Thursday, February 7, 2013
Washington's return game fix
By Tim Kavanagh
A dynamic return man can have a huge impact on an NFL team's fortunes, helping to win the field position battle in a tight game or, better yet, changing the course of a game with a TD return. The Washington Redskins did not have that player in place for much of 2012, as Brandon Banks struggled to make much of a positive mark.
Banks' tenure in Washington could be coming to an end, as he's a restricted free agent this offseason. In addition, as Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Washington notes, Banks' biggest proponent on the coaching staff, Danny Smith, has been hired away by the Steelers.
In order to fix the problem, however, the Redskins -- who are up tight against the cap again due to the controversial punishment doled out by the league for violating a rule that didn't exist -- may have to find a solution on the roster. One option on kickoff returns is TE Niles Paul, a converted WR that averaged 24.9 YPA over the final five games. There's also WR Aldrick Robinson, who got reps in pre-game warmups as a returner, but never did so in a game. As for punt returns, Richard Crawford may have already locked the job up with his performance late in the 2012 campaign, averaging 19.5 YPA in five contests.
More attention will certainly be paid to the Redskins' QB situation this offseason, but the battle in the return game will be an interesting one to watch as well.