Willie Young is a pass rusher. More than a sack per game over the last four games. And he really doesn’t care whether you know that he’s coming on a rush or dropping back into pass coverage as a not-defensive-end (more on that in a moment).
“I’m certain they know when I’m coming,” Young deadpanned on Wednesday. “I’m usually slobbering at the mouth, nose dripping with blood, just about, so they know when I’m coming.
“They know when I’m not coming because I’m crying. Tears are coming down my face because I’m not able to rush the quarterback. So it’s very distinctive when I’m coming in and when I’m not.”
Not rushing lead to breaking out in a rash? “No rashes yet,” Young said, “but the situations haven’t called for rashes yet.”
It might. Young, a career hand-on-the-ground defensive left end, has a daily “argument” with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio that consists of a look between them when Fangio uses the “L” word – “linebacker” – to him.
As far as Young’s playful insistence on being called a defensive end, “Right, well, whatever,” Fangio said, laughing. “He’s the end man on the line of scrimmage and whether you’re in a 3-4, 4-3 or nickel; there’s a ton of carryover.”
Longtime end Jared Allen had the starting outside right linebacker spot to open the season and even started the first three games there before conceding he couldn’t play the position and asking for a trade. After the situation bottomed out in Seattle, the Bears obliged and sent him to the Carolina Panthers.
Young, on the other hand, has more than successfully made the transition from that straight 4-3 defensive end to “that other position,” he said, smiling as he refuses to use the “L” word referring to himself. And grudgingly, he admits that the move has made him a better football player.
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“In all honesty, yes,” Young said. “Just understanding what the secondary goes through, based on what kind of routes, why the quarterback is able to get rid of the ball so fast, understanding the coverage on the back side of it reinforces me when I’m in the rush.
“I don’t have time to play around. I’ve got to get to where I’ve got to go right now because if I’m not, that ball is coming out fast and I’m not even giving myself a chance to help the team and help my secondary with the coverage and the rush.”