Cardinals vs. Redskins: 5 Things the Washington Redskins Learned from Week 2 Win

Daniel CiarrocchiCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2011

Cardinals vs. Redskins: 5 Things the Washington Redskins Learned from Week 2 Win

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    The Redskins improved their chances of making the playoffs to 64 percent with a win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

    The victory was not a pretty one for Redskins fans, but they were able to learn a lot about how an improved team battles when faced with adversity.

    As the season unfolds, more can be learned about what is behind the winning play that baffles many analysts who deemed the Redskins cellar dwellers over the summer. Washington has already equaled the projected win total that The Sporting News penciled them down for during the off season.

    While those pencils have turned over to erase those marks, it appears a new page was also turned for the Redskins after their second home win of the season. Let's examine what this could mean going forward. 

5. Rex Grossman Can Play Well When It Matters Most

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    There's "Good Rex," and "Bad Rex," but with the game on the line, we saw "Great Rex."

    When a team rebuilds, they have to assess what they have, especially at the quarterback position. And when a quarterback endures adversity, there isn't a better barometer to gauge what a coach has under center. 

    Rex Grossman's outing against the Arizona Cardinals did not begin encouragingly, but in the waning moments of the game he redeemed himself. A gutsy throw-and-catch to Santana Moss on 4th and 3 put the Redskins within two points late in the fourth quarter.

    Then, after a critical three-and-out by the Cardinals, Grossman orchestrated the game-winning drive by completing four passes to three different receivers. 

    Now, heading into Dallas for the biggest game of the young season, the Redskins know that they have a quarterback who can be composed under pressure, despite his history of erraticism.  

4. Washington Redskins' Rookies Must Continue to Step Up

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    Before Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen took control of the front office, building through the draft had been a long-forgotten practice in Washington.  Roy Helu and Ryan Kerrigan showed what good can come out of it, and much earlier than many anticipated.

    Kerrigan had a lauded arrival last week after returning a pass he tipped for a touchdown against the New York Giants. He added to that this week by recording a late-game sack of Arizona Cardinals' quarterback Kevin Kolb.

    Roy Helu had just one carry last week, but saw his workload expand tenfold in Week 2. After gaining 74 yards on just those 10 carries, it would not be surprising to see his involvement grow in coming weeks.

    And that, Redskins fans, is the early result of what a good draft can do for a team.

3. Teams Will Continue to Attack DeAngelo Hall

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    It's very difficult to fault somebody for allowing Larry Fitzgerald to have an incredible afternoon. But for DeAngelo Hall, getting beat—and badly—is nothing new.

    Hall is a legitimate threat to pick-off passes, but sacrifices consistency in coverage by often going for the big play. That always presents a risk of getting burned, and when you're up against Larry Fitzgerald, you may as well be playing with fire. 

    Hall is a game changer for better or for worse, and like we saw against Arizona, teams will continue to throw at him early and often. 

2. The Kicking Game Remains in Question

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    It was a fantastic ending for Graham Gano, when he hit the game-clinching field goal from 34 yards out.

    However, it masked a growing problem in the kicking game in D.C., which nearly cost them a very important game in the season's earlygoings. 

    Gano missed a chip shot field goal in Week 1 versus the New York Giants and had a short attempt blocked in the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals. The same team also endured a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when a muffed snap during the extra point cost them the game.

    Kicking is a well-documented struggle in Washington, and if the Redskins are in fact contenders this season, they will need a reliable kicker to ensure as many points as possible.

1. Fred Davis Could Be a Star in the Making

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    For the second week in a row, Fred Davis emerged as a favorite target for Rex Grossman. Davis responded to his 105-yard Week 1 performance by catching six balls for 86 yards and a touchdown in Week 2.

    Davis' size and speed creates mismatches on every level of the field, and so far, all indications suggest that will continue. As long as Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney pose deep threats for the Redskins offense, Davis will continue to have big games.

    It's clear that Chris Cooley still isn't at 100 percent, but when he gets back to that point, it may not matter.