by Chuck Carroll

LANDOVER, Md. (CBSDC) — The Washington Redskins rested Robert Griffin III and a host of others in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As it turns out, they didn’t need the heralded rookie to win 30-3, their third exhibition victory this year. But the focus wasn’t on the scoreboard anyway.

Instead, the fourth exhibition game afforded bubble players an opportunity to showcase their ability and perhaps, win over coaches an earn a coveted spot on the 53-man roster.

Brandon Banks, the undersized fan-favorite, was one of the more scrutinized players fighting for a roster spot. Head coach Mike Shanahan stated the Kansas State product needed to make the team as a wide receiver and not just a return specialist.

Had the game ended at halftime, Banks’ chances of making the 53-man Week 1 roster may have been dim. The 5-foot-7 third-year player dropped a catchable pass near the end zone in the first quarter. Although Kirk Cousins’ pass was slightly behind him, he product managed to get two hands on the ball but could not secure it.

He also muffed a punt midway through the second quarter.

In the second half, the Redskins utilized Banks in a number of packages. He managed to catch a 43-yard pass, but fumbled a ball in the backfield in the fourth quarter.

Aside from the flubbed punt, Banks did show some promise in the return game, which was to be expected. But was it enough?

Redskins coaches have until 9 p.m. Friday night to decide.

Also on the bubble was Anthony Armstrong, who has fallen down the depth chart since his breakout season in 2010.

Presumably playing for his Washington career, he recorded two catches for 61 yards. His 46-yard grab on a Cousins deep pass set Washington up to score their first touchdown of the night three plays later.

Roy Helu, who has been sidelined with sore Achilles’ tendons of late, led the team in rushing with 15 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

Also of note, running back Evan Royster showed no signs of a knee injury that sidelined him recently. The second-year running back carried the ball 10 times for 44 yards and a touchdown.

Rookie Alfred Morris, who has created a buzz with his preseason performances, did not play. He was among the Redskins rested in the final dress rehearsal.

In his Redskins debut, kicker Billy Cundiff successfully connected on three of four field goal attempts. However, when he pushed a 46-yard attempt wide right in the closing minutes of the first half, a chorus of loud boos reigned down from the stands.

Kirk Cousins finished his night 15-of-27 for 222 yards and an interception.


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