Since entering the league back in 2010, Redskins fullback Darrel Young has gotten 84 offensive touches – 45 rushes and 39 catches. And of those 84 touches, 13 ended up as touchdowns.
Those numbers mean that when Washington has given the ball to the 28-year-old veteran in the past, they have ended up with six points 15.5% of the time. That' a rather astounding rate. For perspective, Alfred Morris, the man Young blocks for, has scored 28 touchdowns on 876 touches in his three NFL seasons, which equals to a rate of roughly 3%. Essentially, the former linebacker-turned-fullback is a scoring machine.
It must be noted that most of Young’s work comes at the goal line, which makes it easier for him to score . Still, 84 touches in five years barely equals one play a game, so it’s not like the Redskins make giving him the pigskin a priority).
So when there’s proof that good things normally happen when he gets the ball does No. 36 get frustrated with the lack of usage he gets?
“I’m just trying to do my job,” Young told reporters in Richmond this week. “At the end of the day, Jay Gruden calls the plays, Sean [McVay], the offensive staff will do a good job of putting us in a situation to win. It changes on a week to week basis as you know.”
Come on, though, seriously? Doesn’t Darrel get at least a little frustrated when the offense struggles mightily in the red zone week after week, yet still refuses to draw up a play for him even though he’s a frequent visitor of touchdown town?
“No. If the scheme works, the production’s there, they give me the ball, hey, that’s what I’m there for. But Jay Gruden’s done a great job of, I think, putting me in a situation, and I’ve tried to help that situation by producing [when I can].”
It’s that exact unselfish attitude that has allowed Young to find a niche in professional football. An undrafted free agent out of Villanova, Young was asked by Mike Shanahan to switch from defense to offense back in training camp of 2010. Young did as he was told, and since then, has been producing for the Burgundy and Gold whenever called upon.
On any given Sunday, you’ll see Young do a variety of tasks: Block for his running backs, run out in the flat for a pass, and even make a special teams tackle or two. But the question remains why, for a team that’s as bad at finishing drives as the Redskins have been in recent campaigns, Young hasn’t been given more of a chance to add to his touchdown total.
He understands, however, that football is a game that requires a new game plan every seven days, and that knowledge is what prevents the scarcity of offensive attention from distracting him from the overall team goal of winning.
“Some weeks you’ll see two tight ends, some weeks you’ll see three receivers, some weeks you’ll see two backs in the backfield,” he said. “It just depends on the game, and everyone knows it’s a copycat league. So what you got beat on the week before, we’re gonna come after and test you.”
Looking ahead to the regular season – which will be his sixth – Young is anxious to get the bad memories of 2014 out of his head. In his eyes, this year’s Washington roster has a chance to be a lot better than last season’s 4-12 outfit.
“It’s been a long offseason. We have a bitter taste in our mouth about the things we didn’t do last year and accomplish. I expect us to be a lot better, and I expect us to show up and do what we do.”
For Young, that means whatever the Redskins need him to do. And -- if they do end up looking his way – getting into the end zone.
Could this be the year the team finally makes him a focal point of the offense? Maybe. If not, though, don’t wait for him to complain about it. We tried, and – obviously – it didn’t work.