The Washington Commanders got more good news on Monday.
Head coach Ron Rivera announced that Pro Bowl defensive end Chase Young has been activated to the 53-man roster ahead of Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. Young hasn’t played since tearing tearing the ACL in his right knee in Week 9 last season against the Tampa Bay Bucanneers.
The 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year returns to a team that’s won five of its last six games to improve to 6-5. His promotion doesn’t guarantee that he’ll play on Sunday, but it’s a step on the right direction.
“We’ll work him with the intent of — if he’s ready to play he’ll play, and if he’s not he’ll wait another week,” Rivera told reporters.
Young joined the Commanders in 2020 as the No. 2 pick out of Ohio State with the expectation that he would star as difference-making pass rusher. He tallied 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and 12 quarterback hits as a rookie en route to Pro Bowl honors and the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. His 2021 season was cut short by the ACL injury, and he hasn’t played since.
The Commanders are now in the NFC playoff hunt thanks to a recent hot stretch that’s included wins over the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and the previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles. They’ll face the Falcons on Sunday before critical consecutive games against the NFC East Rival New York Giants, who fell to 7-3 on Sunday with a loss to the Detroit Lions.
Young bolsters a defense that ranks sixth in yards and 12th in points allowed per game. Jonathan Allen (6.5 sacks), Daron Payne (6.5 sacks) and Montez Sweat (6 sacks) anchor a unit that ranks 10th in the league with 29 sacks in 11 games.