Cornerback Josh Norman: I loved how fired up he was; it's an indication of what he brings to the defense in addition to his talent. Norman was annoyed by more talk this week about him being overrated or not very good. The reality is, he's a very good corner. Norman's physical play caused Sammy Watkins to not get a good release on one play. Norman gave him a hard jam. Watkins then tried to lean into him and break inside, but Norman was right there. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor had to hitch because of that, giving linebacker Preston Smith time to drill him. Norman defended a pass in the end zone, too. But it's that attitude which is beneficial to the entire defense.
Running back Robert Kelley: He took a major step up in the quest to beat out Keith Marshall for the third running back position. It's possible the Redskins will still look for a veteran back, but Kelley handled all aspects of the position. That's what the Redskins needed to see. I was slow to hop on the Kelley bandwagon, but he's had a good summer.
Linebacker Preston Smith: He played with excellent strength and continues to show development in his second season. The Redskins wanted to see him start to finish plays. That's what happened, though there were a few plays early where Smith again was close to a play, but didn't finish. On two of his big plays, Smith was unblocked. But the play that jumped out to me was when Smith faced a double team, but held his ground and powered off the block, recording a tackle for a loss.
Center Kory Lichtensteiger: He was called for three holding penalties, ending a bad preseason. He had a tough opener vs. Atlanta as well. Lichtensteiger also was moved back on a couple other rushes, though they didn't lead to negative outcomes. The Redskins just traded for center Bryan Stork who, if he decides to continue playing football (he'll be here this weekend, but is still making up his mind), will push Lichtensteiger for the starting job at some point.
Right tackles: First, starter Morgan Moses was beaten by former Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander for a sack, though Alexander was called for a roughing penalty after hitting Kirk Cousins too low. But that doesn't obscure Moses' miss on the play. Later, backup Ty Nsekhe was beaten by linebacker Kroy Biermann, who got low around the corner, for a sack. Nsekhe was a little slow to react to a stunt.
First-quarter passing attack: I was going to put tight end Jordan Reed down because he dropped two passes. That can't happen. But he was far from alone in the passing game's struggles early. Pierre Garcon dropped a pass as well, and Cousins was bad in the opening quarter. He recovered with a strong second quarter -- as did Reed -- but the opening 15 minutes, against some of Buffalo's starters, were bad.