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Championship Sunday: Tandler & JP make picks in Atlanta/Green Bay and Pittsburgh/New England

Championship Sunday: Tandler & JP make picks in Atlanta/Green Bay and Pittsburgh/New England

Since the Redskins are not participating in this year’s playoffs, CSN Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay are going to pick the NFL playoff games and offer a little analysis along the way. Need we say that this is for recreational purposes only?

Let us know where we went wrong in the comments section. Records to date: Tandler (6-2), JP (5-3).

Sunday conference championship games

Packers at Falcons (-5.0)

Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation

Tandler: This looks like one that will go to whoever has be ball last. One key will be the actual health of the favorite targets of Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan. Both Jordy Nelson (ribs) and Julio Jones (toe) will play. But there is a difference between showing up with a helmet a shoulder pads on and contributing to the level that will make a difference in the game. My impression from reports is that Jones will be more fully functional than Nelson. That’s advantage Ryan and the Falcons. Falcons 41, Packers 35

Finlay: When the playoffs began I predicted the Falcons to lose to the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and I can't back off that now. Green Bay's run has been magic, but it's tough to keep winning road playoff games. This game will be run on offense as many expect, but it will be the Atlanta run game that proves too much for the Packers to stop. I'm not sure about laying five points, but considering Vegas will desperately need Dan Quinn's team to cover, I don't mind it either. If you want a play on this game, be a contrarian and take the under. Atlanta wins this game on the ground. Falcons 30, Packers 24

More Redskins: Will the first round fall into place?

Steelers at Patriots (-6.0)

Tandler: The Patriots haven’t faced anything resembling a top-notch NFL quarterback since Week 10 when they played Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. That also happens to be the last time they lost. They face a big-time QB today in Ben Roethlisberger. They also face the best running back in the game in Le’Veon Bell and one of the best receivers in Antonio Brown. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be tested like they haven’t been in over two months. If it sounds like I’m leading up to picking the Steelers, I’m not. We’ve seen this movie before and the Patriots usually are the ones smiling at the end. But I will take the points. Patriots 24, Steelers 20

Finlay: Tandler laid it out well, plenty of reasons to like Pittsburgh. Ben, Brown, Bell lead the effort of an impressive offense. But something about the Tom Brady Deflategate Revenge Tour leads me to believe New England won't lose this one. I like the points too, but asked for a winner, gimme the Pats in a somewhat high-scoring affair. Patriots 30, Steelers 26

Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation


Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Why did Redskins choose Byron Marshall over Kapri Bibbs? Jay Gruden reveals his answer

Why did Redskins choose Byron Marshall over Kapri Bibbs? Jay Gruden reveals his answer

The Washington Redskins released running back Kapri Bibbs on Saturday, and in turn, made a decision to stick with Byron Marshall at the position instead.

The move leaves Washington with four backs on the roster: Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. Green Bay moved quick to claim Bibbs off waivers, so the Redskins will not be able to sneak him back to their practice squad. 

Asked about the decision to release Bibbs, Washington head coach Jay Gruden explained the situation as he sees it (quotes via Redskins Talk podcast):

You know Bibbs is a good player. I didn’t release him because he’s a poor player. Perine right now is Adrian Peterson’s backup. That’s the way it is. We dress one 1st/2nd-down back throughout the game and that’s Adrian. Chris is our 3rd-down back and obviously 2nd-and-long get back on track back. The next guy I like to have is a backup to both of them kind of, and that’s Bibbs and Marshall. And Marshall, to me in preseason, showed a lot of flash, a lot of speed, he’s a little bit better on special teams although he missed the tackle the other day. 

There's a lot to take in, and some fans take exception to Perine maintaining his roster spot. Listening to Gruden and others at Redskins Park, that decision does not sound at all negotiable.

So the real competition was Bibbs against Marshall. 

"I decided Marshall’s skill set [is] something very intriguing," Gruden said. 

The numbers don't really back up that assertion, but a lot of that is because Marshall hasn't been able to stay on the field. 


In parts of the last two seasons, Bibbs has been much more productive than Marshall, in large part because of durability. 

The Redskins signed Marshall off the Eagles practice squad in November 2017. He dressed in four games, rushing nine times for 32 yards and adding six catches for 36 yards, before a hamstring injury landed Marshall on the injured reserve, ending his season. 

With Marshall done, the team then signed Bibbs in December from the Denver practice squad. In three games, he piled up more than 200 total yards and a touchdown. 

Fast forward to training camp 2018, and it was clear Marshall was ahead of Bibbs on the depth chart. Marshall looked good too in the early going, before a knee injury landed him on the injured reserve list to start the season.

That created more opportunity for Bibbs, and he played well, especially for a long stretch while Thompson missed time with a rib injury. 

In 10 games this season, Bibbs rushed 20 times for 101 yards and three TDs. He also added another 13 catches for 102 yards and another TD. That's good for a 6.1 yards-per-touch average. 

The Redskins used one of their two injured reserve return designations on Marshall, and his first game back came against Houston in Week 10. In that game he had two carries for five yards, and more infamously, Marshall was the running back on the play when Alex Smith suffered a season-ending broken leg.

In four games since he's returned, Marshall has four catches for 30 yards and three carries for nine yards. He also returned two kickoffs in Jacksonville, averaging 15 yards-per-return. 

The stats don't really matter much now, as Marshall is on the team and Bibbs is in Green Bay.

Gruden picked the guy he believes has the higher upside, and if he can stay healthy, maybe Marshall will prove his coach right. 



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Jay Gruden admits Redskins should have activated Simmie Cobbs earlier

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Jay Gruden admits Redskins should have activated Simmie Cobbs earlier

Last week, the Redskins lost practice squad wide receiver Simmie Cobbs to the Saints even though Washington offered the undrafted rookie a deal similar to New Orleans. 

On Monday, 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden admitted that losing Cobbs stings a bit for the franchise. 

"It was tough because we had him in the building and he was progressing very well," Gruden said Monday on the Redskins Talk podcast.

"In hindsight, I probably should have activated him sooner, to be honest with you."

Credit Gruden for the honesty, and while Cobbs is an intriguing prospect, don't confuse him with Larry Fitzgerald quite yet.

It's possible he doesn't make the active roster this season for New Orleans, but at 6-foot-3 and with good hands, he is the kind of player that turns heads. 

It's easy to criticize the Redskins for rolling with low potential players on the wide receiver depth chart - veterans like Brian Quick and Michael Floyd - instead of giving the rookie a shot. It's also important to recognize that the Burgundy and Gold have been fielding a makeshift offensive line for weeks and juggling a number of other injuries, leaving the roster structure a bit of a mess. 

Even without Cobbs, Gruden pointed out the Redskins still have a number of young, intriguing WR prospects for 2019: Cam Sims, Trey Quinn, Robert Davis and Darvin Kidsy. Sims, Quinn and Davis are all on the injured reserve list while Kidsy is on the practice squad. 

The particular tough point with Cobbs is that the Redskins had an empty roster spot before their game against the Eagles. Gruden perhaps acknowledged that mistake, or even if the right time was at a different juncture, the coach didn't like losing the player.