20 questions in 20 days: 1 Is RG3 the answer?

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20 questions in 20 days: 1 Is RG3 the answer?

By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
CSNwashington.com20 questions in 20 daysAs we count down to the first game of the Redskins season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to be looking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to look into their crystal balls and answer them.Question 1: Is RG3 the answer?The background:The NFL is a quarterback league and for the last 20 years or so the Redskins have been bringing a knife to a gunfight. They havent even enjoyed an extended period of competence at the most important position in sports. They have settled for a good season here, a nice stretch of games there. They gave up a record haul of high draft picks to try to solve that problem and they drafted Robert Griffin III. Can he be The Guy?Tandler:The chances of Griffin playing the role of Ryan Leaf or Heath Shuler, two highly drafted QBs who were huge busts, are extremely small. Like those two and other failed high picks Griffin has the physical tools to succeed. But what separates Griffin is what he has from the neck up. His football IQ is off the charts, his mental approach to the game is perfect, and he has been and will continue to be the first player to arrive at Redskins Park every morning and among the last to leave at night. There are no guarantees but it would be a major upset if Griffin is not a major improvement for the Redskins at quarterback immediately and one of the elite QBs in the league within a few years.El-Bashir:Given what was surrendered to get him, failure is not an option when it comes to Griffin. He has to become the franchise quarterback the Redskins have sought since Joe Theismann retired almost 20 years ago. As Rich pointed out, Griffins work ethic is unsurpassed, while his aptitude athletic ability are second to none. Time will tell if he can thrive in the NFL, but the early indication is that he possesses the all the tools necessary to become a top-10 quarterback. That said, two questions come to mind when pondering Griffins future. First, can his relatively slight frame (6 foot 2, 217 pounds) withstand the weekly pounding a dual-threat quarterback can expect to receive? And second, will the Redskins surround him with the talent elite quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees always seem to have? If the answer to both is yes, the sky is indeed the limit for Griffin.20 questions in 20 days20 Aug.20Will Jammal Brown play this year?
19 Aug.21Will Chris Cooley make the team?
18 Aug. 22Can Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?
17 Aug. 23Is Garon a No. 1 receiver?
16 Aug. 24Can Trent Williams go from good to great?
15 Aug. 25Can DeAngelo Hall be a defensive playmaker?
14 Aug. 26Can Santana Moss regain his old form?
13 Aug. 27Can Orakpo post 15 sacks?
12 Aug. 28Will Leonard Hankerson break out?
11 Aug. 29Can the Redskins flip their turnover ratio?
10 Aug. 30How much can Hightower contribute this year?
9 Aug. 31Was making Billy Cundiff the kicker a good move?
8 Sept. 1Will Josh Morgan be worth the investment?
7 Sept. 2What can Jarvis Jenkins contribute?
6 Sept. 3Is the offensive line depth good enough?
5 Sept. 4Will a running back by committee work?
4 Sept. 5Is the defense ready to carry the load?
3 YesterdayHow many wins is enough?
2 TodayHow much should RG3 run?
1 TomorrowIs RG3 the answer?

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Finlay: Excited to take over as Redskins Insider

Finlay: Excited to take over as Redskins Insider

It’s an exciting day for me to take over the Redskins beat from Tarik El-Bashir. As a native Washingtonian, it’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve wanted this job since I was a kid. 

In fact, in sixth grade, after months of writing nothing but Darrell Green stories and turning them in for English homework, Miss Girard said I was no longer allowed to write about the Redskins. Who got the last laugh, Miss Girard?

Working with Tarik and Rich Tandler covering the Skins at CSN the last few years helped me learn a lot, as did my earlier work with Mr. Irrelevant, SB Nation DC and the Washingtonian. My approach to the beat will be to cover all the angles relevant for fans, and try to look ahead to what might happen and find stories that fall under the radar. In an era of information overload, readers expect more than just stats and quotes from coverage, and I know I will be able to deliver that experience.

This beat means a lot to me. I’ve watched the Redskins my whole life, I’ve cheered for them for most of it. One of the things I hate to hear is when somebody moves to the D.C. area and says ‘nobody is from here.’ 

I’m from here. My wife is from here. My friends are from here. Go to a Redskins game any Sunday, and thousands and thousands of people will show you, loudly, they are from here too. 

If you can, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat (jpfinlay3) and Facebook. I think social media is a vital part of covering a team, and I will be very active across all platforms. 

Most of all, I like to have fun. I recognize not everyone gets to watch football for their job, and I want to enjoy all of it. I’m open to talking with readers, even disagreeing here and there, so feel free to reach out. 

And before I forget - thank you. Thanks for reading, for arguing on Twitter, and please keep it coming. 

CSN Mid-Atlantic names Tarik El-Bashir Capitals Insider, J.P. Finlay Redskins Insider

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CSN Mid-Atlantic

CSN Mid-Atlantic names Tarik El-Bashir Capitals Insider, J.P. Finlay Redskins Insider

BETHESDA, Md. – July 26, 2016 – CSN Mid-Atlantic announced today that Tarik El-Bashir has been named Capitals Insider and that J.P. Finlay will now serve as Redskins Insider. The longtime CSN contributors have significant experience covering their new assignments.   

In their new roles, El-Bashir and Finlay will lead coverage of the Washington Capitals and Washington Redskins, respectively, for CSN’s online, mobile and social media platforms, including CSNmidatlantic.com. The veteran reporters will also contribute regularly to the CSN’s television news, analysis and feature programming, including its live gameday coverage.

El-Bashir, who has covered the Redskins since joining CSN in 2012, served as the Capitals beat writer for The Washington Post from 2005 to 2010. He continued to provide Capitals commentary and analysis to The Post from 2010 to 2012 while covering other assignments for the newspaper. The Washington-area native also previously covered the New York Islanders as a New York Times reporter for two seasons. Overall, El-Bashir has nearly 20 years of experience covering high school, college and professional sports.

Finlay has contributed as a reporter to CSN’s multiplatform coverage of the Redskins for four years while serving as a digital media manager and producer. Prior to joining CSN, where he most recently held the position of manager of content integration, the Washington-area native covered the Redskins for SB Nation and the Washingtonian. Finlay also served as a reporter for Roll Call and SNL Financial before being named a CSN digital media producer in 2012.

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CSN Mid-Atlantic, part of NBC Sports Regional Networks, is the official sports network of the NFL’s Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens, NHL’s Washington Capitals, NBA’s Washington Wizards, ACC and CAA. CSN Mid-Atlantic – the leading multiplatform sports media organization serving the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia – delivers more than 400 live events per year, along with Emmy Award-winning news, analysis and entertainment programming, to more than 4.5 million homes. CSN Mid-Atlantic’s digital portfolio, highlighted by CSNmidatlantic.com, is the region’s top online source for written, video and interactive sports content. Follow CSN Mid-Atlantic on Twitter at @CSNMA.

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Tarik El-Bashir: Thrilled to return to hockey beat as CSN's Capitals Insider

Tarik El-Bashir: Thrilled to return to hockey beat as CSN's Capitals Insider

After covering the Redskins for the past four seasons, I’m thrilled to announce that I’m returning to the hockey beat as CSN’s Capitals Insider.

In a lot of ways, this feels like a homecoming for me. 

For those of you who don’t know my backstory, here’s the CliffsNotes version:

I’m a native Washingtonian who learned to play hockey at Wheaton Ice Rink, went to games at Capitals Centre and had a Scott Stevens ‘drink your milk’ poster on my bedroom door. 

One of my first jobs in the business was contributing to The New York Times’ coverage of the Islanders, Rangers and Devils in the late 1990’s. Then, in 2005, I realized a dream of mine: I was named Capitals beat writer at The Washington Post and, over the next seven years, was fortunate enough to cover the highs and lows of the franchise I grew up cheering for. 

I was at Verizon Center for Ovechkin’s board-rattling NHL debut and witnessed “The Goal” from the press box in Glendale, Ariz. I was at Kettler Capitals Iceplex when Boudreau was hired on Thanksgiving and covered the dueling hat tricks by Ovechkin and Crosby in 2009 playoffs. I also worked the locker room after the Caps were humbled by Halak and the Habs in 2010 and after they got swept from the playoffs by Stamkos and Co. a year later.

Although I stopped writing about the Caps in 2012 and left The Post to join CSN a little while later, I never stopped following my hometown hockey team. I didn’t miss many games, but when work or my son’s crazy travel hockey schedule didn’t allow me to watch, I almost always dialed up the highlights on my laptop in the morning. 

This past April, I jumped at the opportunity to join CSN’s playoff coverage as an analyst on our post, postgame show, #CapitalsTalk. Although I hadn’t covered hockey in four years, it was like lacing up on an old, broken-in pair of skates; it just felt right. So when the chance to cover the Caps full-time was presented to me recently, I’m pretty sure I said, ‘Yes’ before my boss finished his thought.   

So, here we are. 

I’ve watched and covered a lot of Caps hockey over the years and now, after a scratching my NFL itch, I’m back for more. I’m pumped to join CSN’s deep and talented roster of analysts, reporters and producers. In my new role, I’ll lead our network’s coverage on the web and contribute to our coverage on the air. 

My first day on the job is today.

Please give me a follow on Twitter (@TarikCSN) and a like on Facebook (facebook.com/TarikCSN).

Talk to ya’ll soon.