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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 11/08/2011

Brandon Banks must take care of the ball, Mike Shanahan says

Washington Redskins return specialist Brandon Banks struggled on Sunday, fumbling twice while trying to field punts, mistakes that coach Mike Shanahan described as intolorable.

Banks recovered both muffed punts, but they were the third and fourth times this season that he has fumbled the ball while fielding kicks.


Brandon Banks nearly loses a punt in the first quarter at FedEx Field Sunday. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
The most costly of Sunday’s errors came when Banks tried to return a punt from the 3-yard line, fumbled and landed on the ball. The error gave Washington terrible field position.

Shanahan said Banks needs to use better judgment.

“We’re working extremely hard to make sure that happens – that he’s going to make sure he makes the right decisions,” the coach said Monday. “Any time you fumble a punt like he did and you make a bad decision just fielding the punt on the 3-yard line. I get [more] upset about those type of decisions than I do about the actual returns because those returns will eventually turn into a big play because he’s proven that he can do it. But you’ve got to make sure along the way you don’t force something or you’re fumbling the punt or you’re fielding the punt on the 3-yard line. Those mistakes can’t be tolerated.”

Banks entered Sunday’s game tied for eighth in the NFC, averaging 9.3 yards per punt return. He ranked ninth in the NFC on kick returns, averaging 23.9 yards per runback. Banks didn’t record any punt return yardage in the loss, and he averaged 23.3 yards per kick return.

By  |  11:00 AM ET, 11/08/2011

 
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