I’ll have my prediction for the final 53 up in a little while but let me throw out something that Mike Shanahan said regarding one of the more controversial roster decision he will have to make. After the Bucs game, when he was asked if Brandon Banks’ ability as a kick returner would make it hard for the team to cut him, Shanahan said the following:
Well, I think with the ball on the 35 instead of the 30, it’s going the other way. A lot of people are having specialists because there are so many more touchbacks than there were in the past. When you punt, you always punt away from the returner. The value is there. From a couple years ago, I think the value has diminished a little bit – not to say you don’t want a great returner. When they do get their opportunity, just like we saw today, it can change the game.”
In context “going the other way” meant that most NFL teams are going away from have a specialized return man. And it appears that that is what Banks is. Yes, he did catch a 47-yard pass from Kirk Cousins and race for 43 on and end around. But if he was called on to do the things that wide receivers need to do if they are in a regular lineup against front-line defenders—run dig routes, go over the middle, block for the run game, and so on—it’s hard to see him doing that.
Just when you think Shanahan is saying that there is little hope for Banks he finishes his answer with the part about how a player like Banks can change a game. If he can be a game changer, how can a team that lacks players with those skills let a Brandon Banks go?
We’ll find out over the next 36 hours or so.