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News & Notes: Billy Cundiff’s Debut, Chance For Brandon Banks, Dezmon Briscoe

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

LANDOVER, Md. – Billy Cundiff made three of his four field goal attempts in his debut for the Washington Redskins, missing a 46-yarder with two minutes left in the first half but converting from 39, 27 and 22 yards in the 30-3 preseason victory over Tampa Bay.

Cundiff

“I was really happy because this preseason, coming into this game, I only had two attempts,” Cundiff said. “It was a good chance for me to get some rapport built up with Sav [Rocca] and Nick [Sundberg].”

Cundiff, signed by Washington on Tuesday after the team released Graham Gano, also sent five of his six kickoffs for a touchback and converted all three extra points.

“It’s tough, because I’m trying to cram in what most people have done in six weeks into two days,” Cundiff said. “All things said, it’s really good to get game reps, because you can’t simulate in practice what you can do in a game.”

* Receiver Brandon Banks caught one pass, a 47-yard gain on a fly route down the left sideline in which he beat cornerback Anthony Gaitor and safety Cody Grimm.

He also had a 43-yard run on a reverse five minutes later and returned five punts for 66 yards, but he lost a fumble on a carry late in the fourth quarter.

Banks’ status with the team remains uncertain. Challenged by head coach Mike Shanahan to make the team as a receiver this season instead of just a return specialist, Banks had two receptions on nine targets against Buffalo and didn’t play on offense in the next two preseason games.

“I think I put enough on film that I’ll still have a job somewhere, if not here,” Banks said.

* Dezmon Briscoe had plenty of motivation to play well against the Buccaneers. Not only was he fighting for a spot on the Redskins’ roster, but he was also playing against the team that waived him the first week of training camp.

But Briscoe didn’t enter the game until the second half. He caught the only pass thrown to him for a 17-yard gain, and he didn’t play on any of the special teams units as he expected.

“It was part of the plan,” Briscoe said. “They told me the second half, I’d probably be getting in. It was pretty much out of my control. Other than that, I’d do what I’m told when it comes to that.”

Asked if he was disappointed in the decision, he originally said no, then soon after admitted so.

“I mean, I’m not really too confident on if I’m going to make it or not,” Briscoe said. “My offensive performance was pretty good preseason, but like you said, I didn’t play any special teams. That’s a big part, and we’ve just got to see what happens.”

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Briscoe had a team-high six touchdown receptions for Tampa Bay last season. He caught three passes for 51 yards and a touchdown in the second preseason game at Chicago, then had two receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown against Indianapolis on Saturday.

* Linebacker Bryan Kehl had an eight-yard sack, hit the quarterback three times, broke up a pass and had a 43-yard interception return. He outlined a list of statistical goals he wanted to reach before the game – and he nearly did so.

“I’ve never wanted to make a team as much as I want to make this one, but I’ve never been as uncertain as I am right now,” said Kehl, entering his fifth season. “That being said, I’m just confident and hopeful and very pleased with what I’ve put out there and hope they make a good decision.”

* As expected, the Redskins’ projected starters and other key reserves did not play against the Buccaneers. That group included both candidates to start at free safety, Madieu Williams and Tanard Jackson, quarterback Rex Grossman, receiver Santana Moss, defensive end Jarvis Jenkins, cornerback Cedric Griffin and nose tackle Chris Baker.

Leonard Hankerson and Anthony Armstrong were the starting receivers, Niles Paul started at tight end, and rookie inside linebacker Keenan Robinson and rookie cornerback Richard Crawford also started the game.

* Officials stopped to review Brad Ratliff’s 12-yard completion to Sammy Stroughter with 53 seconds left in the second quarter – twice. The confusion was regarding the spot of the ball, which could have given Tampa Bay a first down at its own 34-yard line. “We’re going to look at it one more time,” referee Jim Core announced before heading back under the hood.

* Undrafted rookie receiver Lance Lewis, who strained his groin Aug. 2 and didn’t practice before being waived on Monday, cleared waivers and reverted to the Redskins’ injured reserve.

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