That’s not the way you wanted to start the Steve Wilks era.
After a training camp and preseason full of praise, the national media seemed a bit more on the correct side of the Cardinals projections than those who cover the team or happen to be fans.
However, it is one game of 16 and it is a long season, but the opening salvo of the Cardinals was completely off and it keeps highlighted every concern fans had coming into the season.
Here are the winners and losers coming out of this game.
Robert Nkemdiche - After starting slow in the first half, Nkemdiche was a one-man wrecking crew, exactly what everyone has been waiting to see from the former first round pick. Nkemidhce finished the day with three tackles, including one tackle for loss, one sack (the first of his career) and two quarterback hits. In a game filled with bad, Nkemdiche was good.
Andy Lee - Yes, we are scraping the bottom of the barrel, but Lee was lights out in the game, averaging 52.6 yards per punt and generally putting the Washington Redskins in bad field position, not that the Cardinals defense could do much to make it worth much.
Chandler Jones - Jones was up and down in this game, but in the end, he finished with three tackles, one sack and drew three penalties on All Pro left tackle Trent Williams.
Wide receivers not named Larry Fitzgerald - One catch, four yards on five targets. Chad Williams was shut out and Christian Kirk’s lone reception was a four yarder on a third and five. This team needs someone to step up, in week one it did not happen.
Arizona Cardinals linebackers - This unit was really, really bad in game one. Deone Bucannon and Josh Bynes could not cover anyone in the middle of the field, they gave up seven first downs on third or fourth down and 30 first downs overall. Many of them coming on plays to tight ends and the running backs.
Jamar Taylor - Early in the game, Taylor made a great play to stop the Redskins short of the line to gain. After that, he struggled mightily. Taylor did not give up much in the way of catches or yardage, but was heavily penalized and penalized a number of times in key situations where the Cardinals needed to get off the field.
Andre Smith - Left the game with an injury, but was rather unremarkable before that point. Injuries were what everyone was concerned with on this offensive line and if one happens in game one, it will be slightly disappointing.
Steve Wilks - This is nothing against Wilks or an indictment of his future, which I still see has highly positive. No, instead this is the fact that this was 100% a welcome to the NFL coaching ranks. His team was completely unprepared in game one, their home opener, against a team with a number of new players in key positions as well. It is one game, but that was not exactly how anyone expected it to start.