Chase Young is far from a veteran, but received his first day off from practice Wednesday.
It wasn't simply for a break, or load management. Young sat out in a precautionary measure taken by coach Ron Rivera, who wants to ensure Young has the smoothest path to significant contribution to Washington's efforts in 2020 and well beyond.
"It is very important for a young player, especially in the developmental stages of his career," Rivera said of Young on Wednesday. "He's come in, he's done some great things, he's done everything we've asked. We had to kind of be careful with him today. He's got a little bit of a hip flexor. We wanted to be smart. We'll see how he is tomorrow. But he's done a really good job. He really has. The more reps he gets, the quicker he's going to adapt and get used to things we're trying to do as a football team."
Beat reporters in attendance at Wednesday's session described it as a wet one, helping explain some of Rivera's thinking in keeping Young out of action. A slippery field is not an ideal environment for the No. 2 overall pick to practice through a mild ailment.
Young is built to make an immediate impact for Washington in 2020 and won't exactly be solely relied on to do the bulk of pass rushing. Young will be expected to start on a defensive line that will feature first round picks from the last four drafts: defensive tackle Jonathan Allen (2017), defensive tackle Daron Payne (2018), fellow defensive end Montez Sweat (2019) and Young (2020).
Young, though, comes with more pizzazz than the rest as the second-overall selection who leapt onto the national scene with dominant performances over Wisconsin and Penn State in 2019. Hopes are high for Washington's defensive front with the addition of Young, which only justifies Rivera's decision to keep him out of Wednesday's action.
Sure, the regular season is less than a month away, but better to keep Young from a day's worth of reps than weeks' worth of games.