Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins has only faced the Eagles once in his young career, but it was his best day as a pro, statistically speaking. In September 2014, Cousins threw for a career-high 427 yards at Lincoln Financial Field, connecting on three touchdown passes. Washington came up short that day, falling to the Eagles, 37-34.
During his conference call with the Philadelphia media this week, Cousins explained that a lot has changed for both teams since that day, most importantly on the Eagles' defense.
"Some people have left and some really talented players have come in," Cousins said. "It doesn't feel like the exact same defense, although they do some similar things.
"I feel like they have some talented players, especially at the safety position. I think their safeties are capable of playing like corners and are able to match up in coverage. I've always had a lot of respect for Malcolm Jenkins and his ability to, whether he's playing the middle safety and his ability to run between the numbers, sideline-to-sideline, or coming down in the box to play the run or covering a guy with a bump at the line of scrimmage. I have a lot of respect for what they can do, and it will be a great challenge on Sunday."
Cousins has thrown four interceptions through three games this season, but he has completed a career-high 69.2 percent of his passes. Fortunately for Cousins, he's been able to rely on a very strong running game, as the Redskins rank fourth in the NFL with 143.7 yards per game on the ground.
"That's certainly the best way to move the ball in this league because you can control the clock and you can really dictate the terms to the defense," Cousins said. "It's not going to be every play that we can get big gains, but we want to commit to running it no matter who we're playing and if we can do that good things can happen.
"I think it starts with our coaching staff putting together great run schemes and then teaching the offensive line to be very disciplined in their blocks. I think (center) Kory Lichtensteiger does a great job identifying everything and getting his linemen and receivers going in the right places. Play-calling in the game is making a big difference with calling timely plays, and you've got to have running backs who run hard, and Alfred Morris and Matt Jones and Chris Thompson can all run downhill and break tackles and run physical. It takes a whole group of people, but everyone is contributing and I think that's what makes it go."
Cousins and company enter Sunday's affair with the same 1-2 record as the Eagles. Just three games into the season, both teams know that there's still time to turn things around in a division that has no clear favorite to this point.
"It's so early in the season and we're all just feeling like this division is so wide open," Cousins said. "There's a lot of football to be played. We've all got to come in and be very detailed in our work, very tough on ourselves and very competitive in practice and have the right mindset on Sunday. If you can do that, hopefully that will turn into wins. Right now, you have to be optimistic and positive and feeling good since it's so early in the season."
Click play on the video above to listen to all of Cousins' conference call with the Philadelphia media.