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Redskins shut out in alternate Pro Bowl selections

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Redskins shut out in alternate Pro Bowl selections

There were 86 players originally selected to play in the Pro Bowl in Hawaii this Sunday. Due to injuries and players whose teams are participating in the Super Bowl being otherwise occupied, there have been 31 replacements named. If you go by the Pro Bowl selection process, they have identified 117 players who are among the best in the game.

Of those 117 players only one, tackle Trent Williams, plays for the Redskins. He was one of the original 86 players who was selected to play in the game but some nagging injuries forced him to withdraw. None of the 31 replacements came from the 9-7 Redskins, the champions of the NFC East.

Two Redskins, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and tight end Jordan Reed, were named as alternates. And although three linebackers and one tight end are participating in the Super Bowl and another tight end and another linebacker, Rob Gronkowski and Jamie Collins of the Patriots, withdrew due to injuries, their phones did not ring with congratulations and instructions on how to pick up their tickets to Honolulu.

The tight end spots went to Delanie Walker of the Titans and Gary Barnidge of the Browns. They had fine seasons with both going over 1,000 yards receiving, a mark that Reed, with 952, fell just short of. Reed had more receptions than Barnidge and more touchdowns than both of them.

The replacement linebackers were Anthony Barr of the Vikings, Lavonte David of the Bucs, the Ravens’ Elvis Dumervil and Green Bay’s Julius Peppers. You can certainly question Dumervil (6 sacks) and Barr (3.5 sacks) going over Kerrigan (8.5 sacks). David posted only three sacks but he did pick off three passes and force two fumbles.

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins was not even named an alternate. Cam Newton is headed to the Super Bowl and Tom Brady decided to take the week off after getting physically pounded by the Broncos. They were replaced by Jameis Winston of the Bucs and Teddy Bridgewater of the Vikings. Cousins threw for more yards and more touchdowns than either of them and had a passer rating of 101.6 (5th in NFL) compared to Bridgewater’s 88.7 (22nd) and an 84.2 for Winston (28th).

I would recommend that Redskins fans not let these “snubs” ruin their days. The Pro Bowl selection system, which is based on votes of fans, players, and coaches, is highly flawed, just like the selection processes for the all-star games in other sports. It usually takes a year or two for the reputations of breakout players like Reed and Cousins to get recognized by the Pro Bowl voters. If they keep playing at a high level they should get recognition sooner or later. 

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Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

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USA Today Sports Images

Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

Vernon Davis has long been a fan favorite in the D.C. area since his University of Maryland days. The 34-year-old is almost always well-dressed and respectful to the media. 

More recently, he has been outspoken about his interest in acting after his football career. A true renaissance man who just so happens to be a force in the National Football League. 

In April, NBC Sports Washington ran into Davis at the Team USA Awards where he was serving as guest speaker. 

He took his smooth nature to a whole new level Tuesday while vacationing in Ocean City, Md. with his girlfriend Kayla. 

Dressed in all white on the beach, Davis proposed in an epic way. 

The best motivation I ever had. #shesmyrock

A post shared by Vernon Davis (@vernondavis85) on

Check out the whole video produced below. We won't spoil it for you, but there were skydivers involved. Take a look: 

Davis will suit up for his third season with the Redskins when training camp opens July 26 in Richmond. 

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Inside linebacker

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Inside linebacker

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Inside linebackers

Additions: Shaun Dion Hamilton (drafted in the fifth round)

Departures: Will Compton (free agent)

Starters: Zach Brown, Mason Foster

Other roster locks: Josh Harvey-Clemons

On the bubble: Hamilton, Zach Vigil, Martrell Spaight

How the inside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: This is a difficult comparison to make since only about half of the teams use the 3-4 with two inside linebackers and there are many variations when they go out of their base defense. Brown certainly is in the upper tier of players at his position. Foster’s skill set may not be coveted by many teams around the league, but he is a perfect fit in the Redskins’ defense in many ways. The player who could differentiate this group from others around the league is Harvey-Clemons. If he turns into a top-notch nickel LB the inside linebackers will be a great asset. 

To the 2017 Redskins:  This is about health. In 2017, Foster missed 11 games, Brown was hampered by a variety of injuries before sitting out the last three games. Compton was the top backup to both players and he went to injured reserve after just three starts. They did re-sign Vigil, who had spent training camp with the team, and he played pretty well near the end of the season. If the front-line players can stay on the field for most of the season this should be a much better group than the one that was partially responsible for the league’s 32nd-ranked rushing defense. 

2018 Inside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: The 2017 season was supposed to be a redshirt year for Harvey-Clemons as he transitions from college safety to NFL linebacker. He played a lot in the base defense during the offseason practices and that indicates that they are considering him for a bigger role beyond just playing nickel. You have to wonder how his size (6-4, 230) will affect his ability to get off of blocks. 

Most to prove: Spaight was a fifth-round pick in 2015 and he has yet to establish a regular role in the defense. It was telling that when they needed someone to start in the latter part of last year they brought back and started Vigil and mostly kept Spaight is going into the last year of his contract, but it would not be surprising to see Vigil beat him out for the last roster spot.  

Rookie watch: The Redskins traded up in the sixth round to get Hamilton. It wasn’t a blockbuster deal but the fact that they thought enough of him to move up says something. Gruden has said that he thinks Hamilton could be a starter at some point. He was one of the leaders on a strong Alabama defense before injuries struck. Hamilton is not going to start this year barring multiple injuries, but he should develop a role as the season goes on and be ready to compete in 2019.

Bottom line: The Redskins have not invested much in terms of free agent dollars or draft capital in the inside linebacker position in recent seasons. That changed somewhat this offseason as they made sure to spend to retain Brown and Foster. Neither commanded a huge contract but they did make a commitment and that is important. Last year Brown gave the defense a sideline-to-sideline dimension it hasn’t had in quite some time and retaining him was critical. Inside linebacker may not be a major strength for the defense this year but it should be able to get the job done. 

2018 Redskins position outlook series