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The Dobbs Debut, And Commanders Aftermath

Playing Clayton Tune does not make sense right now. There. It was said.

No, Joshua Dobbs didn't play well Sunday in the Cardinals' opening-game loss in Washington. He acknowledged there were too many mistakes. But thinking Tune, the rookie backup, would have fared better is a leap that doesn't ring true, at least to me.

The gameplan Drew Petzing had Sunday, I think, would've been fine – and likely a winning gameplan – if Dobbs just didn't fumble. I don't think the Commanders could have driven for any touchdowns on a longer field with the way the defense was playing. I didn't have an issue with the pass play that led to the key strip-sack either – Dobbs just has to hang on to the ball.

As Dobbs learns the offense, it'll be interesting to see how the plays might change. Only one of his completions gained at least 15 yards, only six gained at least 10. The Cardinals need more than that. But Dobbs said he "100 percent" expects to remain the starter and I would agree with that analysis.

"I think a huge jump is in store," Dobbs said about his readiness for Week 2. "Just getting out there, getting in the flow of a game, getting in the flow with the guys and the rhythm. Just getting out there to play ball can definitely (provide) a huge jump and I expect to make a huge jump, especially situationally."

Now, what this offense will look like with a healthy Kyler Murray? It's certainly something to consider.

-- Tight end Zach Ertz was back for the first time since tearing his ACL. And he was a big part of the game plan, as Dobbs' main target early in the game. He couldn't bring in one catch – a high Dobbs throw on first down at the Washington 12 when Ertz was in the end zone, on a drive that ultimately ended in a field goal – but with an offense that was rightly conservative, his presence is important.

"It's been a long road," Ertz said, adding that he had a feeling at the end of the week he'd be playing. "I felt like myself, I felt like I could get in and out of my breaks like I wanted to, and blocking was up to the standards I set for myself."

-- Ertz said "I probably should have caught" the first-half high end zone pass that glanced off his hands. "I expect myself to make that play, whether it was catchable or not."

-- Fellow tight end Trey McBride also had a couple of good moments. Will be interesting to see if McBride's use increases as we go.

-- Matt Prater, easily good and right down the middle on a 54-yard field goal. He's now 13-for-17 in two seasons and one game with the Cardinals from at least 50 yards, and again showed that whatever he might do in preseason, he's there when it counts.

-- Hollywood Brown had a 29-yard rush on an end-around in the first half, easily the longest run of his career. He had a seven-yard rush as his previous best.

-- The Cardinals want to play "violent." That's a tenet of Jonathan Gannon. But they were flagged for four 15-yard penalties, and while there were degrees of how harsh the play was to draw the flags, the Cardinals can't have that.

-- With no more Isaiah Simmons, it looks like former Eagle K'Von Wallace is going to get that defensive role, with Jalen Thompson moving from safety to nickel cornerback. Not a big surprise given Wallace's familiarity with Gannon and DC Nick Rallis.

-- Linebacker Kyzir White, who drew the first of those flags with a huge sideline hit on Commanders QB Sam Howell and nearly started a fight, was all over the field. He looks very good in the role they have for him.

-- Most of the defenders do, for that matter. The outside linebackers looked like an excellent group in Week 1.

A game that counts to decipher what to do next. It's good football is back. On to the Giants and the home opener.