Rivera believes this tendency is hurting Young's production


Ron Rivera spent much of his bye week evaluating his 2-6 team as a whole, but he also took time to hone in on Chase Young specifically. And in order to understand what Young needs to do better in Washington's final nine contests of the 2021 season, Rivera reviewed how the pass rusher handled the 2020 campaign.

That exercise led him to one important conclusion about a subtlety in Young's game that he's currently missing. In a Monday press conference, Rivera shared that conclusion.

"One of the things that was really prevalent [from Young's 2020 film] was you can see him sticking to the edge a little bit longer before he ducked inside," Rivera said.

So, why does that matter?

The second-year version of Young, according to the coach, is diving inside "a little too much" and too early on certain snaps. In doing so, he's providing opposing quarterbacks a simple path for escape, since he's not keeping contain on the edge.

If Young were more measured, as Rivera outlined to Washington Football Team contributor Mike Silver last week, he'd more often find himself in position for "an easy sack" because the quarterback would be more confined in the pocket. After finishing with 7.5 sacks last season, Young has just 1.5 thus far.

Rivera went on to explain that he and Young had a conversation about the flaw on Monday, where Rivera reminded the former second overall pick to stop pressing so much.


"'I know you want to make plays, but the thing you've got to do is you've got to be patient, be disciplined and let the plays come to you,'" Rivera told Young.

Staying in the right lane when he's attacking a signal-caller, while crucial, isn't the only thing separating Young from consistent production. 

Rivera would also prefer Young to be more physical when an opponent chooses to use a tight end or running back to chip him. As he put it, he'd "love to see him run through that guy a few more times."

The presence of those chippers also speaks to a larger truth: Young is at the center of the game plan for Washington's foes. That factor has contributed to No. 99's disappointing numbers up to this point.

"He's become the focus of a lot of the offenses that we play," Rivera said. "People have adjusted to him."

With Montez Sweat set to miss at least a month with a broken jaw, Young will only attract further attention. Rivera acknowledged that on Monday. 

Yet even as he highlighted where Young is struggling, Rivera made sure to emphasize that the 22-year-old's approach has been at the level it should be.

"He's been tremendous about it," Rivera said. "These are hard knocks, these are hard lessons, but that's how you become better... I believe this young man is going to have a great career."

After what Young pulled off as a rookie, everyone was in agreement with that last sentence from Rivera. Some, however, are no longer as sure about it.

But if Young can slow down just a little on the field, maybe that'll convince his critics to slow down, too.