventional.
The NFL communicates with teams on a weekly basis about various calls. Team officials are prohibited from commenting publicly on those discussions. Now, a team owner has publicly said the league admitted to officiating mistakes. Stay tuned …— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 25, 2023
[T]he NFL likely would’ve put out some sort of statement refuting the message if it weren’t true. The NFL privately admitting to not making the correct calls at the end of last week’s Colts-Browns game is the big news. Whether or not they understand it isn’t important since mistakes of a similar vein will happen again. Until major action prevents that, “understanding it” is akin to a Republican member of Congress giving “thoughts and prayers” after a horrific event.