5 disappointments from Commanders victory vs. the Cardinals in Week 1

It's wasn't all positive from the Commanders at FedEx Field.

Eric Bieniemy
Eric Bieniemy / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders LB tackling

Jamin Davis made some good plays. Cody Barton was pretty good in coverage. But you can’t expect to have a great defense when safeties Kamren Curl and Darrick Forest out-tackle the two aforementioned linebackers 15-10, as they did against the Arizona Cardinals.

I’ve been harping on this since last year. Both Davis and Barton are making the majority of their tackles at least five yards downfield, and often seven or eight.

Against an anemic offense like Arizona, that may not cost you. And when the defensive line was as overpowering as it was on Sunday, you can get away with mediocre linebacking play. But versus better offenses – especially against better lines that can stand up to the Washington Commanders front four – those linebackers will have to step up their game.

So the bottom line is that Washington got a much-needed win. They made clutch plays when they had to. Sam Howell certainly made mistakes, but he also moved very well and made a lot of good throws.

When faced with adversity, the team found ways to overcome it. That’s the main takeaway for opening day. But they cannot ignore the areas that still need work if they intend to challenge for the NFC East and the playoffs this year.