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Brandon Banks is wreaking havoc in the CFL


Brandon Banks is wreaking havoc in the CFL

While the Redskins are hoping that some combination of Jamison Crowder, Chris Thompson and Andre Roberts can revive their long dormant special teams return units in 2015, the man who last returned a kick for a score while wearing the Burgundy and Gold is still thriving, albeit in a slightly different setting.

Brandon Banks, the tiny return threat who latched onto the Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and made a few spectacular plays for the team but ultimately flamed out in 2012, has been playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League since 2013. And after turning in a pair of relatively successful campaigns since making the move up north, his production has reached a totally new height (pun absolutely intended) in 2015. 

Of the five punts to be taken back for a touchdown this year in the CFL, Banks has three of them all to himself. The 27-year-old also has the fourth most combined special teams yards in the league, and of players with more than 15 punt returns, he's tops in the CFL with an average return of 12.7 yards. Banks has even notched a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown to go along with his work in football's third facet, giving him five total trips to the end zone in just eight games.

While with Washington, Banks started fast but couldn't stay consistent as an NFL return man: His punt return average dropped in each year as a Redskin and he didn't have a return TD in either of his last two seasons in D.C. It's evident, however, that he's solved those issues with Hamilton.

Whether he's matured as a player since entering the CFL, finds the larger field size more advantageous to his playing style, or some other factor has contributed to his increased production, Banks has become one of the most dangerous weapons in the sport. In fact, multiple news outlets have already wondered whether Banks could end up winning the CFL's Most Outstanding Player award -- a true testament to how superb he's been thus far in 2015.

The Tiger-Cats still have 12 games left on their schedule, meaning Banks has plenty more opportunities ahead of him to add to his gaudy stats. If he continues at the pace he's at, he'll easily surpass the CFL record for punt return touchdowns in a season (5). And if he throws in a few more 6-pointers in other areas, Banks' candidacy for MOP could get some serious traction.

Who knows, with the way things are going for him now, the 5-foot-7 Banks may find himself in an unfamiliar position after the CFL season concludes in late November: with people looking up at him for once.  

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins release updated depth chart

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With 2 TDs in 2 games, Josh Doctson headlines Redskins stock report

With 2 TDs in 2 games, Josh Doctson headlines Redskins stock report

After an important road win in Tampa, the Redskins stock is soaring. The team is 6-3 and two games up in the NFC East.

For individual players, Josh Doctson headlines the stock surge but a pair of defenders are moving the other way. Let's dig into the Redskins stock report.

Stock up - Josh Doctson - The third-year wide receiver has scored in two straight games and has caught seven of 10 balls thrown his way. The yardage numbers don't jump off the page, but all four catches in Tampa were important. Further, Doctson rebounded from a tough game against Atlanta where he dropped two passes and got flagged for a (wrong) taunting penalty. Most impressive with Doctson? The touchdown in Tampa came off schedule and showed that he kept working back to his QB once the play broke down. That will garner more trust from Alex Smith, and maybe more chances for big plays down the backstretch of the year.

Stock down - Danny Johnson - For an undrafted free agent out of Southern, Johnson has had a remarkable season. In Tampa, he did not have a remarkable game and got replaced on the field by Greg Stroman. Let Jay Gruden explain, "Danny had a good week of practice. He filled in for Stroman when Stroman had the hip issue last week and we thought we'd give Danny a shot to start. Danny was playing a little soft [coverage] there for a little while, so we decided to give Stroman a crack at it." Once Stroman got in, he grabbed an interception and had a nice pass breakup downfield. Johnson has a firm roster spot - the Redskins just released Josh Holsey - but looks like he fell behind Stroman on the depth chart. 

Stock up - Kapri Bibbs - With Chris Thompson on the shelf and a murky timetable for his return, Bibbs is getting more and more chances on the field. And increasingly, he's delivering when he gets looks. Against Tampa, he ran the ball three times for 28 yards and added two catches for 13 yards. He also had a huge gain just before halftime, the Redskins first big chunk play in weeks that Bibbs took after a screen pass, but it got called back on a holding flag. 

Stock down - Pernell McPhee - No player wants to be a healthy scratch, but that's just what happened to McPhee last week in Tampa. Jay Gruden explained: "Unfortunately I had to sit McPhee, not performance related, but just I had to get another body on the offensive line because we're banged up." It was mostly a work of roster construction that landed McPhee on the inactive list, but still, Cassanova McKinzy made the active roster after being on the practice squad. McKinzy showed some ability rushing the passer, and he can play special teams. This could be a situation worth monitoring. 


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Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers


Dustin Hopkins isn't 100-percent so the Redskins reportedly worked out five kickers

Lost in the fact that Tress Way is having a stellar season is that his fellow specialist, Dustin Hopkins, is getting it done, too.

The Redskins' kicker has made 17 of 19 field goals so far in 2018, giving him an 89.5-percent conversion rate on kicks. Against Carolina, he nailed a career-long 56-yarder, plus he's 17-for-17 on extra points.

But on Tuesday, a report came out saying that Hopkins is "a bit banged up." As of now, the Redskins don't know if they'll have Hopkins or not this weekend vs. the Texans, which is why they worked out five kickers five days before the Houston matchup, per Field Yates.

Among the group of free agents was former 'Skin Kai Forbath, who made 32-of-38 three-pointers for the Vikings in 2017. He was with the Burgundy and Gold from 2012-2014 and also briefly in 2015. 

Washington also reportedly tried out two maligned kickers in Roberto Aguayo and Blair Walsh. 

The Bucs drafted Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft but he flamed out in Tampa and was gone after a single year and poor 2017 preseason. Walsh, meanwhile, hasn't been the same since missing a 27-yard game winning playoff attempt versus Seattle while he was with Minnesota.  

Rounding out the group was Sam Ficken and Jon Brown.

The Redskins have been very reliant on both Hopkins and Way this season, seeing as their offense has had its issues. They've needed Hopkins to cash in on field goals to avoid wasting points and Way to help win the field position battle each week.

For some franchises, losing a kicker for a week or two wouldn't be much of a problem. And while Washington could very well be OK without Hopkins, they'd rather not have to bring in a new foot for any amount of time.