But the Redskins were anything but hospitable to Bugel, who helped them reach three Super Bowls in his nine seasons as offensive line coach under Joe Gibbs.
Mark Rypien threw three touchdown passes and the Redskins capitalized on four interceptions in cruising to a 31-0 victory at RFK Stadium.
"You always want to do well in front of your teacher," Redskin tackle Jim Lachey said. "We wanted to put on a clinic."
Guard Russ Grimm said despite almost a decade under Bugel's guidance, "you've got friends, and then there's business. I don't feel sorry for him."
Rypien completed 17 of 31 passes for 240 yards as the Redskins beat the Cardinals for the 12th consecutive time at home and 26th time in the last 31 meetings.
"I thought it was a great game for our young team," said Bugel, whose optimism might come from an 0-5 start he endured in Gibbs' first season.
Phoenix quarterback Timm Rosenbach, starting his second NFL game, completed 20 of 39 passes for 228 yards, but the Redskins drove for scores after three interceptions and returned the fourth for a touchdown.
Darrell Green ended the Cardinals' first drive when he intercepted Rosenbach's pass that deflected off receiver J.T. Smith's hands at Washington's 21.
Ricky Sanders capped a seven-play drive when he took a short sideline pass from Rypien, sidestepped two defenders and ran to the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown.
Two snaps later, defensive lineman Charles Mann jarred Rosenbach, forcing him to throw a fluttering ball that was intercepted by Martin Mayhew at the Cardinals' 38.
"Give all the credit to the defensive line," said Mayhew, who made the first two interceptions of his career. "They shut the run down, so he had no choice but to pass."
Rypien drove the Redskins toward the end zone, hitting Earnest Byner with a pass on first and goal from the four. Byner caught the ball barely above the turf, then struggled out of Eric Hill's grasp and crawled into the end zone.
Mayhew set up another Redskin touchdown when he ended the Cardinals' first possession of the third quarter by intercepting a pass in the end zone.
Rypien capped an 80-yard drive on a 43-yard pass play to Gary Clark for a 21-0 lead.
Redskin safety Alvin Walton made the score 28-0 when he grabbed a tipped pass off the shoulder of Johnny Johnson and returned it 57 yards.
"This game shows that we're young. But we are not going to panic, we're not going to surrender," Bugel said. "We have a lot of growing pains."