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Want to hear something scary? Chase Young believes he can get much better

Want to hear something scary? Chase Young believes he can get much better

Chase Young earned a lot of labels leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, but one of the phrases used most to describe him was "complete player."

Young himself, though, seems to disagree with that assessment. During a Zoom call with local reporters on Monday, the defensive end indicated he's far from a finished product.

"I go back and look at all the mistakes I made in college on film," Young said. "It's a lot of stuff that I can correct. It's a lot of stuff. I can definitely get better."

That's an idea that many players, both college and pro, express all the time. But when Young was explaining where he needs to improve, it felt genuine. In fact, he had a whole mental list of skills that he's expecting to develop further, suggesting he's already studied himself extensively.

"My hands can definitely get better," he said. "My hips can definitely get better. My first step can. Hand placement in the run game can get better. It's a lot of stuff I got in my head that I'm focused on and I'm working on just so I can do better in the league than I did in college."

Young clearly watches himself and is aware of what he can do now and what he needs to do more of in the future. That hints at the maturity that Ron Rivera, Urban Meyer and others have noted he possesses. 

The 21-year-old also draws inspiration from some of the NFL's most lethal defenders, however, a habit he picked up at Ohio State.

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Back in Columbus, Young would ask his position coach, Larry Johnson, to put every NFL sack from the most recent week of action in a folder so he could digest them. He also requested film of Von Miller, Khalil Mack and the Bosa brothers, choosing those four menaces for obvious reasons.

Young feels like watching Nick and Joey, two former OSU stars, was particularly useful. 

"They took our technique to the NFL," he said. "I watched them a lot just to see if it's working on the next level. And, obviously, it's working on the next level."

Soon, it'll be Young's turn to try and make it work on the next level. The Redskins' No. 2 overall selection will face a lot of pressure to create pressure for Washington and deliver on all of the hype that surrounds him.

Yet it sure doesn't appear like he'll be paying too much attention to all of that noise. That's for others to care about. While outsiders discuss grand things like Pro Bowls and division titles, he intends to hone in on the little things like his hand placement and footwork.

And if everything pays off, he'll be a better Redskin than he was Buckeye. That's a fun thought for the franchise's fans, and a scary one for opposing offensive linemen.

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Ron Rivera might not say it outright but it sounds like Washington is Dwayne Haskins' team

Ron Rivera might not say it outright but it sounds like Washington is Dwayne Haskins' team

Ron Rivera refuses to name Dwayne Haskins the starting quarterback for the Washington Football Team, but listening to the coach's comments about the second-year passer, it sure sounds like it's Haskins job. 

"He’s done a great job of studying, preparing and getting himself ready for this. He’s been great," Rivera said Tuesday morning. "He’s been on the field, doing the things we’ve asked of him. He’s done the extra stuff that he and I talked about in the offseason. He’s done the things that, I think, puts him right there where he needs to be at this junction of where we are in our training, having only been able to do zoom and now only having four days of work on the field."

Much has been made about veteran QB Alex Smith's return from injury. 

Smith's story has been incredible, working his way back from a compound fracture in his leg and 17 surgeries as his body was ravaged by infection. Now Smith is able to work out with trainers at the Washington practice facilities for multiple days without setbacks. It's a remarkable story. 

But there are still major hurdles for Smith to get back on the field, not the least of which is clearing a football physical from the Washington doctors.

"For him, it’s really just a matter of, can he do the movements he needs to do?" Rivera said. "Can he protect himself when he’s on the field more so than anything else?"

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There's another important element to point out and that's the advantage - real or perceived - that Kyle Allen has over Haskins.

Allen started nine games for Rivera and new Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner last season in Carolina, and found some success. The Panthers won Allen's first four starts, and in those games, he threw no interceptions. Conversely, Carolina lost the last six games Allen started and he threw 11 picks in those contests. 

RELATED: RIVERA PLEASANTLY SURPRISED BY ALEX SMITH IN CAMP

Earlier this offseason Rivera suggested that Allen could have a "leg up" on Haskins based on knowledge of Turner's system. Asked on Tuesday if Haskins still trailed in that department, Rivera did not seem concerned. 

"I don’t think Dwayne is very far behind, I really don’t."

Rivera wants open competition across his football team. No player gets named starter, rather that player earns the job. Sure sounds like Haskins is doing just that when it comes to the starting quarterback spot. 

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With the way Alex Smith has looked so far, Ron Rivera 'can envision' him being in the quarterback mix

With the way Alex Smith has looked so far, Ron Rivera 'can envision' him being in the quarterback mix

Positive reports about Alex Smith's early training camp performance came out over the weekend, and on a Tuesday morning Zoom call with the media, Ron Rivera echoed those reviews.

"He's looked good, he really has," the head coach said. "I'll be honest, I was pleasantly surprised to see how far along he is. It's been exciting to watch his progression."

According to Rivera, Smith has been working off to the side with Washington Football Team trainers at the Ashburn facility and is mirroring what Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen are doing, too. Coordinator Scott Turner and QBs coach Ken Zampese are apparently involving Smith as much as they can, and Smith is looking "very fluid" so far.

"It's a tribute to who he is, it's a tribute to his trainers and his doctors who have helped him get where he is today," Rivera said.

That all, of course, is wildly encouraging. The fact that the 36-year-old is in a place where he can check off those boxes and do those activities is astounding. That can't be pointed out enough, either.

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Yet it's also fair to note just how different mimicking a starting signal caller and actually serving as the starting signal caller are. So, is there any real chance of Smith transitioning from that first phase to the second before the season? 

With what he's seen from the veteran so far, Rivera certainly believes there is.

"I can envision it," he said. "The big thing is if he can do the things that we need him to do, that he needs to do to help himself on the football field, he'll be part of the conversation most definitely. He did some really good things last week. He went through all four workout days, had no residual effect the next morning, which is always important because the next day usually tells.

"We'll see how he is this week and we'll go from there."

As Smith continues to rehab and try to make his way off PUP, the challenges are solely physical. Rivera is not worried at all about the veteran having to adjust to a new scheme or dealing with any other mental task; instead, the primary concern is ensuring that Smith can handle the contact that'll come if he makes it back into live action.

"I believe he already knows probably 75-percent of our playbook," Rivera said. "So for him, it's really just a matter of can he do the movements he needs to do? Can he protect himself when he's on the field?"

It feels like every time Smith is brought up, he's taken another step. The next one, however — going from the PUP list to the huddle — is particularly daunting.

But at this point, it's gotten pretty difficult to imagine anything being particularly daunting for Alex Smith. So don't be that floored if he makes it happen. Rivera clearly won't be. 

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