Cam Newton didn't need to see much of Chase Young to be impressed with the Washington Football Team star edge rusher. Newton is just glad he doesn't have to see Young again this year, which is why the New England Patriots quarterback decided to have a little fun with the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
"He's smaller than I thought," Newton said with a smile after the Patriots defeated Washington 22-13 on Thursday night. "I'm just messing with you. That's a joke. That's a joke. I'm just messing with you."
Young was dominant in his first preseason game, finishing with a tackle and forced fumble in limited action for Washington. He bulldozed past Isaiah Wynn on a third-and-8 play in the first quarterback to get to Newton, causing him to fumble on the play. Daron Payne failed to scoop up the ball and the Patriots recovered, punting on the next play.
That was all Newton had to see to be impressed with Young.
"But yeah, he's going to be good, man. He's going to be good. He's going to be real good," Newton said. "But I've got to do a better job of protecting the football. He kind of got me like right in the tweener when I was letting the ball going or trying to pull it back. Coach talks about it all the time, man, ball security is job security, and that's what it comes down to."
Young was the standout of his rookie class in 2020, leading all rookies in sacks (7.5), tackles for loss (10), pressures (40) and tied for first in forced fumbles (4). His three games with a sack and a forced fumble are the most for a player in Washington franchise history. He became the first player to record at least two games with at least one fumble recovery, a forced fumble, a sack, and a pass defense since the stats were first recorded in 1999 -- joining Khalil Mack (6), Jason Taylor (4) and Julius Peppers (2) -- and Young was the first rookie to accomplish the feat.
If Thursday's preseason opener was any indication, Young is set to become one of the game's elite edge rushers in 2021.