Editor’s Note: Rod Woodson, one of the great team leaders in NFL history, shares his thoughts on how the Washington Commanders’ should handle losing a player like defensive end Chase Young, who will miss a minimum of four weeks to start the season.
Chase Young is a generational talent.
We know one thing: First, speaking to the locker room, as a leader, you have to believe in everyone in the locker room. You need the “next-man-up” mentality, and the Commanders still have some great players on that defense. They still have Montez Sweat, Daron Payne, Jonathon Allen and James Smith-Williams.
They have players — not the same as Young, of course, because Young is a generational talent, and it’s unfortunate for him that he got hurt last year.
We’re going to talk to the guys, and we’re going to tell them, ‘Hey, when you step on the field, you have to believe in who you are. You have to believe in each other and do your job first. Trust everybody and, in the end, we can’t let anybody down with self-doubt.’
You have to believe in who you are, do what you have to do, and get your job done. I think if Washington can do that, this is going to be good for them.
For that pass rush? Man, it helps the secondary like crazy if you can make the quarterback throw the ball early. Or, if you can make him hold onto the ball, because he’s flushed out of the pocket and he’s throwing the ball kind of off-tilt because he’s out of sync — that’s when you get interceptions
Our old saying is: “Tips and overthrows … you gotta get those!”