It's hard not to be disappointed with the start to the season that the Washington Commanders have had. A 3-4 record doesn't look miserable, but considering two losses were to the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, it's not good.
Bright spots have been few and far between. The defense entered the year with a lot of hype but hasn't lived up to it. One player that's tried to reverse their fortunes is Chase Young.
The 2020 second-overall draft pick came into the season with much less fanfare than usual.
A strong rookie campaign was followed by a rough 2021 that saw Young appear in just nine games before his season ended early due to injury. He played even less in 2022, appearing in three games.
With the numbers nonexistent in 12 games over the last two seasons, Young had fallen out of favor with a lot of Washington fans.
Six games into his 2023 season, Young is the most dynamic player on the Commanders' defense.
Chase Young has already racked up 14 tackles (six for loss) and a pass deflection. Meanwhile, his five sacks and nine QB hits are both second on the team (behind Montez Sweat, who has 5.5 sacks and 10 QB hits in seven games).
Young is starting to look like the player Washington assumed they were getting back in 2020. He's constantly attacking the quarterback and giving offensive linemen nightmares.
The Commanders are in a tough spot when it comes to Young and Sweat. They are due for new contracts this offseason, and it's hard to imagine the team shelling out the dough to pay both. It's good to see that the duo is making the decision difficult, though.
We've seen Montez Sweat be a constant threat for Washington's defense in recent years. However, Chase Young was in danger of becoming a great "what if" story.
The Commanders are having a disappointing 2023, but a few bright spots are shining through. Chase Young evolving into an absolute terror on the defensive line gives the tiniest glimmer of hope that the defense (and, in turn, the team) can still figure things out.