STUDS & DUDS

OK, we confess, it's hard to find many studs from Sunday's 30-3 loss to San Diego. But it's only one game, so we'll maintain a positive attitude for now. So we dug up a couple of the duds? Easy to find.

Studs

 . . .Corner Fred Smoot. He intercepted a pass in which he baited quarterback Doug Flutie, fooling him into thinking his receiver was open. He wasn't. A veteran move by a rookie playing his first game. Smoot also came up hard in run support, one time turning the ball carrier back inside where linebacker Kevin Mitchell stripped him. Smoot then dove on the ball.

. . .Corner Champ Bailey. He, too, picked off a pass. There's a reason the Charger wideouts combined for only five catches and it's this pair.

. . .Kick returner Michael Bates. He averaged 25.8 yards per kick return and consistently started Washington with decent field position.

Duds

. . . Quarterback Jeff George. Lacked poise in the pocket, showed poor footwork and looked out of place running this offense. And he was benched. Could be a long season.

. . .Running back Stephen Davis. Fumbled three times, losing once. His lack of concentration can be traced back to signing his huge contract last year.

. . . Guard David Brandt. Before the injury, he played poorly. In one three-snap sequence, Brandt was flagged for holding, jumped early and allowed a pressure. He might be a good starter someday, but he wasn't on Sunday.

. . . End Bruce Smith. Was it rust or age? The Redskins had better hope it was the latter. There's a reason San Diego pounded away at the right side of Washington's line. Then he ripped into the replacement refs. He might be right, they missed calls. But Smith should have been that ticked off about the sloppy play. Nary a word was said about that.

. . . Punter Bryan Barker. Where were these great directional punts we saw in the preseason, and heard even more about from the coach. He either kicked it far and straight or short and out of bounds.

. . . Quarterback Tony Banks. Couldn't provide a needed boost. Had he played well, a starting job might have followed. But he showed no reason why a change should be made.

. . . Center Cory Raymer. Snapped one ball between Banks' legs and provided little push up the middle.

. . . Linebacker Shawn Barber. Only two tackles on a day in which San Diego ran 46 times? Come on.

In betweens

. . . Tackle Kenard Lang made some plays and was active. Too bad most of his tackles occured five yards downfield. That said he doesn't quit. But it also says that he was getting shoved out of his hole quite often. Love his motor, but he's still playing out of position.

. . . Linebacker LaVar Arrington. Got completely fooled on a 16-yard end around and later missed a tackle on a 16-yard screen pass. Made a few nice plays, but he still hasn't had the impact game everyone has waited for.

. . . Linebacker Kevin Mitchell, for the most part, was strong in the middle, though he stumbled a bit in some coverages.

John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.


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