Redskins’ punt and kick returner Brandon Banks has been put on notice, Coach Mike Shanahan said Friday.
Banks’ performance has come under scrutiny after he fielded a punt in the end zone against the Cowboys and got stopped at the Redskins’ seven-yard line.
“Brandon knows that he has to be smarter in the decision making,” Shanahan said after practice. “If he makes too many mistakes like that, then he’s not back there. We’re looking for some improvement, and hopefully it happens Monday night."
Banks enters Monday’s pivotal matchup against the Giants as the 23rd ranked kick off returner, averaging 24.1 yards per return. On punts, he’s 24th, averaging 6.8 yards per. Banks has taken only two punt returns for more than 20 yards, a year after posting eight returns of at least 20 yards. His lone return for a touchdown came on a kickoff during the 2010 season.
“We want more production obviously,” Shanahan said. “We’re ranked where we’re ranked. You want to get better and that’s what we’re working on. It’s a collective group, just not one guy. We’re working on improving that area.”
Shanahan was careful not to place all the blame on Banks for the lack of production in the return game. But he also did not mince words.
“You only get so many chances and if you don’t take advantage of those chances,” Shanahan said, “then you’re not playing.”
Jordan Reed was reportedly absent from the Redskins' voluntary OTA practice on Tuesday, but a picture on Twitter shows the stud tight end didn't skip the session just so he could lounge around on the couch.
Chad Johnson, expert on all things such as repeatedly hauling in footballs and transforming the end zone into the 18th green at Augusta National, posted this photo of him, Reed and one other fellow, presumably following a workout:
For those who want to freak out that Washington's top offensive threat didn't show up in Ashburn for his team's OTAs, it's important to remember that 1) it was not required and 2) judging by that snapshot, Reed has had no trouble staying in football shape on his own or finding people to hone his craft with.
By the way, peep that hashtag from Johnson. When a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro uses the word legendary to refer to someone else, that someone else should feel pretty good about himself.
MORE: DID ONE OF THE TEAM'S TIGHT ENDS FORCE THE NFL'S CELEBRATION RULES TO CHANGE?
Last fall, Vernon Davis scored a touchdown in a Redskins win over the Eagles. Immediately following, he used the football in place of a basketball and made a jump shot over the cross bar. It was a cool, spontaneous celebration for his second TD of the season.
Seconds later, a penalty flag hit the ground. Davis was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for using the ball as a prop. In a league with a tremendous amount of awful penalties, it ranked as one of the worst of the season.
The good news? In 2017, Davis' celebration will no longer draw a flag.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell penned a letter explaining the changes:
We are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays. We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown. And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements.
In a league committed to Thursday Night Football - which both players and fans dislike - as well as archaic policies on social media and substance abuse, this is a rare, positive development.
It's okay to let players have a little fun, show some personality. Goodell made clear that lewd celebrations would still be flagged, and that's reasonable. Using the ball as a prop, however, shouldn't be. Now, it won't.
Did Davis break the NFL? Probably not, though his penalty is often the first thing people point to when discussing the absurdity of the ball as a prop rule.
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