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Brandon Banks puts excitement back in the return game

The Washington Redskins hoped to find a spark in the return game and after the first preseason game, 5-foot-6 receiver Brandon Banks appeared as though he might be the answer.

The Kansas State product broke off a 77-yard touchdown return against the Buffalo Bills in the Redskins preseason opener, but since has hurt his chances for a spot by fumbling. Banks fumbled a return last weekend against the New York Jets, and on Thursday night again provided inconsistent results.

The undrafted rookie free agent had a 40-yard return on the game's opening kickoff that showing his elusiveness. He was able to reverse direction and scamper to the left sideline to pick up yards.

But on his first punt return of the contest, Banks fumbled the kick as he backpedaled to catch the ball, and though he recovered it, the drop did not bode well for the undersized receiver who is hoping to make the roster based mostly on what he provides in the return game.

In all, Banks has fumbled three times, losing one.

Special teams coach Danny Smith has emphasized throughout the preseason that decisions would not be made based on a single return and that whoever wins the job will have to show he can do it consistently. Banks has had his highlight moments, but his penchant for fumbling could make him a risk not worth taking.

By Paul Tenorio  |  September 2, 2010; 11:10 PM ET
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Austin is on the team, Banks MAYBE to the PS.

Posted by: Diesel44 | September 3, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

I like him and his explosive playmaking ability, but we've had a lot of experience with fumbled punts. Not sure I can take much more of it. We may have to pass on him this season.

That being said, Terrence Austin has a spot on the roster. Kinda like I was sure Marcus Mason had one, though. :(

Posted by: Keiser | September 3, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Love how RI can just lose a whole thread. What a mamby pamby site this is.

Posted by: Diesel44 | September 3, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

That INT was on DT, he stopped his route. I'd be shocked if he was cut but his football IQ would be considered retarded.

Posted by: Diesel44 | September 3, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

If Banks has something between his ears and can learn quickly at PR, I say keep him on the 53 as the 6th WR.

Posted by: artsnsportz | September 3, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

I liked the TD. The first fumble was understandable. The other 3, not so much. The one tonight was especially atrocious - he basically tossed it into the air untouched.

I'd cut him.

Dude has been playing with a football for how long? And still doing this? Not worth the risk.

Austin can play some receiver. Keep him.

Posted by: Thinker_ | September 3, 2010 3:22 AM | Report abuse

I think you keep him for 2 reasons: one he's young and can be coached. Two, if you drop him another team will sign him before we get a chance to put him on the practice squad.

Posted by: tundey | September 3, 2010 6:34 AM | Report abuse

"That INT was on DT, he stopped his route. I'd be shocked if he was cut but his football IQ would be considered retarded."

Posted by: Diesel44

Diesel, I guess you and I will agree to disagree on this one. As I saw it, Thomas ran the crossing route, stop where he was suppose to, turn towards the QB looking for the pass. Now, Beck might have saw something that Thomas didn't see while running his route, that made him throw the ball to the spot that he did. And, in my opinion, even if Thomas had of kept running. There was no way he could have caught that pass. It was at least 8-10 yards out in front of him.

Posted by: dbailey211 | September 3, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

IMO d Thomas would be the better punt returner Banks can work the nerves out better on KO. Ever since Mike Nelms I have always prferred a bigger return man (with good balance) cause you seldom have space to field a punt and you are shaking a takle before you really get a chance to look up field.

Posted by: Rvf0509 | September 3, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Still think this kid is an upgrade from Randle el, but i think he's practice squad bound.

Posted by: numonik21 | September 3, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Banks' punt muff was almost understandable; Banks had to backpeddle almost 20 yards to get it, and it seemed to rattle him. Theissman said that Banks was not in the correct position and didn't realize the leg of NFL punters. But Banks was almost where he should be, around the WASH 35: the line of scrimmage was the AZ 20, that ball was punted from the AZ 10 and traveled 70 yards on the fly to the WASH 18 before coming down. That was some punt.

Posted by: GoTeamGoTeamGooooooTeamYay | September 3, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I was actually rooting for the young fella Banks last night, but I'm thinking Shanahan is going to decide that he may not be worth the risk this season and try to put him on the practice squad. Make no mistake, he is the most dangerous returner on this team, but his ball security is just too suspect on returns and in the passing game, for that matter. He dropped several passes last night that were really a matter of concentration, while conversely, Austin showed a level of consistency while flashing playmaking ability as well.

In the end, Austin would look to be a safer, more steady bet in the return/backup WR slot. But hopefully Banks will get a shot, his talent could be explosive.

Posted by: walkdwalk | September 3, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

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