Brandon Banks said after Wednesday’s game that he doesn’t know if he ensured himself of a spot on the Washington Redskins’ season-opening roster with his performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But he’d done all that he could, he said.
“I think I put enough on film that I’ll still have a job somewhere—if not here, somewhere else,” Banks said after the Redskins’ 30-3 victory in the preseason finale.
Banks averaged 13.2 yards per punt return Wednesday. More importantly for his roster chances, he made major contributions on offense, with a 47-yard catch and a 43-yard run.
“It was very important,” Banks said. “I got an opportunity tonight to play a little bit of wide receiver. I got a big catch. I was hoping for more, but it is what it is. I went out with my best, so whatever happens, happens.”
The Redskins face a numbers crunch at wide receiver before Friday’s deadline for NFL teams to trim their rosters to 53 players for the regular season. Team officials know that Banks is a dangerous return man. He reinforced that with a 91-yard touchdown on a punt return earlier this preseason. But the Redskins also wanted Banks to show that he could contribute as a wide receiver.
“We’ve got a lot of great guys…. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a tough call for the coaches,” Banks said.
Said Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan: “That’s a problem you want to have, is when guys play good and you have some depth on your football team…. That’s part of the tough decisions. You’ve got to come up with a certain number and you’ve got to kind of find your best 53 plus your practice squad. If you have a hard time making those decisions, that means we’re getting better.”
The value of a return specialist has been diminished a bit, Shanahan said, because of last year’s change to kickoff rules. The spot of the kickoff was moved closer to the opposite goal line and the number of touchbacks on kickoffs has increased greatly.
“A lot of people aren’t having specialists because there are so many more touchbacks than there were in the past,” Shanahan said late Wednesday. “When you punt, you can always punt away from a returner. . .I think the value has diminished a little bit. Not to say you don’t want a great returner because when they do get their opportunities, just like we saw today, it can change the game.”