Washington Football Team star pass rusher Chase Young returned to Ashburn for the club's first day of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, and it didn't take long for him to realize the potential of Washington's defense.
"I feel like, if you look on paper, we can be the top defense in the league," Young told local media via Zoom following practice. "Now we've just got to do it."
While that might seem like a lofty goal for Washington, it's certainly one that is doable.
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio's unit finished in the top 5 in almost every major defensive statistical category one year ago. Then this offseason, the defense added multiple pieces -- free agent William Jackson III, top draft pick Jamin Davis, and Bobby McCain, among others -- that should only make the group better.
The only thing that might prevent Washington's defense from being an elite unit in 2021, barring injuries, of course, is the team's difficult schedule. Washington is set to face several of the sport's best quarterbacks this fall, including Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Josh Allen. Regardless of how talented the defense might be, limiting all those QBs is a tall task.
None of that scares Young, though.
"You've got to have a vision. You've got to be working towards something," Young said. "It's called manifestation."
Tuesday's practice marked the first time Young practiced with his new teammates. The 22-year-old skipped out on the team's voluntary OTAs the past couple of weeks due to other commitments.
Although he wasn't present for such sessions, Young was in constant communication with his coaches and said he was in and out of the building throughout the offseason. Additionally, Young continued to train on his own and arrived for minicamp in excellent shape.
"They know I've been working. My teammates, they know I've been working," Young said. "Everybody knows I'm locked in."
Washington head coach Ron Rivera was asked what it was like seeing Young back on the field after missing OTAs, and Washington's boss raved about his young star. Rivera didn't seem to have any issues with Young not being present for OTAs.
"He looked good. He really did. He came out and practiced with a lot of energy," Rivera said. "He was flying around. ... It was good to have Chase out there."