In each of the last two preseasons, Brandon Banks has used big plays in the punt return game to cement his place on the Washington Redskins roster.
Saturday night Banks, who is again battling for a spot on the 53-man roster, ripped off another big return. The 5-foot-7, 153-pound Banks took a second-quarter punt 91 yard yards to paydirt to give Washington its only touchdown of the first half.
The return marked the third straight preseason touchdown for Banks. As a rookie, after struggling with fumbles, he redeemed himself with a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown. Last year, after an ineffective start to the preseason and with questions swirling about the health of his surgically repaired knee, Banks returned a punt 95 yards.
The latest heroics come a week after Banks struggled mightily during a lengthy stint as a wide receiver. Banks had just two catches and struggled to get open though he was targeted a game-high nine times.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has said that Banks must prove he can contribute as a wide receiver – not just a return specialist – to make the team. Special teams coach Danny Smith said that he will “stand on the table” and lobby for Banks to make the team.
Banks didn’t see time at receiver during the first three quarters Saturday night. But his punt return would certainly seem to help his case.