Expectations were high for Washington Football Team pass rusher Chase Young entering 2021. The rising second-year pro was coming off a Pro Bowl season where he was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year. He was ready to take another big step forward.
Unfortunately for Young, things did not go as planned in 2021. The 22-year-old registered just 1.5 sacks in nine games before a knee injury prematurely ended his campaign, bringing a disappointing sophomore season to a close.
After an excellent debut, why did Young have a sophomore slump? Former Washington pass rusher Charles Mann, who ranks third all-time in sacks in franchise history with 82, has an idea.
"I think Chase Young got overwhelmed. He started believing the press clippings," Mann said during an appearance on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies on Wednesday.
"You've got to build a rapport. If you want to be the best, then just quietly do your job," Mann said. "Don't start talking, because all of a sudden, everybody's going to start looking out for him. The next thing you know, it was tough."
What Mann is specifically referring to are the comments that Young, along with some of his fellow defensive teammates, made this offseason on the expectations for the defense in 2021. During minicamp, Young said the unit had the potential to be the NFL's best -- which didn't seem unachievable after Jack Del Rio's group finished top five in almost every major statistical category in 2020.
The hype didn't stop there, either. During training camp, fellow pass rusher Montez Sweat said that he and Young's goal for 2021 was to break the combined sack record by two players in one season, a total of 39 set by Vikings duo of Chris Doleman and Keith Millard in 1989.
Both Young and Sweat missed multiple games this season due to injury, but the duo combined for just 6.5 sacks in 2021. For comparison, Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen registered nine sacks this season by himself.
Before Young got injured, one of the biggest tendencies the pass rusher had was rushing too far outside. This allowed quarterbacks to step up in the pocket and avoid Young's rush altogether, as No. 99 would practically take himself out of the play. Many felt that Young relied too much on his athleticism and speed when rushing the QB, rather than using an arsenal of different pass rush moves.
Mann offered his services to come help Young and the rest of the Burgundy and Gold's pass rushers should they want it. He knows what it takes to make a big jump in your third NFL season after going from seven sacks with Washington in 1984 to 14 in 1985. Mann even volunteered his former teammate Dexter Manley -- who ranks second on WFT's all-time sack list behind Ryan Kerrigan -- to come help as well.
"Dexter Manley and I are still in the community. We're still here. If they need our help, we'd love to go out there and help," Mann said. "I'd love to go out there and show them some stuff."
Mann specifically mentioned teaching Young and Washington's pass rushers his signature club move, which he self-proclaimed to be similar to the great Reggie White's hook move.
"I want to see the club. [They] need to pull out some club moves, the famous move I had," Mann said.
Whether Mann ultimately helps out Young, Sweat and the rest of Washington's pass rushers or not, no one can deny his passion for his former team.
"I would do it in a heartbeat," Mann said. "I love the team. I would love to support them."