Not only is Banks a disaster waiting to happen every time he touches the ball, due to his fumbling issues (luckily none have been lost…yet), but his play-making ability has been grossly exaggerated. It turns out he’s not that hard to defend on offense, and has in fact cost the Washington Redskins yardage on a number of occasions. In the return game he remains one of the league’s worst overall return men, not only because he lacks many big returns but his decision making as well. He continues to take kicks out deep from the end zone and then fails to make it past the 20 yard line. During punt returns he often dances around back there trying to find a hole, only to lose yardage or have a short gain. On many of those occasions had he just gone forward he could have gained 7-10 yards.
Lichtensteiger has done a nice job returning from a serious knee injury, but he’s once again showing that he’s at below replacement level status. He leads the team in penalties committed and has missed a number of key run blocking assignments. Lichtensteiger is an impending free agent and given the Redskins cap situation is unlikely to be re-signed. Washington should begin to give experience to 3rd round rookie Josh LeRibeus, whom the team needs to step up. If he’s not ready, 2011 7th rounder Maurice Hurt would be an option as well since he’s likely to be here next year.
Now Hankerson definitely deserves some playing time, but he can’t be counted on for starting reps. Especially since Hankerson playing is at the expense of Santana Moss sitting. Yes Moss is a veteran and may even be a cap casualty next season, but he’s been by far the Redskins most consistent and effective receiver this year. Having him on the field more is a must (there are games where he gets less than 20% of the offensive snaps) Even if he’s not a long term answer, he can help Robert Griffin III develop in the short term. I know the coaching staff wants to use him in the slot, and obviously when the Skins go three-wide that can be his role, but he’s been way too productive to limit him this much.
London Fletcher is the heart and soul of this defense, but unfortunately his age has begun to catch-up with him. He’s really struggling in both coverage and run support this year, and could use more time on the sideline to stay fresh. He also may end up needing to be cut next year, leaving a hole for the future. Keenan Robinson, was drafted in the 4th round to be his future replacement, but now needs to step up and show he’s ready. While he’s gotten some playing time, he needs more. Not only should Robinson get some of Fletcher’s reps, but the team should look to sub out Riley who looks to have regressed some to be just an average starter this year. Between the two, Robinson could end up with 40% of the snaps from here on out, giving the team a nice trial run for next year, and hopefully some better play this season.
Williams has been part of the Redskins secondary woes this season, and while he’s not the only guy to blame, the team should look for a younger solution. Unfortunately there isn’t any immediate option. Perhaps when Brandon Meriweather returns to strong safety the team can move Jordan Pugh over to free safety, but that isn’t too ideal. Neither is the idea of Meriweather playing free safety. It likely won’t make much of a difference, but at least Pugh and Meriweather (if he’s not cut) could be on the team next year..