As he enters the final game of his second NFL season, Washington Redskins return specialist Brandon Banks says he’s feeling a bit of desperation.
During the preseason, he quashed any doubts that a balky knee would prevent him from again becoming a threat for the Redskins when he returned a punt 95 yards for a touchdown, and also averaged 30.4 yards a kick return, with a long of 55 yards.
But Banks has yet to take a punt or kick back to the house during the regular season. He’s come close a couple of times save for a nullifying penalty, narrowly missed cutback or a hair-line slight step out of bounds. But Banks wants to finally get the job done.
“I don’t want to say I’m desperate, but hey, it is what it is. I want to go out and at least have a touchdown that counted this season, so I’m going to try hard,” the 5-foot-7, 155-pound Banks says, grinning and shaking his head.
Special teams coach Danny Smith calls Banks “a weapon, and a lot of people in this league are fearful of him.” Smith further gushes: “I love the guy. He’s a big play-maker. … I love his competitiveness and I see him improving.”
Banks — who leads the NFL with both kickoff return attempts and kick return yardage, and ranks 11th in punt return yardage — doesn’t quite give himself as glowing a review, however.
“Personally, I’d probably give myself a C-plus,” he said. “I could’ve done better in some areas, and could’ve scored a couple times with some better cuts. And then me, going through my injury, and just getting better every week. I’d still say a C-plus.”
If he doesn’t record a touchdown this weekend, Banks says he will count playing a full season as his top individual accomplishment of the season. Because of his diminutive stature, Banks has always faced questions about his durability, and those doubts were further magnified as his surgically repaired left knee continued to swell up on him during the preseason.
But Banks has played in every game, and his knee has gotten stronger as the season has progressed.
“That’s my main positive,” Banks said. “I had a lot of bumps and bruises and my knee bothered me a lot, but I played every game and finished every game.”