Kirk Cousins and his primary new receiver both flopped during the Washington Redskins' 2017 season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on Sunday. Sadly, the pair had plenty of company during what was a shaky performance from the Burgundy and Gold in losing 30-17 to an NFC East rival.
Cousins and hands-of-stone wideout Terrelle Pryor Sr. weren't helped by an offensive line that was no match for Philadelphia's impressive array of pass-rushers. The continued absence of a running game not sufficiently strengthened this offseason also served to hamstring the Redskins offense.
Based on Week 1, it could be a long year for Washington's offense. It may be longer still for a Redskins defense worked over in the second half by young Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and his receivers.
Incoherent planning from defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, coupled with an inability to finish plays in key moments, wasted some fine individual performances, particularly from newcomers Zach Brown and Terrell McClain.
Read on to find out who are the winners and losers for the Redskins after a disappointing start to the new season.
Winner: Terrell McClain
The Redskins invested heavily in fortifying their defensive line this offseason, so they should be pleased with Terrell McClain's efforts on Sunday.
McClain arrived from the Dallas Cowboys in free agency with a reputation as a disruptive interior D-lineman who is a force against the run. He justified his billing with some solid and perhaps unseen work against the Eagles.
Two plays from the first quarter helped showcase what McClain can bring. The first was a stop for a loss on Wendell Smallwood. McClain made the play thanks to his strength and technique. He began by deftly sliding down the line to take on pulling left tackle Jason Peters.
Staying on the outside of Peters' inside shoulder, McClain was in a great position to shed the block. He did so after slamming into Peters and standing the tackle up, forcing Smallwood to slow down.
McClain then went low to split the gap and knife into the backfield to drop Smallwood for a short loss.
This was a heady play all about recognition and execution. McClain read an outside run and didn't let himself get reach-blocked on the edge. He was too strong for Peters and quick enough to halt Smallwood before he built up speed on the outside.
Later in the quarter, McClain did the unfashionable but essential work to set up a key stop on 3rd-and-short. Zach Brown made the play, taking down LeGarrette Blount to force the Eagles to punt, but the stop owed everything to McClain.
Specifically, the play was created by McClain's ability to hold a double-team. He held up both the tackle and guard to create a clear lane for Brown to exploit and attack downhill.
Linemen controlling multiple blockers so linebackers can make the plays is how the 3-4 is supposed to work.
McClain looked every inch the two-gap monster he's paid to be. His regular-season debut with the Redskins was a far cry from the struggles the 29-year-old experienced during preseason, per Nora Princiotti of the Washington Times.
Instead, this formidable showing only strengthens the belief McClain should replace Ziggy Hood as Washington's starting nose tackle.