Brandon Banks wasted little time showing he still has the same burst he showcased last year before a knee injury hampered him late in the season.
In the first half, Banks returned a punt 19 yards and then turned in a 58-yard kickoff return that he nearly broke for a touchdown.
“He’s got the ability -- depending on the height of the kick -- if he breaks one tackle, he’s got the ability to go the distance,” Redskins’ coach Mike Shanahan said. “I was pleased with his judgment there, made a big play. Too bad we couldn’t take advantage of that field position.”
The Redskins used three draft picks on wide receivers and acquired two others via free agency and trade, leaving some speculating whether Banks would make the team despite his explosiveness before last year’s injury.
Banks underwent surgery on his left knee during the Redskins bye week last season, and his numbers dropped after the procedure. Banks averaged 27.3 yards per kick return and 13.8 yards per punt return before the surgery. He also had a 96-yard kick return and punt returns of 53, 35 and 30 yards.
After the surgery, Banks averaged 23.9 yards per kick return with a long of 65 yards and 9.4 yards per punt return, with a long of 29.
This offseason, Banks was stabbed during a confrontation outside a Washington D.C. nightclub. Banks spent six days in the hospital after suffering a collapsed lung. Banks also missed several days of practice during training camp due to soreness in his knee.