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Super Bowl Picks: After impressive playoff run, JP & Tandler pick between Falcons/Patriots

Super Bowl Picks: After impressive playoff run, JP & Tandler pick between Falcons/Patriots

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. Playoff records to date: Tandler (8-2), Finlay (7-3).

Super Bowl LI

Falcons vs. Patriots (-3.0)

Related: Jacoby snubbed again

Tandler: For the last two weeks I’ve been trying to talk myself out of picking the Falcons. After hearing all of the talk about Belichick having two weeks to prepare for an opponent and how he will take Julio Jones out of the game I haven’t heard anything to change my mind. The Patriots aren’t playing the string of trash heap and inexperienced quarterbacks that helped them lead the league in scoring defense. Scheme is great but you can’t scheme out Jones, Sanu, Gabriel, Coleman, and Freeman. I’m sure JP will tell you about how the sharps Vegas has this all figured out because of a half point move in the spread or something. But the Falcons have the horses and that’s enough for me to pick them. Falcons 28, Patriots 20

Finlay: Before we get to Vegas, and before we get to Julio, did Tandler forget that the Pats held Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell to 17 points last week? Last I checked that Steelers offense is pretty dynamic. So I don't think this is as simple as saying Atlanta has the horses. One spot I do think the Falcons have an edge over New England is the screen game, as I'm not sure the Patriots have linear speed to keep up with Freeman and Coleman out of the backfield. Yet, I will still take the Patriots. I don't think Tom Brady wins this game; I think LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis do. If Tandler and I are smart enough to know Atlanta's offense is a real threat, I'm guessing Belichick has sorted that out as well. Best way to stop the Dirty Birds? Keep them off the field. Patriots 27, Atlanta 20

More Redskins: Examining 11 prop bets: Lady Gaga, Trump, and lacrosse

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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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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