The Washington Post

Mike Shanahan says Brandon Banks must take care of ball

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan says he isn’t overly concerned by the rough outing that punt/kick returner Brandon Banks had on Sunday, but he adds that the third-year pro needs to do a better job of taking care of the ball going forward. At the same time, Shanahan said he was happy with Banks’ play at receiver Sunday.


Brandon Banks had two fumbles on punt returns Sunday, but also picked up a key first down on offense. (Washington Post/John McDonnell)

Banks had two fumbles on punt returns in Sunday’s 40-32 win over the Saints, but recovered both. Banks’ first came in the third quarter when he muffed a punt at Washington’s 36-yard line and pounced on the ball, but was unable to return it.

 Then in the fourth quarter, Banks fumbled on a three-yard return when he got hit by the Saints’ Will Herring. Banks managed to recover the ball to maintain possession for his team at its own 23-yard line.

 “The one thing Brandon will do is he’ll look at the punt, he’ll look at the coverage – sometimes he’ll take his eye off it at the last second and still get on the football,” Shanahan said. “He knows that he cannot turn the football over. That’s been our big emphasis throughout the OTAs and throughout the summer camp – is not turning the football over. You turn the football over and I don’t care who you are, you lose. Offensively and defensively, you have to get turnovers. If you don’t win that turnover ratio, it doesn’t matter if it’s the regular season or the playoffs, the chances are you’re not going to go very far. That will be a big emphasis, and Brandon knows that.”

 For the game, Banks averaged 8.5 yards on four punt returns and 24.5 yards on two kickoff returns. But Shanahan was pleased with the production the 5-foot-7, 153-pound Banks gave the Redskins on his lone target as wide receiver.

 Facing third-and-5 on Washington’s first possession of the game, quarterback Robert Griffin III completed a pass to Banks on a screen to the left. Banks made a man miss and then picked up six yards and a first down.

 “He’s probably the only guy that could make that guy miss, that corner, where he dips through the inside and makes a first down,” Shanahan said.

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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