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.
Dispatches from London - While Redskins Insider JP Finlay is in London covering the 'Skins game against the Bengals on Sunday, he will occassionally provide a first-person account of the sights and sounds from the British capital.
LONDON — The trip started in an Uber headed due north, as the Tottenham practice facility made for an hour long trip from central London. With the Redskins still in Ashburn, spending the day working on a TV story with Tottenham was not a bad way to do it.
For those uninformed, Tottenham Hotspur is one of the best soccer clubs in England, and in turn, the world.
After speaking with their press office last week, photographer Mitch Tischler and I headed to Enfield to watch their practice and talk with players.
The newly built facility was incredible; it looked like something out of Star Wars. Gleaming white stone and walls of glass. A sprawling campus with more soccer fields than I could count, the Spurs took the field and warmed up.
Much like watching NFL practice, we didn't get to watch much. Within about 15 minutes the PR staff escorted us off the field. From there, we waited about an hour and then walked to a side field.
Then we got hit with a pretty big surprise. Former NBA point guard and future Hall of Famer Steve Nash was practicing with the Spurs as part of an NBA-UK promotion. After practice, we all hit an auxiliary field and watched as Nash and Spurs players Christian Eriksen and Victor Wanyama tried a wild array of trick shots - with both soccer and basketball skills on display.
Pretty cool day - attended Tottenham Hotspur practice - Steve Nash did tooPosted by JP Finlay on Thursday, October 27, 2016
It was pretty nuts.
From there, we left Enfield to head to White Hart Lane, the club's north London stadium. The scene was a zoo; Tottenham is building a new stadium on the same grounds as the current park.
As cool as practice was - and it was really cool - White Hart Lane was even better. We got to meet with and talk to Ledley King, a former Spurs captain and English National Team player. King was a great interview with a lot of cool international perspective on the globalization of sports.
But more than that, King was a genuine good dude. Super nice and easy to speak with, and funny too. Probably the highlight of hanging with King and Spurs PR staffer Tony Stevens came where we were talking NFL.
King and Stevens were wondering if kickers ever have to make tackles, and how that goes. Mitch and I explained it rarely goes well, and to highlight our point, we showed the clip of Sean Taylor destroying Brian Moorman in the Pro Bowl. In unison, King and Stevens went full "ooooohhhhhhhhh" as we watched the hit a few times.
As ridiculous as this day was, it wasn't over. Clinton Portis arrived and we toured the stadium, going in the locker room and out on the pitch. Yeah, that's right, the pitch.
Tottenham plays a home game on Saturday, and we're hoping to attend.
As far as London goes, the only real drawback is the traffic. I live in and drive around DC all day, I know bad traffic, and London is bad. Also, between practice and the stadium and the traffic, I didn't eat all day, which made me quite hangry. But that's my problem, not London's.
Redskins running back Matt Jones did not not participate in practice on Thursday, one day after sitting out practice with knee soreness. His availability for Sunday's game against the Bengals in London looks very much in doubt.
As #Redskins practice gets underway, looks like Matt Jones (knee) is on the side once again.— Stephen Czarda (@SCzardaRedskins) October 27, 2016
Coach Jay Gruden told the media after Wednesday's practice that Jones was reporting knee soreness with lateral movement.
If the second-year back can't play Sunday, Gruden said rookie Robert Kelley would get the majority of carries and Chris Thompson would continue playing third-down back as normal.
The game could represent a big opportunity for Kelley after Jones fumbled twice in last week's loss to the Lions.
Gruden is expected to update the media on his players' health at Thursday's postgame press conference.
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