Brandon Banks was noticeably slower durng the second half of last season after undergoing midseason arthroscopic knee surgery. He returned to the field quickly after surgery but didn’t have the same impact in games. To make the roster, the wide receiver and kick returner will have to show coaches that he’s recovered his pre-injury speed.
“I think he’s healthy right now. His knee is healthy,” said receivers coach Keenan McCardell. “He’s coming back. You could see the suddenness, you could see the speed. A lot of people kind of forgot how fast he was because he was playing banged up last year.”
Redskins fans surely remember the electric return specialist Banks was early in the season. But they also remember that he made little impact on the receiving game (total catches on the year: 2).
McCardell likes the receivers he currently has in camp and thinks it may be difficult to decide which ones will stick around for the regular season. The Redskins have 11 receivers currently under contract. McCardell thinks the group gives him a lot of flexibility.
“We had some [last year] but not as much as we have right now,” he said. “We have a whole bunch right now. It’s good for me. You can just plug people in at certain positions and see their natural talent go to work.”
Santana Moss has been watching practice but won’t be able to participate in drills until Thursday morning. McCardell thinks Moss is still a perfect fit to line up in the slot. That means receivers such as Anthony Armstrong, Jabar Gaffney, Leonard Hankerson, Malcolm Kelly and Donte Stallworth might be trying to earn their stripes on the outside.
“(Moss) works the slot so well,” McCardell said. “Here’s a guy that’s naturally built to play slot, great quickness in and out of cuts, great suddenness at the top of his routes.”
While Kelly missed all last season due to injury, McCardell thinks the fourth-year veteran has as good a shot as anyone to make the Week 1 roster. He’ll be trying to fend off young guys like Hankerson, Niles Paul and Aldrick Robinson. Hankerson has looked especially good in the team’s early practices.
“His length, his hands, his ability to catch the ball,” McCardell said of the third-round pick out of Miami. “He’s a good route runner. That’s why I want him to understand, you’re a good route runner -- show it.”