Sep
0

No surprises in Banks’ release

As could almost be expected, wide receiver Gary Banks is taking the glass-half-full approach to being released Tuesday by the San Diego Chargers.

“When one door closes, others open,” Banks’ agent Bradley Hamilton told me late Tuesday night.

Hamilton said some teams have already reached out regarding Banks, but it didn’t sound like anything was imminent.

Banks’ release did not come as a surprise. Although the Chargers — particularly coach Norv Turner — loved Banks, he simply didn’t flash enough to give himself a legitimate chance. Turner told me that Banks didn’t do anything wrong, didn’t make mistakes and that his effort couldn’t be questioned.

That boils down to Banks simply not measuring up to the rest of the Chargers’ talent.

– Steve Wyche

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Aug
0

Banks’ tryout with Chargers is over

Wide receiver Gary Banks has been released by the Chargers. (Dave Martin / Associated Press)

It’s the end of the line for Gary Banks — at least for now.

The Chargers announced their cuts to trim the roster to 75 players on Tuesday and among them was Banks, who was hopeful of making the squad as a wide receiver with the prolonged absence of Vincent Jackson (deadlocked in a contract dispute). But San Diego’s depth still proved to be too deep, with Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, Buster Davis and Josh Reed.

Banks — who has just one reception for 11 yards this preseason — had been performing well, but as Scott Bair of the North County Times offered to NFL.com on Monday, “he goes about his business in a professional, yet unspectacular manner that helps him blend in when, in fact, he needs to stand out.”

With his release, Banks now becomes a free agent and is available to be claimed off waivers by another team.

Aug
0

Insider takes: Cuts around corner

With teams needing to cut down to 75 players by Tuesday and down to the final 53-man roster right around the corner, it’s crunch time for NFL.com’s On the Fringe guys.

We’ve already seen one casualty, as the Seahawks released Ricky Foley on Monday. Here’s how the rest stack up, according to the beat writers who have followed them daily during training camp and the preseason:

LeGarrette Blount has the bruising running style the Titans want for a change of pace to the lightning-quick Chris Johnson. Blount has the skills to be an effective runner in between the tackles, and is powerful enough to get the third-and-1 conversions. But the Titans already have a guy capable of doing those things in second-year back Javon Ringer.

Most people figured Blount entered training camp in a two-man battle with Stafon Johnson for a roster spot as the No. 3 back. When Stafon Johnson went down with a season-ending ankle injury, it opened the door for Blount even wider. Yet Blount has a lot to learn as a rookie, especially in pass protection. It’s why his chances of making this 53-man roster aren’t especially good. Blount’s best chance to stick around figures to be on the practice squad.

Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean

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Everybody knew Cody Grimm had the name, but what about his game? Turns out the son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Russ Grimm has played well enough as a rookie to earn his way onto the Bucs’ roster and perhaps in the safety rotation.

“Guys’ seats are always on fire,” defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said. “There’s always somebody ready to play and replace you.”

Grimm is one of those players. He is sixth on the team with nine tackles this preseason and may see more playing time with the concussion suffered by Sabby Piscitelli Saturday against Jacksonvolle.

Grimm still has room for improvement. Against the Jags, he entered the game in the third quarter and made a touchdown-saving tackle on Jaguars receiver Mike Thomas after an 18-yard gain. He also broke up a pass in the end zone to Thomas on second-and-goal. But on special teams, Grimm had a block in the back that wound up costing the Bucs 26 yards of field position.

Two steps forward and one back, but Grimm is moving in the right direction.

Rick Stroud, St. Petersburg Times

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Alex Boone remade himself as a versatile offensive tackle this past offseason, with 49ers coach Mike Singletary calling his transformation “very impressive.”

The easy part? Shedding 40 pounds after being out of shape as a practice squad rookie.

The hard part has been switching sides to right tackle. His 305-pound frame is better fit to handle all the pulling he does in the run game, and he’s playing stronger after a summer spent in the weight room. But he’s up against veteran Barry Sims as the resident swing tackle, which probably spells another year on the practice squad.

David White, San Francisco Chronicle

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While Gary Banks has had a solid, productive training camp, it’s been a bit too quiet. He goes about his business in a professional, yet unspectacular manner that helps him blend in when, in fact, he needs to stand out.

Banks doesn’t get chided for mistakes, but he doesn’t get singled out either. That puts him on the chopping block, especially on a Chargers team with so few open spots.

The Chargers do like Banks and his work ethic, which means the wide receiver might get cut on Tuesday to give him the best chance of landing with another team.

Scott Bair, North County Times

Aug
0

Things not getting better for Banks

The preseason problems continue for San Diego’s Gary Banks. While he didn’t muff a punt after getting hit by his own man like last week, he once again failed to make much of an impact in the return game.

Take a look at his difficulties in the video below:

Aug
0

Banks gets special teams opportunity

Chargers WR Gary Banks didn’t have a strong preseason-opener, catching just one ball for 11 yards and muffing a punt after colliding with a teammate, but he had some encouraging news Thursday.

Banks worked as a gunner on the first-team punt unit, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. While any receiver wants the ball in their hands, a fourth or fifth option on a team has to contribute on special teams in order to make the 53-man roster.

Banks still has an uphill climb, but could carve out a niche for himself on the Chargers if he can perform well on coverage. He will get his next chance to impress Saturday against Dallas.

Aug
0

Banks focused on next game

Gary Banks had one catch for 11 yards in the Chargers’ preseason opener against the Bears. What did he think of his performance? NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks talks to Banks, who also discusses what he’s hoping to get accomplished by the second preseason game.

Aug
0

Banks struggles to separate from pack

As Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson continues to stay away due to a contract dispute, the Chargers are looking for receivers to step up.

Gary Banks saw the field in the team’s preseason-opener, but failed to make an impression, catching just one ball for 11 yards against the Bears and muffing a punt after a collision with a teammate.

Banks has spent the past two seasons on San Diego’s practice squad and will have to do more to make the 53-man roster.

Analyst Bucky Brooks dissects Banks’ chances going forward.

Aug
0

A mixed bag for Banks

The week started out poorly for Gary Banks when the Chargers released their first depth chart of the preseason on Sunday. Banks was behind a pair of undrafted rookies, and was not listed among any of the first three units.

Unfortunately for Banks, his performance in San Diego’s preseason opener against Chicago likely did little to help his cause.

Given a chance to return a punt in the fourth quarter, Banks ran into his own man and muffed the punt. The only thing that prevented a turnover was a lucky bounce putting the ball in the lap of teammate James Holt.

Not all was lost for Banks, however. He did demonstrate impressive resolve, coming back from the special teams mishap with an impressive 11-yard reception on fourth-and-5 later in the game.

Aug
3

Banks could be in trouble

Although coaches routinely tell us not to look too much into preseason depth charts, the Chargers’ initial listings don’t bode well for wide receiver Gary Banks.

The two-year practice squad veteran is listed as either the seventh or eighth wideout entering Saturday’s preseason-opener vs. Chicago.

While on the surface it seems as if Banks can make up ground over the preseason, the fact that coaches have had two seasons to look at him and didn’t give him the initial benefit of being listed ahead of two undrafted rookies could be telling.

Tulane’s Jeremy Williams and Fresno State’s Seyi Ajirotutu are placed ahead of Banks on the depth chart. They are listed as second- and third-teamers, respectively, while Banks is listed in a group tabbed “other.”

Williams has been very impressive and definitely has the coaches’ attention. Ajirotutu (6-foot-3, 211) is physically more in line with the taller receivers the Chargers have harvested over the years.

Listing Banks behind them is hardly a motivational ploy as coach Norv Turner and several of Banks’ teammates have trumpeted his work ethic all offseason.

If viewing things through an optimistic prism, the coaches could be looking at the younger players to see how they fare in pressure situations, having already known what Banks can do. That said, Banks hasn’t had many game reps, even in the preseason, and at 28 and knowing this could be his final chance to impress the Chargers — or any other teams watching — not getting vital reps hurts his chances.

The depth chart could end up being a ruse once it gets beyond the first or second team. However it stands, knowing Banks and his competitive nature, he’ll keep pushing.

Steve Wyche

Aug
0

Carucci: Banks’ shot might be with another team

NFL.com senior columnist Vic Carucci spent Wednesday down in San Diego at Chargers camp and watched closely as Gary Banks continues to fight for a roster spot.

Carucci, through team sources, said it’s not looking good for the wide receiver to crack the 53-man roster — at least not in San Diego.

“People within the organization like the solid effort he has,” Carucci said, “like the heart that he shows, and believe that he’s a player whom they’ve watched over the last couple years, who could have a possible role in the NFL. They just think it’ll be elsewhere, and it’ll be up to Gary Banks to convince other teams by performing well in every chance he gets in the preseason.”

Not that this is the gong sounding off for Banks, but here’s hoping the guy plays hard, impresses and gets his shot — whether it’s with the Chargers or another team.