In the preseason, Mike Shanahan hinted that returner Brandon Banks might get used in new and inventive ways on offense.Last Sunday against the Bengals, the Redskins Coach revealed exactly how Banks will be implemented.The pint-sized playmaker took three option pitches from Robert Griffin III, matching his career total for carries. More important, it forced the Bengals defense to adjust on the fly and provided future opponents one more wrinkle in the Redskins offense to study.It gives opponents another dimension of the offense that theyve got to study for, Banks said. We got RG3 running the ball and throwing the ball, then we got the option. It gives us another advantage.Banks longest carry came on his first one. In the third quarter with the Bengals leading 24-17, Banks lined up behind Griffin in the pistol formation. Griffin was flanked by Alfred Morris.After the snap, Griffin faked to Morris, then pitched to Banks. Banks beat the cornerback to the outside and raced down the sideline for a 21-yard gain.Anytime I get the ball in space, most guys arent going to catch me, said Banks, who played out of the backfield in high school and some at Kansas State. Speed kills.Four plays later, Banks went in motion and again lined up behind Griffin, who faked to Evan Royster and pitched Banks. Banks mishandled the ball, but got a fortuitous bounce and gained five yards, reigniting a drive that culminated with a game-tying touchdown for the Redskins.We got to work on the timing, Banks said of the bobble. It was my fault; I was too close to him and ball snuck up on me. But I got a lucky bounce and kept going.The introduction of Banks and the triple option also caused the Bengals to adjust their defensive alignment which was exactly what the Redskins hoped it would do, according to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.Its something we worked on in training camp, Shanahan said. Its been in the package for the past three weeks. You kind of try to see how theyre playing their defense and when it becomes time to use Banks. Cincinnati played us in cover-2 the entire game. We got Banks in there and it caused problems for them, caused them to adjust a little bit and opened some things up.Banks added: The whole game they were playing zone. Once we started doing the option, they went to one high safety. One high safety gives the offense a lot more options to do more throwing and more routes to run in the middle of the field.Its unclear how much the Redskins intend to use Banks against the Buccaneers, or even if hell be able to play. Banks said he suffered a hip injury in practice this week. Hes listed as questionable.Long term, however, Banks hopes to keep hearing his number called.I would like to do it all season, he said. Any time I can get the ball in my hands and help the team move the ball down the field, it feels good.
By Jason Dobkin (@jasondobkin)
Stephen A. Smith mocked the Redskins on ESPN First Take on Monday after their loss to the Lions Sunday, continuing the back-and-forth between the team and the television personality.
He told the Redskins "bravo again" for losing the close game that apparently was enough to prove the point he made last week on the show that the Redskins had a loser's mentality and were "inept" and "nonexistent." Smith loudly took issue with Chris Baker's and Ricky-Jean Francois' declaration that the Redskins "run the East," saying they need to be focusing on the big picture.
Baker tweeted at him the next day, demanding respect, and Smith stuck to his guns the next day on First Take.
On Monday, Smith mocked Jay Gruden for defending his team at a press conference, where he said Smith was "out of line" for his comments and that he didn't know anything about who the Redskins were or the work they put in.
"And of course there’s the great Jay Gruden, because we know he’s great just by his name alone," Smith said. "Let’s be clear about that. We know that he’s great, [because he] takes time out of his busy schedule to comment about me."
"Who gives a damn about hard work?" he went on to say. "It's about results."
Baker held back from engaging with Smith on Twitter this time.
MORE REDSKINS: Consussion protocol for Josh Norman could be complicated
While the Redskins are not yet out of the woods regarding Trent Williams’ knee injury, the news sounds better than Williams looked after the game on Sunday.
Jay Gruden confirmed an earlier report that an MRI revealed no structural damage to the left knee of the Pro Bowl left tackle. He went down near the end of the Redskins’ 20-17 loss to the Lions and he needed assistance to get back to the locker room. After talking to the press, he had a decided limp as he walked to the team bus.
“That’s [the MRI results] good news, but we have to still monitor him during the week and see how he does,” said Gruden.
Guard Brandon Scherff left the game briefly after suffering a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. “He’s sore,” said Gruden. “He’s a tough sucker, but he’s sore.”
Scherff will be monitored in practice as well.
Gruden also said that cornerback Bashaud Breeland is sore after suffering a sprained ankle. He missed two games with a right ankle injury earlier this season but Gruden said that his injury is to his left ankle.