Washington Football Team defensive line coach Sam Mills III spoke to the media on Monday evening. Here are four takeaways from his session on Zoom.
1) Chase Young's intelligence has jumped out
The second overall pick didn't become the second overall pick just because of his supreme physical traits. The 21-year-old is very sharp, too, and that's what Mills III has noticed in working with him so far at training camp.
"The young man is determined," Mills III said. "When we did get to see him fly around on the grass, you can tell he's been studying. ... I'm excited about his future and I'm excited about how fast he's picking everything up."
After choosing Young back in April, Ron Rivera revealed how a 15-minute Combine conversation convinced him that Young was the right choice for the franchise, because in that chat, Young's personality and focus really came through. Sounds like Mills III is seeing those same mental qualities early on, too.
2) Be ready for a rotation
Mills III is one of the team's few position coaches who can look at his section of the depth chart and call it well-stocked. Many are already labeling it with far more complimentary terms than that.
Thanks to that wealth of talent, Mills III is planning to feature everyone often instead of only a few all the time, which he believes will lead to better production from the group.
"A typical game, if we're playing good on defense, we should be on the field anywhere between 55 and 65 snaps," he said. "You don't want a guy to play all of those snaps, there's no need when we have able bodies to go along with him. So we can have a fresh rotation and everybody can get a piece."
That sounds fun for Washington and not fun for the QBs slated to face Washington.
3) Mills III is aware of the expectations for the D-line
Because of the presence of Young... and Ryan Kerrigan... and Montez Sweat... and Jonathan Allen... and Matt Ioannidis... and Daron Payne... and Tim Settle... there is a ton of pressure on the collective unit to create pressure and carry the defense to a much better 2020.
There's no need to tell that to Mills III, however. He's already acknowledging it himself.
"If we're going to lead our defense — which, hey, let's be honest, this room is supposed to lead this defense — if we're going to lead our defense, we're going to have to be accountable to everyone," he said.
Having a coach embrace that responsibility, instead of shy away from it or play it down, could set a really strong tone for all of his players.
4) There was more Tim Settle hype
Settle is usually the last name that gets mentioned by fans and analysts when discussing the line's outlook. Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio haven't hesitated to praise the third-year pro this offseason, though, and Mills III followed them on Monday with these words.
"Tim is a talented, talented young man who's got a very bright future," he said. "He's been learning from the vets and he's been very, very active in the meetings. I can't wait to get him in here and start working with him."
With the way his bosses are talking him up, don't be surprised if Settle turns out to be something far more dangerous than the reliable depth option he currently checks in as.
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