Last month, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said return specialist Brandon Banks also must contribute at wide receiver if hes to earn a spot on this seasons roster.On Sunday, Banks reaffirmed his intent to meet Shanahans challenge.Im not nervous; Im more ready and excited, Banks said during his youth football camp at Georgetown Prep. If I can get the ball in my hands, I can go the distance anytime I touch the ball. But Ive got to be able to get into the right areas for the quarterback to get me the ball.And that, right there, is the catch for Banks as training camp opens at Redskins Park this week.The 24-year-old is well established as a punt and kick off returner, having filled that role each of the past two seasons in Washington. Now, though, the diminutive fan favorite has about a month to prove he can run routes, overcome his size disadvantage, find openings in coverage and, of course, snag Robert Griffin IIIs powerful passes, too.There are 12 wide receivers currently listed on the Redskins roster. That deep corps is headlined by free agent additions Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, veteran Santana Moss and the emerging Leonard Hankerson.In minicamp, Banks saw time at each receiver spot and impressed the coaching staff. Hes also reportedly packed 10 more pounds onto his 5 foot 7, 155-pound frame.My mindset is to contribute at wide receiver, show the coaches I can run a route, catch the ball and make plays without a punt return or kick return, Banks said. Thats my main concern. Im just trying to get a connection with the quarterback, so hopefully I can be here this year.In addition to practicing his route running and studying the playbook this offseason, Banks said he also spent time at rehab facilities in Arizona and North Carolina working on strengthening his left knee, which required surgery in 2010. Lingering discomfort in the joint bothered him off and on most of last season, too, he conceded.Im a hundred percent, Banks said. I went back to the doctor that did my surgery, and he checked me out and told me exactly what I needed.I went back home to Raleigh, he added, and really focused on myself and my rehab. Its back. Im back. Im back in full effect.Banks understands the daunting task hell face in the coming weeks. But hes also confident that his skill set and specifically his speed and elusiveness will ultimately help him secure one of the 53 spots on the opening day roster.I dont think nobody has an advantage, he said, referring to the receivers he must beat out. Guys have certain skills, certain talents. Mine is speed.
Quinton Dunbar had one heck of a day in New York on Sunday in the Redskins 29-27 win over the Giants.
Dunbar grabbed an interception and made a catch in the same game, something no Redskins player has done since Champ Bailey on Christmas Eve in 2000. That was the last days of Bill Clinton's presidency, and four years prior to the invention of Facebook.
Dunbar's impressive feat was not done in vain either. Both the catch and interception were huge plays for Washington, one bigger than the next, in a game that swung back and forth for four quarters.
In the third quarter, Dunbar lined up as the gunner as the Redskins went to punt. Only the Redskins faked the punt, and Tress Way fired a pass down the left sideline to Dunbar. It was no easy catch either; Dunbar had to jump for the ball and had a defender right on him.
Later, as the Giants were driving to extend their fourth quarter lead and deep in 'Skins territory, Dunbar made an excellent one-handed leaping interception. It was a very athletic play and gave Kirk Cousins and the Washington offense the ball on what would prove to be a scoring drive.
In 2015 Dunbar proved his versatility to be a real asset for the Redskins. A receiver in college at the University of Florida, Washington flipped Dunbar to the other side of the ball to be a cornerback. As the 'Skins took off in the second half of last season, Dunbar came to be a integral part of the teams secondary.
That same versatility showed Sunday in New York, and now it has Dunbar's name next to Champ Bailey in the Redskins history books.
MORE REDSKINS: Beckham gets yards, but Norman gets win
Hype doesn't even begin to describe the attention put on Sunday's matchup between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham. The pairing of star cornerback and star receiver overshadowed the Redskins-Giants game, even though Washington came in desperate for a win.
Beckham versus Norman didn't disappoint either. It's overly simplifying the chess match between the two to declare a victor, but one side definitely left Giants Stadium smiling.
Make no mistake, Beckham got his. He recorded seven catches on 11 targets for more than 100 yards. But it's what Beckham didn't do - score a touchdown - that stands out.
Norman's play was solid throughout. He almost snagged a first half interception of Eli Manning and delivered a big hit on rookie Sterling Shepard in the second half that resulted in a personal foul penalty.
In the end though, Norman's team won. And that's what matters.
"It's an awesome day. Straight awesome day," Norman said after the game.
As the players took the field before the game, the Giants Stadium crowd shouted a lot of ugly comments Norman's direction. Then throughout the game Norman was repeatedly booed by the crowd.
"Towards the end I was just celebrating with my teammates, victoriously, you can't ask for nothing better than that."
Much too much was made of the Beckham/Norman pairing, and perhaps for the next NFC East game between the 'Skins and Giants the focus will be different. But on Sunday, Norman and Beckham were the story.
"He made some plays and I made my plays," Norman said of Beckham.
"We got a team win. That's what it was – the Washington Redskins versus the New York Giants."
MORE REDSKINS: Beckham Jr. gets into fight with kicking net