Over the past five seasons of NFL football, the Seattle Seahawks' defense has consistently been one of the best unit, ranking in the top ten of points allowed per game every year since 2011.
While it is not quite the same defense that ranked No. 1 in four consecutive seasons from 2012-2015, this year's Seattle defense is still providing opposing offenses with a tough task every week.
Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and the "Legion of Boom" once again lead the unit as it comes into Sunday's game ranked seventh in the NFL in points allowed per game. This, despite a 41-38 win last week over the Houston Texans. Prior to last week's shootout, the Seattle defense was allowing just 15.7 points per game.
One element to the Seahawks defense that makes it so unique is the consistency it holds from season to season. Players like Sherman, Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Bobby Wagner – looked upon as the core of this defense – have spent the entirety of their careers with the Seahawks.
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Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr., who spent the 2014 preseason with the Seahawks, was able to get a glimpse of how the defense operates.
"I know the guys pretty well. I know the type of expectation they have on themselves. It's a tough team. They've been together for six, seven years or something like that," Pryor said. "Practice is crazy over there. They'll be ready to go."
Thanks in part to this impressive roster continuity, defensive coordinator Kris Richard and the Seahawks defense is known for its ability to gameplan and read an offense, as Redskins head coach Jay Gruden attested to this week.
"The defensive coordinator there is very good. They know exactly where they're supposed to be and how they play the coverages and then what plays hurt those coverages and they know how to guard against them," Gruden said. "Very well coached football team and they have a lot of talent on defense – a lot of speed."
With a roster loaded with noteworthy names and established reputations, quarterback Kirk Cousins acknowledged that the Seattle defense presents a unique challenge.
Despite this, he hopes to stick to his game regardless of who is suiting up for the opposing team.
"I think you have to still play out your reads honestly and not necessarily just eliminate a side of the field because of any one player," Cousins said. "I'll try to trust my eyes and trust what I see and make quick decisions, and if that leads me into a great player, then so be it."
Cousins faired well in his last and only appearance against the Seahawks back in 2014. Then a third-year player, he completed 21 of his 36 passes for 283 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers in a 27-17 loss at FedExField in Landover, Md.
The Redskins will need another strong performance from Cousins as well as the skill players on the offense to make up for a banged up offensive line this Sunday at CenturyLink Field.