The Washington Commanders have won two straight and are now firmly in the playoff mix. Washington received more good this past week when they elevated star pass rusher Chase Young to the 53-man roster. Young, who has been out since tearing his ACL last November, will have to wait another week to make his return, however, as an illness will keep him out of Sunday's game against the Falcons, as reported by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
Young was labeled as questionable for Sunday's game after being a limited participant in practice all week.
Young sustained his knee injury vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year on Nov. 14. His 2021 campaign was not as great as his rookie season, as the former Ohio State star recorded just 1.5 sacks in nine games played before his ACL tear. The former AP Defensive Rookie of the Year burst onto the scene in 2020, leading all rookies in sacks (7.5) and tackles for loss (10) and finishing tied for first in forced fumbles (four).
Young told CBS Sports back in February that he learned about his own inner strength during his journey on the road to recovery, and that he wants to return to the playing field better than ever.
"I'm a lot stronger than I thought," said Young. "I've never had an injury like this before, and I know what it's going to take to get back. I've talked to [former Washington LB] Thomas Davis [Sr.] and other people who have torn their ACLs. Some people not just once, but multiple times. I'm ready to take on that challenge and come back even better."
James Smith-Williams will continue to fill in for Young in the starting lineup. A seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Williams has two sacks, 12 quarterback hits and four tackles for loss this season. He had 2.5 sacks, five quarterback hits and four tackles for loss in 14 games (and six starts) last season.
Despite Young's absence, Washington currently boasts the NFL's 12th ranked scoring defense, sixth against the run and third in third down efficiency. The defense has been led by defensive linemen Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, who have each tallied 6.5 sacks this season. Washington has also received solid play from safety Darrick Forest, who leads the team with three interceptions and two forced fumbles.