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The Washington Football Team entered the 2021 season as a potential Super Bowl contender, mostly because of their strong defense. Through three games, however, that defense is no longer elite. In fact, it’s downright bad.
Though they finished fourth in total defense last season, the Football Team has plummeted to 31st through three games this year. They have allowed 432 yards and 30.7 points per game. The fearsome pass rush, led by preseason Defensive Player of the Year candidate Chase Young, has just six sacks to show for their efforts. It hasn’t been the start they imagined, and Young knows that better than anyone.
“I feel like everybody right now, we know what we have to change. Something has to change,” Young said to Team 980 on Tuesday. “Right now, everybody is real urgent, holding each other accountable. At this point, it’s no other way. It has to be every man on the roster holding each other accountable and working to one mission. That’s where we’re trying to be at right now.”
Young, 22, was the second overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft and was the Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. Young is confident in his abilities and isn’t concerned with the state of Washington’s defense.
“I’m really not too worried about what people have to say. I know what I do,” Young said. “I believe in myself and I’m always gonna bet on myself.”
When looking at the performances of the defense early on, it’s important to note the opponents they’ve faced. Losing to Justin Herbert and the Chargers? Ok. Getting throttled by Josh Allen and the Bills? Understandable. But giving up 29 points and squeaking by the 0-3 Giants? That is a code-red and cause for concern.
And even though Buffalo’s high-powered offense had its way on Sunday, the expectation going into the season was that defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s defense would be prepared to stop it. They did not, and head coach Ron Rivera pointed out on Monday that the biggest issue is communication.
Young agreed and said that they believe they will turn it around as the season progresses.
“It just goes back to playing together and trusting each other,” Young said. “If you do that, you won’t have those few mistakes that we’ve slipped up on.”
They have a chance to get back on track this Sunday, when they face Matt Ryan and the 1-2 Falcons on the road at 1:00 p.m. The Falcons’ offense is ranked 14th in the NFC and is averaging just 16 points per game.