It didn't take long for the Washington Commanders' new quarterback Carson Wentz to get acquainted with Chase Young.
It was on a third-and-five in the season opener of the 2020 season. Wentz, then a Philadelphia Eagle, pumped faked before getting enveloped by Young from behind. He tried to escape, but Young grabbed hold of his foot before popping the ball from his grasp.
Luckily, Wentz didn't have to deal with that for much longer, as he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts at the end of the season. And now that he's back in the NFC East with the Commanders, he and the team's defensive line will be on the same sideline.
Needless to say, Wentz is thrilled about that.
"The best thing that happened to me last year was that I didn't have to play those guys," Wentz told senior vice president of media and content Julie Donaldson.
Wentz is intimately familiar with how potent the Commanders' pass-rush, which features a bevy of first-round talent, has been over the years. He was sacked 25 times by Washington when he was with the Eagles, eight of which came in that 2020 matchup, which ended in a 27-17 win for Washington.
Now they're on the same team, and instead of having to prepare for a way to avoid that front, he can sit and watch Young, Allen and the rest of the defensive linemen take down opposing quarterbacks.
"I always remember playing those games [with the Eagles] knowing that was such an elite front," Wentz said. "And they still got the same guys."
Well, in a sense, that's true; most of the defensive line is still intact from 2020. However, the group has grown in the past year of working together, and Allen is the biggest example of that. Allen backed up a contract extension with a standout season, posting a career-high nine sacks to go with 62 tackles.
That helped Allen earn a Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. And just to show how effective Allen received the third-highest pass-rushing grade for a defensive tackle from Pro Football Focus behind Aaron Donald and Javon Hargrave.
Young didn't have the season he wanted after being named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020, but he still has plenty of talent entering his third season. He's also still recovering from a knee injury he suffered in Week 10, but he was in good spirits when he spoke to the media at the conclusion of the season, saying he's making "great progress."
"Right now I'm just going to be where my feet are at," Young said. "Just take things one day at a time and just try to attack it with my best, day in and day out."
That's not even mentioning the other starters on the defensive front. Montez Sweat has averaged seven sacks in the past three seasons and has forced seven fumbles. Daron Payne is also a force in the middle and is coming off a 4.5-sack season.
And while the number of sacks was down in 2021, it still proved to be a difficult group to face for offenses. Per Football Outsiders, Washington's adjusted sack rate was 11th-best in the league.
So, yeah, Wentz is happy that he doesn't have to scheme against the Commanders defensive line anymore (The Colts play the NFC East this year, so he would have had to face them again at some point in 2022 had he not been traded).
It shouldn't take long for Wentz to get as excited about seeing Young and the front sling a different quarterback to the ground as Washington's fanbase.