Washington Football Team rookie defensive end Chase Young left the team’s 34-20 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in the second quarter with a groin injury.
It wasn’t what Washington needed in a game it could have won; nor is it what it needs with the Baltimore Ravens up next.
Washington coach Ron Rivera said both Young and defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis will get checked out Monday to determine the extent of their injuries. Ioannidis left the game in the first half with an arm injury.
Washington hosts Baltimore next week. The team doesn’t want to lose Young for any game, but especially not one that pits it against a quarterback such as Lamar Jackson.
Young, the No. 2 overall pick in the April draft, had been what Washington hoped for in the first two games — recording 2.5 sacks and playing the run well.
Young returned to the sideline in the second half Sunday, with his right thigh heavily wrapped. Instead of delivering hits on the field late in the game, he was reduced to giving pep talks to quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Haskins had thrown three interceptions in the game; he said Young told him Young would still root for him even if “we were down 40.”
“Chase is a high-level-energy guy out there,” Rivera said. “He’s a guy who helps spark the organization.”
Which is why it would be bad if he had to miss any time. Washington’s strength is its defensive line — and the depth it boasts. On Sunday, though, without Young and Ioannidis for most of the game, Washington was reduced to only six linemen.
“The hard part is you can’t keep guys as fresh as you’d like them, and you’re constantly exposed,” Rivera said. “Our D-line played their butts off and gave us a chance, but eventually it wears you down, and that’s what happened.”
Defensive end Montez Sweat had a big day minus Young, recording a sack and four of Washington’s five hits on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Sweat forced him into an intentional grounding, as well.
“Montez showed us he’s a force to be reckoned with,” Rivera said.
But losing Young hurt, particularly his athleticism on the edge.
Young rushed Mayfield on a third-down play early in the second quarter. At the end of the play, Young appeared to be slightly affected by his leg. He walked to the locker room, where, according to the Fox broadcast, it got worse and he was quickly ruled out.
Washington does have veteran Ryan Kerrigan to replace Young. Young missed time in camp with a hip flexor.
Washington also has depth inside with Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen and Tim Settle, but Ioannidis is one of its better pass rushers. He has 1.5 sacks this season after recording 8.5 last year.
“You definitely notice it,” said Washington corner Kendall Fuller of losing two linemen. “We also have that next-man-up mentality.”
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