Brandon Banks watched from the sideline last Sunday as Richard Crawford caught the ball and sprinted into the open field. Crawford, in his first game replacing Banks, returned the punt 64 yards in overtime to set up the Redskins’ game-winning field goal against Baltimore.
Banks remains confident he can make the same type of big play Crawford did, but he’s unsure when or if he’ll get another opportunity after coach Mike Shanahan demoted him as the Redskins’ punt and kickoff returner last week.
“I’m good, man,” said Banks, who was inactive for the game. “I just look at as everything happens for a reason. Everybody gets different opportunities. Whatever happens, happens. I can’t control nothing. I’ll just wait for my opportunity. Hopefully I can get better and get healthier and I can go back to performing the way I want to.”
Niles Paul replaced Banks returning kickoffs. Paul is expected to return kicks this Sunday against Cleveland despite losing a fumble in the second half against Baltimore.
Banks, meanwhile, can only wait for another chance.
“Same mindset I always have,” he said. “Whenever my number is called, just try to go do the best you can.”
Crawford returned three punts against Baltimore for 20, 16 and 64 yards. Shanahan praised him for how he directly and urgently got upfield and gained yardage after catching the ball.
Crawford’s sample size is much smaller than Banks’ 26 punt returns this season, but Banks’ 6.8-yard average ranks 24th in the NFL among players with at least 17 returns.
Banks, a three-year veteran, downplayed the impact of his right hip injury, but he still expects to have surgery after the season.
“I think I’m still capable,” Banks said. “I’ve got to wait. Who knows? You never know.”