Following Tuesday’s minicamp practices, Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said he’s informed third year kick returner Brandon Banks that he’ll have to contribute on offense if he wants to make the team.
Banks is undoubtedly an explosive player, but nagging knee injuries slowed down his ability to return kicks in 2010 and in 2011. To keep him fresh, Mike Shanahan classified him exclusively as a kick and punt return specialist in 2011, making sporadic appearances on offense, including the above trick play.
Banks has only officially returned one kick for a touchdown in the regular season, having several others called back, including an end around on offense that was called back because of a dubious holding call. He’s made only 2 catches for 10 yards and rushed for 7 yards. (His quarterback rating, however, is perfect.)
With the Redskins backed-up at receiver after the signings of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, in addition to second year receiver Leonard Hankerson and a revitalized Santana Moss, and with a host of other receivers and running backs able to take over kick and punt return duties and contribute on offense like Terrence Austin, Anthony Armstrong, and running back Tristan Davis, Banks now faces an uphill climb if he wants to be on the team. His explosiveness is an asset, and his speed makes him an intriguing deep option for Robert Griffin III, but it takes more than speed to play receiver in the NFL.
Banks has put on more muscle and has performed admirably in OTAs at wide receiver, and offensive coordinator has been scheming ways to get the ball in his hands for the past two seasons. But unless Banks proves he can be some sort of consistent receiver, he may fine himself on the outs fr the Redskins.
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