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Friday, December 3, 2010

Take it to the Banks

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Washington returner Brandon Banks is having a phenomenal rookie campaign. The diminutive wide receiver was undrafted out of Kansas State, but has shown breakneck speed; forcing coaches and general managers to second guess their decision to pass up on the young upstart this past NFL draft. Banks is averaging nearly 29 yards per kickoff return and has a 96 yard touchdown return to his credit. The 23 year old stands only five foot seven inches tall (listed at five foot seven) providing him the ability to vanish behind his bulky and mammoth blocking team until he finds a crease in the coverage and is off in a flash.

Giants’ special teams coordinator Tom Quinn provided his assessment of Washington’s outstanding rookie kick returner:

“He’s fast, very fast. He’s hard to find back there, in the wedge with big guys in front, it’s hard to find him. He’s spitting out of there fast.”

Punter Matt Dodge has been working on his directional punts this week in practice in order to limit Bank’s space to work, thereby neutralizing his speed. Quinn didn’t rule out the possibility of resorting to squib kicks if Big Blue cannot contain Washington’s rookie returner early on.

“You try to keep it out of his hands as best you can, exclaimed Quinn. {He’s} obviously proven what he can do and he’s shown the same thing at the college level when we evaluated {him} there. You try as best you can to move the ball around on him. But he plays it well off the ground on kickoffs and he’s fast enough to get to wherever you punt the ball. “

A crucial aspect of New York’s kick and punt coverage will be their discipline in pursuit of Banks, wrapping him up and tackling by committee.

“It’s how you fit their return that’s the most important thing, noted Quinn. Staying in lanes, attacking the wedge, proper wedge fits, and getting guys to gang tackle. Don’t give him an open seam he can attack.”

In a game that may very well boil down to a field position battle, New York does not underestimate the importance of their special teams’ coverage unit. Coach Quinn is confident that his unit understands their coverage assignments; now it’s just a matter of executing the game plan come Sunday.
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