Change #1: Replace Brandon Banks on kickoff and punt returns with Terrance Austin. Besides Banks’ 22 yard punt return on Sunday, he once again was below average with his performance. Banks consistently takes kickoffs from five, six or seven yards deep in the end zone out and fails to make it to the twenty yard line. Not only has Banks not showed the burst of speed and excitability he showed in his rookie campaign, he has shown a tendency to muff or fumble the football on several occasions. Terrance Austin has shown in pre-season games that he is consistent in the return game. Maybe if Austin can get some opportunities on Special Teams, it could bolster his confidence that may carry over to the offensive side of the ball. This team is in desperate need of play makers and big plays; however some consistency with positive plays in the return game would help the offense if they weren’t always starting from within their own twenty yard line.
Change #2: Insert Tackle Willie Smith at Right Tackle. Smith showed promise this pre-season after being undrafted out of East Carolina. It makes no sense to me right now the Skins have journeyman Sean Locklear playing Right Tackle while Jammal Brown is injured. If the Redskins are going to give Maurice Hurt a shot at Left Guard, I think they should get some game experience for Smith. What else do they have to lose?
Change #3: Stop activating aging veterans that are not 100% for games, and then not have them enter the game at all. On Sunday, Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe was suited up for the game but didn’t see the field. After the game, Coach Mike Shanahan said that Atogwe “could have played if it was an emergency”. Is losing five straight games not an emergency in the NFL? Rookie DJ Gomes showed flashes of a being a playmaker this pre-season, yet he has been reserved to Special Teams duty at best all season. Safety Reed Doughty has been Atogwe’s replacement throughout the season; why not get Gomes some game experience in Atogwe’s place?
Change #4: Play all rookies that are on the active roster. There is virtually no chance the Redskins make the playoffs on the path they are traveling down. To me, if you aren’t going to make the playoffs and you know your team will be drafting a franchise quarterback in the next draft- gain some experience for the nine rookies on the active roster. If the Redskins continue to play their aging veterans, while young inexperienced rookies watch- they will be in the same boat next season as they are now…a sinking ship.