With the Steelers going into "sort-of" enemy territory Monday Night, it is crucial for us, as fans, to know exactly what to look for and who they are going against. You can be for certain that the players (who stay awake in meetings) know exactly the habits, the hobbies, the hopes, the fears, the dreams and the favorite Justin Bieber song of the warriors that they are set to do battle with. So to quote the incomparable, emphatic and overly repetitive Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day, "Do you know thr enemy? Do you know your enemy? Well gotta’ know your enemy oh-ay, oh-ay-oh ay".
Gary Portnoy timelessly sang in the theme song from Cheers, "sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name". Here are some notable, burgundy and gold names that if you don't know, you should know for ultimate viewership on Monday night.
Quarterback - No. 8 Kirk Cousins
379 Completions / 69.8% Completion % / 4,166 Yds / 29 TD / 11 INT / 101.6 QB Rating
Cousins is a very capable QB at the NFL level. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 16th best passer for 2015. Captain Kirk led the league last year in completion percentage, improved greatly in his efficiency throughout his first year as a full-time starter and rendered RG3 expendable in our nation’s capital. Cousins was franchised this year by Washington and is looking for the big pay day. With an excellent arsenal of receivers to throw to, Cousins could prove to be dangerous to a suspect secondary like the Steelers.
RB - No. 31 Matt Jones
2015: 144 Rushes/490 Yds/3 TD / 19 Rec/304 Yds/1 TD
The second-year runner from Florida was ranked 66 of 69 among qualifying NFL backs by PFF for 2015. He is backed up by Chris Thompson, ranked 55. Jones is a big-bodied back that can break tackles well, but has only rushed for an average of 3.4 ypc in the pros. Even though he has been labeled as inconsistent, the Steelers can't overlook Jones. Though hampered by a shoulder injury, Jones is expected to play against the Steelers.
WR - No. 11 DeSean Jackson
2015: 30 Rec / 528 Yds / 4 TDs
A few seasons ago, Jackson was regarded as possibly the most dangerous of playmakers in the entire league. Since arriving in DC, his production has seemed to decline. But if you look closer, DeSean was somewhat effective in the only nine games that he started after sitting out due to a hamstring injury. Jackson is still a viable deep threat and he's the kind of weapon that could give the Steelers troubles. PFF ranked him third-highest in deep-pass catch-rate and twelfth among league receivers in yards on passes over 20 yards. If he or anyone else on the league's third-best receiving corp gets behind the Steeler defensive backs, trouble will ensue.
TE - No. 86 Jordan Reed
2015: 87 Rec / 952 Yds / 11TDs
Reed, behind Gronk in New England, is the best at his position in the NFL. Despite missing two games last year, Reed nearly eclipsed 100 catches and 1,000 yards. Reed is the best receiver on the Skins and led the league's tight ends with 19 missed tackles forced. The Steelers struggle with the seam route and the prospect of Lawrence Timmons solely covering Reed is cause for genuine knees on the floor and a plethora of prayers.
LT - No. 71 Trent Williams
6'5" 320 lbs
2015: 14 Games Played
According to Pro Football Focus, Williams had the sixth-highest pass-blocking grade among offensive tackles in the entire league last year. He is the bedrock of an above average line in DC. Jarvis Jones and James Harrison will need to work diligently to out maneuver the four-time Pro-Bowler in order to get to Kirk Cousins.
LB - No. 91 Ryan Kerrigan
2015: 42 Tackles / 9.5 Sacks
With a unique blend of size and athletecism, Kerrigan is the Redskins top pass rusher. However, a Preseason Week 3 injury to the 2012 Pro-Bowler could hamper him against the Steelers LT Al Villanueva In the opener. A high-motor guy, Kerrigan is consistently in pursuit of the man with the football.
CB - No. 24 Josh Norman
2015: 48 Tackles / 4 INT / 18 Pass Defenses
This is the matchup of the night as Norman will go mano-a-mano with Antonio Brown at times throughout the night. This may be more up to the Steelers, due to WH ere they lineup Brown. Last year, the Panthers tended to keep Norman on the same side throughout the night. Presumably, Washington will do the same and double team AB with the very talented Bashaud Breeland and somebody else. But rest assured, the two Pro-Bowlers will face off.
Norman, the prized free agent acquisition, plays with a lot of intensity and is regarded as a top-tier corner in the entire NFL. PFF ranks him as having the best defensive quarterback ratings when thrown to among NFL cornerbacks, but quick route-runners tend to give Norman fits. Enter Antonio. Norman's success has also come by reading the eyes of the quarterback. Maybe Ben Roethlisberger should don a Darth Vader shield at FedEx Field Monday night.
FS - No. 23 Deangelo Hall
2015: 48 Tackles / 0 INT / 2 Pass Defenses
The converted corner is a jump-the-route defender. A league veteran of 13 years will benefit playing next to stalwart corners like Bashaud Breeland and Norman. Risks that DHall takes will be insured by having those two in the general vicinity. He's also known as a solid tackler and an abled run stopper. Hall, drafted a few spots ahead of Big Ben, has 43 career thefts.
Other Notable Names to look out for:
HC Jay Gruden, OC Sean McVay, DC Joe Barry, No. 25 RB Chris Thompson, No. 26 CB Bashaud Breeland, No. 30 SS David Bruton Jr., No. 54 LB Mason FostER, No. 65 RG Brandon Scherff, No. 77 LG Shawn Lauvao, No. 80 Jamison Crowder, No. 85 WR Pierre Garçon, No. 92 DT Chris Baker, No. 93 DE Trent Murphy
Former and Familiar Faces to Steeler Nation:
No. 90 DE Evander "Ziggy" Hood
No. 52 LB Terence Garvin