No player alone decides the outcome of an NFL game. After all, football is the ultimate team sport. However, the Jacksonville Jaguars might enjoy a favorable matchup in Week 1 due to the potential absence of Pro Bowl defensive end Chase Young, who is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last year.
Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera appeared on 106.7 The Fan and said Young will probably miss “a little bit of time” at the beginning of the 2022 season. He later added that the former Ohio State Buckeye might start the 2022 season on the NFL’s Physically Unable List, meaning that he would need to be inactive for at least four games.
Young was the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s made 24 starts and has logged 70 total tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, and six fumbles. He was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020 and was set to be even better last year but tore his ACL in Week 10.
The Jaguars must make a statement against the Commanders in Week 1
Not having to deal with Young will benefit the Jaguars’ offensive line in Week 1. However, they can’t just start uncorking the champagne. Last season, the Commnaders’ defense totaled 38 but they recorded 50 in 2020. In fact, their defensive line is one of their strongest position groups even without Young.
Washington has a superb defensive tackle duo in Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Also, defensive end Montez Sweet made just five sacks in 2021 but had nine the year before, so the Commanders should still be able to generate pressure. Moreover, the Jags’ offensive line is in transition. Rookie Luke Fortner is competing for the starting center job, and second-year pro Walker Little is doing the same at right tackle.
The Jaguars finished the 2021 season strong, beating the Indianapolis Colts 26-11 in Week 18. Carson Wentz was Indy’s starting quarterback in that game and he will have to face off against Jacksonville in the season opener after being traded to the Commanders earlier this year.
Washinton is currently the favorite to win in Week 1 but if the Jaguars can take advantage of Young’s absence and play the way they did against the Colts last year, their chances of winning will go considerably up.