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.
Nigel Bradham, who signed with the Eagles this March after four years in Buffalo, turned himself into Miami police on Monday following a bizarre incident that occurred this past Thursday.
According to a report, the 26-year-old linebacker allegedly punched an employee at the Hilton Bentley hotel last week because he was upset at the worker for taking too long to bring an umbrella he had paid for. NBC 10 in Philadelphia also says that the employee had his head "smashed" with a glass bottle during the altercation.
The victim suffered a broken nose due to the punch and lacerations as a result of being hit with the bottle. He later identified Bradham in photographs on Friday.
The expected starter has reportedly been charged with aggravated assault (which is a second-degree felony) and has a court date set for Aug. 2.
"We are aware of the recent incident involving Nigel Bradham in Miami," the Eagles said in a statement. "We have been in contact with Nigel and the proper authorities. Due to the ongoing legal process, we will have no further comment at this time."
Philadelphia will host its first veterans practice on Thursday, and Bradham is expected to attend.
With conflicting rumors swirling around the Redskins interest in free agent Greg Hardy, ESPN's Adam Schefter said that Washington's pursuit of veteran sack master Dwight Freeney was more "realisitic."
"That would be a name more on the radar, more realistic than Greg Hardy," Schefter said of Freeney on ESPN980 on Wednesday morning (click here for full audio).
While 36-year-old Freeney is nearly a decade older than 27-year-old Hardy, the former Colts and Cardinals edge rusher had a much more productive 2015 season than Hardy did in Dallas. Freeney logged eight sacks as a situational pass rusher last year in Arizona, where as Hardy recorded six sacks and seemed to be a constant disruption for the Cowboys.
Hardy's off-field troubles also must be pointed out, while Freeney has always been a defensive leader on a host of playoff teams.
Schefter went on to say that he believes something will happen with Freeney soon, either in Washington or elsewhere in the NFL.
Any move to bring in another edge rusher only makes sense for the Redskins now that Junio Galette is lost for the season due to an Achilles injury.
This offseason Trent Murphy bulked up to switch from outside linebacker to 3-4 defensive end. The third-year pro out of Stanford added close to 30 lbs. of muscle onto his frame to take on the more consistent blocking of offensive linemen, but the move was largely predicated on the Redskins deploying Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Junior Galette from the outside linebacker spots.
Well, that plan has changed.
Galette will miss the 2016 season with a torn Achilles, and now the Redskins edge rushing linebacker group has gone from team strength to thin on the depth chart. A natural question then would be can Murphy shift back to the outside linebacker spot he played his first two years in the league?
"I have no idea," Ryan Kerrigan said about the move. "Who knows if that would be a possibility."
In two seasons with Washington, Murphy's numbers have been pedestrian, especially considering his second round draft status in 2014. As a rookie he notched 2.5 sacks in just eight starts and forced two fumbles. Last year, his sack total increased to 3.5 in 15 starts.
Murphy may be best suited as a 3-4 defensive end, especially with the added weight, as a run-stuffing defender. Strength has never been the issue for Murphy, where as lack of edge speed became apparent against NFL tackles.
"He’s carrying it pretty well," Kerrigan said of Murphy's added bulk. "He definitely looks bigger and stronger."
This situation is unique: playing defensive end might be the best position for Murphy, but with the Galette injury, the 'Skins might need more capable if not spectacular outside linebackers.
What should the Redskins do with Murphy - leave him at DE or move him back to OLB? Let us know what you think in the comments.