In a season of ups and downs in Washington, Chase Young has been a perpetual spot of brightness for the team.
Maybe the best example of Young's impact came on Sunday, when the rookie was named a team captain after Dwayne Haskins was stripped of the honor earlier in the week. Just 14 games into his NFL career Young was awarded a prestigious leadership position, and though it may seem like it came quickly, head coach Ron Rivera has seen enough from the defensive end to know that it was the right choice.
To Rivera, it begins with the attitude Young displays in the locker room, on the sidelines and in the huddle each and every day.
“Because of the way he brings this energy to us as a football team, the way he handles who he is, there is an infectiousness to it and his teammates feed off of it," Rivera said to NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay. "That’s the thing that has been impressive to me.”
Anyone that has watched Young play this year has seen how energetic he is throughout a game. Whenever the camera finds him, he's either jumping around or working to get his teammates to his level of hype. Doesn't matter the score or scenario, Young is always locked in and enjoying himself.
Yet what Rivera also sees is what Young's energy and celebrations stem from. The defensive end isn't just bouncing up and down after he makes a big play, he's carrying the same attitude when anyone on Washington does something positive.
Sure he loves to be the one getting the sacks and fumbles, but when Montez Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan or Jonathan Allen is the one making the play, Young is one of the first to share in the excitement.
“When those guys make plays, he’s genuinely happy for those guys, you know what I’m saying?" Rivera said. "Because of that, his teammates see how selfless he is.”
It's that mentality from Young that really sold Rivera on the captaincy. But, it also helps that the rookie is really, really good at football.
“Then he goes out and plays the way he does, especially the last probably third of the season," Rivera said. "He started like gangbusters, got slow for a while because he had to figure it out, now he’s figuring it out and this last third of the season has been what we needed.”
“You sit there and go ‘wow,'" Rivera said.
Young has left a clear impression on his head coach, with his performance on and off the field making it easy for Rivera to see him as a leader of the team.
Based on the reaction the announcement of his captaincy got, Rivera knows that plenty of others see Young in the same light.
“It’s interesting because I think when he noticed it I could hear him in the locker room, how fired up and excited he was and his teammates were for him," Rivera said. "That was pretty cool.”
For Young himself, being named a team captain was truly a moment he will cherish. Now, his only goal is to continue on the path that has gotten him to where he is now.
He's happy with what has been accomplished, but the work is nowhere near done.
“It’s an honor man, I mean. Only thing that gives me is just motivation just to keep going and keep doing everything right and keep playing hard," Young said.