commanders big lift playoff push chase young

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It has been a long road back for Washington Commanders pass rusher Chase Young, but he is set to make his 2022 season debut on Saturday against the San Francisco 49ers.

Young, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has been sidelined since Nov. 14 of last year when he tore the ACL and ruptured the patella tendon in his right knee. 

He was cleared to return to practice in early November of this season but has not played in a game more than a calendar year. 

Young posted this picture on his Instagram on Thursday, showing just how far along he has come since suffering the injury. 

It is expected that Young will be kept on a snap count initially that could be as low as 10 or 15 snaps as he works his way back to game speed. But even that should be a big list for a Commanders team that is desperately fighting to make the playoffs in the NFC. 

Young looked like a rising superstar during his rookie season, recording 7.5 sacks, forcing four fumbles, recovering three, and also defending four passes. He took a little bit of a step backwards in his rookie season prior to the injury, but he is still an enormous talent with huge potential when healthy.

The Commanders already have a very good defensive line with Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen, and Montez Sweat all registering at least seven sacks this season entering Saturday’s game. Adding somebody with Young’s talent and ability to that group gives them yet another pass rushing asset. 

The Commanders enter Saturday’s game clinging to the seventh playoff spot in the NFC with a 7-6-1 record, just ahead of the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions who both own 7-7 records. 

After winning six out of seven games to climb back into playoff contention with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback, the Commanders tied and then lost to the New York Giants in back-to-back games. 

Their remaining schedule features San Francisco, the Cleveland Browns, and Dallas Cowboys. On paper that is a daunting schedule, but the 49ers are playing a third-string quarterback, the Browns’ offense has been awful since Deshaun Watson’s return to the lineup, and the Cowboys may have nothing to play for in that Week 18 regular season finale. 

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