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Washington DE Young out, WR McLaurin hobbled

  • Covered the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and other media outlets since 1994
  • Authored or co-authored three books on the Redskins and one on the Cleveland Browns

ASHBURN, Va. — Washington will be without one of its top defensive players Sunday and possibly without its best player on offense. It’s not an ideal way to enter a game against the heavily favored Baltimore Ravens.

Rookie defensive end Chase Young, as expected, has been ruled out for the game because of a groin injury suffered in a Week 3 loss at Cleveland. Meanwhile, receiver Terry McLaurin did not practice Friday after injuring his thigh in practice Thursday.

The one bit of good news for Washington on Friday was the return of coach Ron Rivera. He missed practice Wednesday and had to leave early Thursday because of chemotherapy treatments for his squamous cell cancer. But Rivera made it through practice Friday and will coach Sunday. He said he “feels fine” and will make sure he hydrates before the game and likely will get an IV either before it or at halftime.

“The last few days have been a bear,” Rivera said, “so I slowed it down and tried to take care of myself and pay attention to what my body is telling me, which I have to do. You can’t get ahead of yourself. I probably shouldn’t have been out there Thursday. It did really sneak up on me and whack me pretty good.”

But he’ll be coaching without some of his best players, starting with Young. The No. 2 overall pick hurt his groin in the second quarter Sunday. He did not practice this week, instead riding an exercise bike and then working with trainers on a side field. One source close to Young earlier in the week told ESPN “it’s a long season,” meaning the plan is to be cautious so he doesn’t make it worse. Young missed a week in training camp with a hip flexor injury. Rivera said they’ll reevaluate Young next week.

Young’s effectiveness has been evident; he has 2.5 sacks, has played the run well and made Washington a dangerous defensive front. His athleticism on the edge was needed against a quarterback such as Lamar Jackson.

“His talent helps him through some things,” Washington defensive line coach Sam Mills Jr. said of Young. “There were a couple plays where he let his athletic ability take over.

“[But] I expect us to get it done regardless of who we have out there.”

Washington placed defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis on injured reserve earlier in the week. But the team has depth along the line — there are still four linemen who were first-round picks. That includes end Ryan Kerrigan, who will sub for Young on Sunday opposite Montez Sweat, a first-round pick in 2019, who has two sacks and has played the run well.

McLaurin rode an exercise bike early in practice Friday, then retreated to a side field for on-field work with the trainers. Washington already will be down one receiver, as Steven Sims was ruled out because of a toe injury that limited him vs. Cleveland. Sims, the top slot receiver, has caught six passes for 103 yards this season. He’s also Washington’s top punt returner

If McLaurin can’t play, it robs Washington of its top playmaker. He ranks seventh in the NFL with 269 yards receiving on 16 catches, and eighth in yards after the catch — one spot behind Sims. This comes at a time when the coaches have discussed the need to see more growth from quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Losing two targets wouldn’t be ideal, but Rivera said “it’ll be about making the right decisions and using the right techniques.”

Washington also placed running back Bryce Love on injured reserve after his surgically repaired right knee had swelling recently. Rivera said Love is not lost for the season, but the team wanted to let the swelling subside and use his roster spot for another player.

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