By Tarik El-Bashir
During the offseason, Coach Mike Shanahan explained to Brandon Banks that he had to earn a spot on the Redskins as wide receiver who could also return punts and kicks, not the other way around.
After four preseason games, though, Banks claimed one of the 53 jobs at a position not listed on the roster: Playmaker.
In three exhibition contests, Banks only made three receptions for 54 yards – 47 of those came on a single catch – and he struggled in Buffalo when he was targeted nine times.
But the diminutive speedster managed to leave his mark on the field in other ways. So Shanahan elected to keep seven wide receivers in order to accommodate Banks and his game-breaking potential.
“He can make plays,” Shanahan said. "We ran him around on a reverse [against the Buccaneers] and not many people can make a cornerback miss like that and get a  yard game.”
“He’s a playmaker,” the coach added. “He’s proved that since he’s been here, and we’re going to find ways to get him the football.”
Banks ranked second in the NFL among punt returners (who attempted more than one) during the preseason, averaging 23.0 yards on seven opportunities. That average included a punt 91-yard return for a touchdown against the Bears.
“If a guy’s going to make your football team, he’s going to make your football team because he’s a playmaker,” Shanahan said. “And like I said, if he’s a wide receiver and he’s catching a bubble screen or a [running] a reverse, he’s got a chance to make plays.”
“So,” the coach continued, “he made our football team because he’s a football player, and I think he can add to winning games for us in the future."