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Banks Has His Own Michael Vick Experience


He's fast. He's left-handed. He's … Michael Vick?

For this week, anyway, that's the role that falls to Brandon Banks.

Banks is a receiver and a kickoff and punt returner, not a quarterback. He made the opening-day roster as an undrafted free agent, was inactive for the first two games, then got released and brought back to the practice squad.

In any normal week, he'd serve on the scout team, mimicking the style of an opposing receiver so the first-string defense gets a taste of what's ahead.

This is not a normal week. It's the week that the Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles and must find a way to corral the resurgent and reborn Michael Vick.

So Banks moves to quarterback. He is, for all practical and practice purposes, Vick.

"It's real exciting that I can be compared to him as an athlete but there's no other Michael Vick. Hopefully I can help the guys prepare for him," Banks said Wednesday morning before the Redskins headed out for practice.

As a kid watching the NFL, Banks, 23, marveled at Vick's elusiveness and game-breaking skills.

Vick, 30, broke into the NFL in 2001 as the first overall pick in the draft by the Atlanta Falcons and led them to the NFC championship game following the 2004 season, where they fell to, ironically enough, the Super Bowl-bound Eagles and Donovan McNabb.

"Who doesn't admire Michael Vick? That guy was a big-time playmaker in the NFL and I look up to him," Banks said. "Hopefully he won't do the things he can do next Sunday."

Banks said he's faster than Vick but he's faster than almost everyone, having run the 40-yard dash for the Redskins in under 4.4 seconds. In his mind, that's where the similarities with Vick end.

"I'm left-handed but I can't throw like him," he said.

Here's what he can do: Help the defense get ready for a guy who makes use of the entire field.

"I'm going to do a little trash-talking, get them aware of the angles and catching me in the open field," he said. "Just go out there and try to make plays, try and make guys miss. I've watched him. I know what he can do."

Cornerback Carlos Rogers promised that the defense would take its shots at the Vick imposter and hit him.

"That's part of football. Ain't no thing," Banks said.

Chasing Banks in practice, Rogers said, should be excellent preparation for Vick, who buys time with his feet and can then either find a receiver (his passer rating of 110.2 is second in the NFL) or scramble.

He has run for 170 yards, averaging 7.4 yards per attempt, and one touchdown. Vick passed for 291 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles' 28-3 road win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"He can still throw it," Rogers said. "Once the play breaks down, it's still not over with. We'll be running. Running a lot."

Take that to the bank. But first, take it to Banks.

Larry Weisman, an award-winning journalist during 25 years with USA TODAY, writes for and appears nightly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at and follow him on

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