Cousins right at home in Washington

A look at what the Steelers will be up against on Monday night at Washington:


Here is a look at the statistical leaders for both the Steelers and Redskins heading into the Monday night season opener at FedEx Field.

CAPTAIN KIRK:** Kirk Cousins isn't yet an elite, top-tier, franchise QB, but he's the next best thing. Cousins completed an NFL-best 69.8 percent of his passes in 2015 while throwing for 4, 166 yards, with 29 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. He can hurt a defense from the pocket or by rolling out to either side, he can make all the throws and he's becoming more accomplished at orchestrating comebacks.

Cousins had always exploited defensive breakdowns and mistakes. Last season, his fourth in the NFL and first as a full-time starter, Cousins began making fewer mistakes. He'll take the field against the Steelers having thrown 232 consecutive regular-season passes at home without an interception (278 including the postseason) since Sept. 13, 2015. Cousins has also authored streaks of 16 consecutive regular-season games and 17 in a row overall with at least one touchdown pass (the franchise record belongs to Hall-of-Famer Sonny Jurgensen at 23), and six straight regular-season games with a passer rating of 100.0 or better.

Perhaps the stat that best characterizes Cousins is this: His career touchdown-to-interception ratio in the red zone is 32:0.
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TIGHT END PRESENCE: TE Jordan Reed (6-foot-2, 246 pounds, 87-952-11 in 2015) is a matchup nightmare because he's too fast for linebackers and too physical for defensive backs. TE Vernon Davis (461 career receptions) and TE Niles Paul (a converted wide receiver with 36 career kickoff returns) are also threats in the passing game at the position (all three are under 250 pounds).

The Redskins will deploy three tight ends at a time in more than just goal-line or power formations (Paul lines up as a fullback). When Washington operates up with two tight ends, it's similar to most teams going with three wide receivers in terms of what the Redskins are capable of executing in the passing game.


NORMAN CONQUEST:** All-Pro CB Josh Norman followed Denver WR Demaryius Thomas in Super Bowl 50, but Norman's habit in Carolina had been to line up at left cornerback much more often than not. Should the Steelers desire someone other than Norman cover WR Antonio Brown, it might be as simple as lining Brown up in the slot or wide to the left side of the formation.
The Redskins' big, aggressive secondary is more of a strength than the front seven, but the strength most often shows up when playing zones behind five-man pressures.

MAKING THEIR MARKS: A couple of Redskins have been productive long enough to stand out among their NFL peers.

-S DeAngelo Hall leads active players with 43 career interceptions and is one fumble return for a touchdown shy of tying Jason Taylor (six) for the most in NFL history.

-WR DeSean Jackson is 186 receiving yards away from becoming the eighth active player to reach 8,000 in his career (Andre Johnson, Steve Smith Sr., Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson). DeSean Jackson's 19.7-yard average per catch since joining the Redskins in 2014 is the best in the NFL in that span. He ranks No. 3 in NFL history in touchdowns of 60 yards or more with 20 (Jerry Rice, 23), and leads the NFL with 33 receptions of 50-plus yards since 2008 (Calvin Johnson is second with 23).

-LB Ryan Kerrigan is 7.5 sacks short of becoming the fifth player in NFL history to have at least that many in the first six seasons of his career (Jared Allen, Derrick Thomas, DeMarcus Ware and Reggie White).


The Steelers prepare for the regular season Week 1 matchup against the Washington Redskins.

INEXPERIENCED BACKFIELD:** The top three running backs on the Redskins' depth chart have combined for 182 carries, 718 yards and three rushing TDs in 32 NFL games. Second-year pro Matt Jones (6-2, 232) and undrafted rookie Robert Kelley (6-0, 228) are similar downhill-type runners (144-490-3 for Jones as a rookie last season). Third-year pro Chris Thompson (5-8, 195) is the third-down/passing down complement.

The Redskins were No. 20 in rushing yards per game (97.9) and No. 28 in average yards per carry (3.7) last season.

Washington seeks efficiency from its offense first and foremost, with the idea seemingly being to possess the ball and move the chains on the Redskins' side of the 50 and then take some shots at big plays once the 50 has been crossed. The Redskins are also capable of turning little plays into big ones.

HE SAID IT: "He is big-play capable, whether it's him running by you and them throwing the ball over your head or his ability to create chunks of yards after short passes. We have to minimize his chuck-ability." _ Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on DeSean Jackson.

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