In the preseason, Mike Shanahan hinted that returner Brandon Banks might get used in new and inventive ways on offense.Last Sunday against the Bengals, the Redskins Coach revealed exactly how Banks will be implemented.The pint-sized playmaker took three option pitches from Robert Griffin III, matching his career total for carries. More important, it forced the Bengals defense to adjust on the fly and provided future opponents one more wrinkle in the Redskins offense to study.It gives opponents another dimension of the offense that theyve got to study for, Banks said. We got RG3 running the ball and throwing the ball, then we got the option. It gives us another advantage.Banks longest carry came on his first one. In the third quarter with the Bengals leading 24-17, Banks lined up behind Griffin in the pistol formation. Griffin was flanked by Alfred Morris.After the snap, Griffin faked to Morris, then pitched to Banks. Banks beat the cornerback to the outside and raced down the sideline for a 21-yard gain.Anytime I get the ball in space, most guys arent going to catch me, said Banks, who played out of the backfield in high school and some at Kansas State. Speed kills.Four plays later, Banks went in motion and again lined up behind Griffin, who faked to Evan Royster and pitched Banks. Banks mishandled the ball, but got a fortuitous bounce and gained five yards, reigniting a drive that culminated with a game-tying touchdown for the Redskins.We got to work on the timing, Banks said of the bobble. It was my fault; I was too close to him and ball snuck up on me. But I got a lucky bounce and kept going.The introduction of Banks and the triple option also caused the Bengals to adjust their defensive alignment which was exactly what the Redskins hoped it would do, according to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.Its something we worked on in training camp, Shanahan said. Its been in the package for the past three weeks. You kind of try to see how theyre playing their defense and when it becomes time to use Banks. Cincinnati played us in cover-2 the entire game. We got Banks in there and it caused problems for them, caused them to adjust a little bit and opened some things up.Banks added: The whole game they were playing zone. Once we started doing the option, they went to one high safety. One high safety gives the offense a lot more options to do more throwing and more routes to run in the middle of the field.Its unclear how much the Redskins intend to use Banks against the Buccaneers, or even if hell be able to play. Banks said he suffered a hip injury in practice this week. Hes listed as questionable.Long term, however, Banks hopes to keep hearing his number called.I would like to do it all season, he said. Any time I can get the ball in my hands and help the team move the ball down the field, it feels good.
On Wednesday, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said that six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams would not play on Sunday against the Texans.
"That's for sure," the coach said.
By Friday, the tune had changed. Drastically.
Gruden said that Williams' status on Sunday will come down to the medical staff. The coach added that Williams has to be comfortable in whatever cast will support his dislocated thumb.
As for Williams, he would not say for sure that he's going to play. But after talking with him for a few minutes in the Redskins locker room, it seems like the medical staff will be hard pressed to keep him off the field.
I asked Trent Williams if the pain has subsided. “Hell nah, but I want to try and fight through it” pic.twitter.com/kfvZ4SYxC8— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) November 16, 2018
Williams missed the Redskins last two games after injuring his thumb in a victory over the Giants. Without him, the Redskins offensive line performed admirably, but both tackles Morgan Moses and Ty Nsekhe are fighting through a number of injuries.
The thumb injury required surgery, which happened about two weeks ago and came with a rough four-week timetable for recovery. Williams is attempting to cut that in half.
Asked about Williams possibly playing Sunday, Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said he wants his friend and teammate to be smart about his future. Peterson said "there's a lot of football left" but the running back also added that there were situations watching Texans film this week where "it'd be real nice to have Trent out there."
Williams himself said that it must be tough for Peterson, as the two are close friends. Obviously, the running back wants the star tackle out on the field, but he also cares about his long-term future.
Notes: Redskins K Dustin Hopkins landed on the injury report earlier with a groin injury in the week and the team brought in other kickers for tryouts on Tuesday. On Friday, Hopkins said he was pain-free and planned to "give it a go" Sunday against Houston.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
The main news on Friday at Redskins Park was the surprising return to the practice field by Trent Williams.
That wasn't the only notable development when it comes to injuries, though.
During his end-of-the-week podium session, Jay Gruden ruled Samaje Perine out for Sunday's game against the Texans. The second-year back has a calf injury and won't be able to go in Week 11.
As of Friday afternoon, that leaves the 'Skins with just two healthy running backs in Adrian Peterson and Kapri Bibbs. Chris Thompson is on the active roster as well, but he's dealing with rib issues and he's going to be absent when Houston visits.
This means you should expect to see Byron Marshall in Burgundy and Gold come kickoff. Marshall has been on IR with an ankle injury since the start of the year but said he's been healthy for a while now and would be ready to step in as the third back.
The majority of offensive snaps the past few weeks have gone to Peterson and Bibbs, so Marshall shouldn't figure into things too much when the Redskins have the ball. He showed flashes in some spot duty in 2017, though, so if need be, he could be productive for Gruden.
With Trey Quinn already back on the 53, if/when the team elects to bring back Marshall, the Redskins will be out of IR activations. NFL rules stipulate each club only gets two per season.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- Trent Williams to Play Sunday? Trent Williams was definitely not playing Sunday against Houston, but now he might
- Stock up, stock down: Doctson's putting it together
- Offensive Depth Chart: Trey Quinn back on active roster
- New kicker needed?: Hopkins "a bit banged up"