Go back and check the transcripts from the spring and Washington Football Team coaches Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio clearly liked third-year defensive tackle Tim Settle. 

The question then was how much playing time would be available for Settle. 

The question now, however, is how much time can Settle handle. 

Washington's defensive line equation changed dramatically last Sunday in Cleveland when Matt Ioannidis went down with a torn bicep. He's likely out for the year. Beyond that, Ryan Anderson and Chase Young sustained injuries, and even though both are edge rushers, it still impacts the defensive line rotation. 

The football team still boasts Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat on the front, not to mention veteran Ryan Kerrigan, although he missed Wednesday's practice with an undisclosed illness. Still, Kerrigan has a long, proven track record in the NFL.

This is the first chance for Settle to prove he can be a difference maker for a prolonged period of time. 

"“I’m excited for him," Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said of Settle.

"We think he’s a good player. He just happens to be stuck behind three really talented guys. Obviously with Matt going down, he’s going to get a chance to play a little bit more."

Settle's playing time increased the last six games of the 2019 season, though he never got more than 28 snaps in that stretch. The team was also playing a 3-4 base defense, whereas now Del Rio deploys a 4-3. Before his injury, Ioannidis was averaging 36 snaps per game this season under Del Rio. 


Put simply, there will be more opportunities for Settle to showcase now, and plenty around the team believe he's ready for the chase. 

"It’s up to him to take advantage of it. But, I like the way he’s working," Del Rio said. "I’ve liked the way he’s worked at it the whole way long. I’m excited for him to get this opportunity to get out there and play more.”

Remarkably, Settle is in his third NFL season. He's played in 34 NFL games. And he's just 23 years old. 

His first year in the pros was learning the speed of the game and beginning to change his body. Last year he showed flashes. This year he has real opportunity. 

A fifth-round pick in 2015, Ioannidis had fought and earned his way to a major role on the Washington defense, particularly by showing his ability to provide interior pass rush. 

Settle was a fifth-round pick in 2018. Let's watch what happens next.