Washington Redskins Need to Expand the Brandon Banks Experiment

Matthew BrownCorrespondent IOctober 20, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Brandon Banks #16 of the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Before the start of the season, it was made clear that Brandon Banks would have to make the roster on more than just his purported ability in the return game. He made the Washington Redskins' roster following a so-so preseason where he returned one punt for a touchdown and caught three passes for 54 yards.

Since the start of the regular season, Banks has figured very little into the Redskins offensive game plan, and that needs to change.

There is no questioning the speed that Banks possesses. However diminutive he may be, Banks can fly with the ball in his hands. His biggest issue is field awareness and vision.

Too often has Banks run side to side hoping for a lane to open, where a sensible return man would hedge his best and plow forward or, heaven forbid, set up a block or two.

With his success in the return game limited this season, a respectable 26.3 yards per kick return and a mediocre 5.4 yards per punt return, Banks should have to prove his worth on offense. Thus far, he has nine offensive touches for 41 yards, with 21 yards coming on one play.

Take away that one play, and Banks has eight touches for 20 yards and a fumble to go along with his disappointing return résumé.

You have to wonder why Banks isn't being utilized as more than a gimmick player with a bit part in an unconventional offense. He will always be the smallest player on the field, but if that fact has the Redskins worried about putting him at risk, why put him in the game at all?

Not only is it a waste of a roster spot, it is a colossal waste of ability, and given the limited usage, it makes Banks a predictable player.

Banks is never going to overpower a corner or a safety, but the Redskins could run some pick plays to let him run down the field. He hasn't had much of an opportunity to show his ability to find soft spots in coverage, but perhaps he could surprise a few people.

No safety is going to keep up with Banks blazing full speed down the field, and Robert Griffin III hasn't underthrown a deep ball yet.

The issue isn't that they kept Banks, but that they have failed to do much of anything with him on offense. His best showings have been in preseason, and fans are tired of the promise of excitement in the return game with no results.

With so much attention being paid to Griffin and running back Alfred Morris, throw Banks into the fray for a fly, a deep corner or a deep post. Let him run past defenders instead of hoping he can go around, or attempt to futilely run through them.

For now, it seems the Redskins are content to ride the success of their ground game and solid production in the passing game.

It isn't a guarantee, but perhaps Banks could help add a new wrinkle to the offense to make it that much more formidable.