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  • Erica Blackburn

Rivera Believes Chase Young Could've Played on the 85 Bears defense

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera was once a linebacker for the Chicago Bears. He was a member of the 1985 Bears, the franchise's only Super Bowl champion. The question was posed to Rivera about whether or not second-year pass rusher Chase Young could have played on the '85 Bears defense. He didn’t hesitate with his response.

"Could he have? Oh, yeah," Rivera said. "We have several guys that would have fit in very nicely with that group of men. He really would have. There are certain guys, in their era, they were great. I believe that. And a few of them can transcend and come to another era and be great there, too.

Young was last year's Defensive Rookie of the Year, tallying 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles while returning one of his three fumble returns for a touchdown. After recording 3.5 sacks in his first nine games, Young had four sacks, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries during Washington's last six regular season games. Washington went 4-2 over that span while clinching the franchise's first NFC East title since 2015.

Rivera had no doubt that Young's play would have complemented the '85 Bears defense, a unit that included three All-Pros, five Pro Bowlers and three future Hall of Famers.

"To have a rookie come in and kind of just take over certain aspects of our team, he truly is an emotional leader," Rivera said. "The young man practices and plays at a high level, has a lot of energy, and is a smart football player. He's a guy that came in as a young pro who understood what it was gonna take, what he had to do to get himself to where he needed to be to help us, and that's probably the biggest thing."

When your head coach believes in you, that’s a great start. But ultimately, it’s up to the player to live up to the lofty expectations. In the offseason, Young focused on working his hands which is key for a defensive end. “I would say really just repetition,” said Young. “Working your hands, try to work them actually after practice. Watching film on guys, watching how they work their hands. Um, yeah, I feel like all of that, just come down to, um, watch a film and just repeat.”

“Yeah I feel like this year, I feel a lot better than I did last year going into the season healthy always feels good. Just going in there clear-minded man, knowing that we did get better playing off each other and things like that. It's just being anxious and excited at the same time for that first game.”

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