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Redskins Vs. Cardinals - Studs and Duds

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Mark Tyler gives you his Studs and Duds of the Redskins season opener against the Cardinals.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Man it feels good to be 1-0!

Jay Gruden got the opening-day win for the first time as a head coach of the Redskins, and his team looked crisp in doing so. It’s very evident early on that a QB who can effectively run this offense, and a RB who can execute when called upon, make a HUGE difference.

Below are my Studs and Duds of the game, followed up by some notes.


Alex Smith - It’s clear that Smith was in command of this offense all day - something we haven’t seen from a quarterback in the Jay Gruden era. He is smart; and showed it. He’s athletic; and showed it. He’s cool, calm and collective; and it showed. Alex went an efficient 21-30 for 255 yards and two touchdowns versus no interceptions. The play in the 2nd quarter when he spun, rolled out of the pocked to his left, and threw a strike to Jordan Reed on the crosser was a thing of beauty!

Adrian Peterson - Peterson looked like he was 24 out there, showing exceptional burst, power and speed. He had 96 rushing yards and a touchdown, and added 70 yards on two receptions. He’s just a different breed of running back, and he made everyone around him better.

Chris Thompson - It was great to see Thompson healthy on Sunday afternoon. He proved yet again he’s one of the best third down backs in the NFL - and supposedly he’s still not quite 100 percent! He carried five times for 65 yards, and had six receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown. He is a huge weapon for Alex Smith, and should continue to be so all season.

Jordan Reed - Reed came into the game healthy, and exited the game healthy. That in itself may have merited Stud consideration. He finished the game with four receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown, but it was his blocking on the edge that really stood out.

The Redskins offensive line - A few stood out more than others (Chase Roullier and Trent Williams), but this unit as a whole was outstanding all afternoon. They paved the way for 182 rushing yards, and allowed just three sacks (one on a busted play) for minus eight yards. On a slight negative, they were called for too many penalties.

Quinton Dunbar - The new starting cornerback opposite Josh Norman was absolutely outstanding on the afternoon. Dunbar led the team in passes defended with three and had an interception on the sideline. His breaks on the ball during the game were amazing, and his tacking was sound all afternoon, holding the receiver short of the first down on a few occasions. Loved the play he made early in the third quarter on Fitzgerald.

Team Tackling - Wow...what a difference from what we saw during the preseason! Tackling against the Cardinals was excellent.


Rob Kelley - Was called for holding on a punt return, and averaged just 2.3 yards per carry on his three attempts. He got de-cleated attempting to lead-block as a fullback late in the game down by our own goalline by a safety!

Josh Doctson - Was having trouble getting off press coverage all afternoon. He was open a few times underneath - Smith just went the other way. He was targeted just three times and had just one catch for 11 yards. Smith was looking Doctson’s direction on the play in the redzone right before the half, but he was blanketed. He dropped a pass when Smith rolled out to his right and hit Josh right in the bread-basket. His routes seem just too easy to read by the defensive backs. His blocking was very suspect, and there were plays he looked like he was just going through the motions. He needs to step up his game.

Preston Smith - Smith pulled a disappearing act in the game. I counted three times where he was completely de-cleated by a Cardinals offensive linemen or wide receiver on a crack-down block. He had little-to-no impact on the game. I understand his lack of pass-rush has a lot to do with Bradford just getting rid of the football so quickly, but still...

Nick Sundberg - This is nit-picking a bit, but Sundberg was called for a false-start penalty early in the 1st quarter and made a high snap on an extra point that almost went over the holders (Tress Way) head.


- Roullier was excellent on lead pulls. It’s such a luxury to have a center who can pull and be effective.

- I saw Jeremy Sprinkle make a few nice blocks in the run game when he was on the field. He had back-to-back blocks to help spring nice runs at the end of the third quarter.

- I counted two blatant holds against Daron Payne that were not called.

- Some on here have criticized him in the past, but Zach Brown was excellent in coverage today.

- Tim Settle has one heck of a motor!

- Josh Harvey-Clemons was very good in coverage, and batted down a ball at the LOS. He may not have racked up stats, but his presence was felt.

- Larry Fitzgerald gets away with WAY to many illegal contact penalties that SHOULD be called against him!

- D.J. Swearinger made some excellent tackles coming up from his safety position. He was an enforcer throughout the game. He easily could have ended up on the Studs list.

- This may sound stunning, but Ryan Anderson may have been our most complete OLB in the game. He didn’t get Stud honors, but he was close.

- Danny Johnson was very solid on special teams. I had to go back and re-watch to see who number 41 was.

- Troy Apke was a mixed-bag on special teams. He was called for an illegal block in the back (which was declined because two penalties occurred on the same play), but made a potential touchdown saving tackle on a punt return.

- Matt Ioannidis made a nice strip sack and recovered the fumble to end the game.