When The Steelers Are Back, The Redskins Are Back
Posted October 02, 2018 07:02:22 When the Pittsburgh Steelers were coming off a 4-0 victory over the Detroit Lions, the Washington Redskins had been on the verge of winning their fourth straight game.
Then came the news that quarterback Kirk Cousins would miss the entire 2017 season with a torn ACL.
Now, the Redskins are set to return to action on Sunday in the season opener for the first time in two years, and there is a lot riding on the return of the Pittsburgh offense.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and streamed live on WatchESPN, with the game scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m.
For the latest Redskins news and notes, tune into this week’s edition of The MMQB.
Here are the keys to the Redskins’ comeback: How will Kirk Cousins fit into the offense?
As the season goes on, the focus for Cousins has shifted to being a more effective passer.
Since the start of the season, Cousins has completed 63.9 percent of his passes, averaging 9.6 yards per attempt and 3.7 yards per rush, per Pro Football Focus.
That has resulted in an average of just 8.5 points per game, which is far from ideal.
That is what it took for the Redskins to win the division last year, and while Cousins is the team’s quarterback, the offense has also been struggling in recent weeks.
As a result, Cousins will be looking to take advantage of the opportunity to prove he belongs with a team that has shown they are capable of producing points.
Can the Redskins get back to the form they showed in the regular season?
Yes, the defense was dominant last season, but the offense struggled to put up big points.
The offense scored 20.7 points per 100 possessions last season and averaged 8.9 yards per play, according to Pro Football Reference.
The result was a team in the bottom half of the league in rushing yards per game.
So far this season, the rushing attack has improved to 10th in the NFL with 8.6 per game and scoring at 5.1 points per play.
What’s the difference between Kirk Cousins and Alex Smith?
Cousins has a more polished game plan that has been implemented over the offseason.
This means the quarterback is more prepared to throw with confidence, which helps him to make decisions in his own endzone.
Smith has a different set of skills, but it’s hard to argue that he can run the ball much better than Cousins.
The difference is that Smith can make quick decisions, but Cousins has been more accurate.
Who will be more effective in the passing game?
If the Redskins have success with Cousins in the running game, they will be able to keep the Redskins in the game.
They can keep up the momentum the offense put together in the divisional round against the Chicago Bears, as they were able to outscore their opponents 17-10.
Washington has had success with a run-first offense, with a total of 15 rushing touchdowns and eight rushing yards or more in each of the past two games.
The Redskins have struggled to score points in the first half of games in recent seasons, and this should be a great opportunity for Cousins to show that he belongs in the offense.
Who should be able get the ball to Cousins?
Washington’s offense will be tested, but one player that should be in the mix for the starting job is quarterback Kirk Bridenstine.
The veteran quarterback has completed 64.9% of his throws, averaging 8.3 yards per throw and 3,8 yards per carry.
He also has an 11:3 touchdown to interception ratio in those games, per Football Outsiders.
However, his completion percentage is actually much lower than Cousins’, which means that Briden Stine should be the starter for this game.
Can McCoy and the Redskins defense make plays in the run game?
The Washington defense will be playing without the services of two of their top pass rushers in Ndamukong Suh and Niles Paul.
That means the Redskins will be relying on a strong rushing attack, and McCoy will have a lot to do to make up for it.
The running game has been a strength for Washington all season, with Cousins posting a team-high 793 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 2017.
The success of the running back tandem has been crucial to the success of Cousins’ offense, as he has thrown for more than 4,000 yards and nine touchdowns, and rushed for 1,300 yards and six touchdowns.
The two running backs combined for 993 yards and four touchdowns in the 2016 playoffs.
Should McCoy and his offense continue to get pressure in the pocket and use the run to their advantage, Washington could score a lot of points.
How does the Redskins go about getting pressure on quarterback Kirk?
With the game set up for a fast-paced, action-packed game, it is important that the