IN THEIR WORDS: TONY BANKS

The Redskins aren't sure whether or not Tony Banks is the answer. He was the answer for Baltimore two years ago, leading the Ravens to a strong finish. But he was their problem in 2000, getting benched early in a Super Bowl season. Now he hopes to provide a boost for a struggling team.

''Being a quarterback that's started a lot of games, I know what it takes to win and I know what it takes for guys to believe in you. I've been in situations similar to this in Baltimore in 1999 where things weren't going good. They put me in there and turned it around. I hope I can do that here.

''This team is as desperate as any team I've been on. In Baltimore we went on a stretch where we didn't score touchdowns, but we were still winning games. We're in a different situation.

''There will be a big eruption from fans and players when we get into the end zone. It won't take much for guys to start believing. A few first downs in a row, some points scored. Being able to look up there and have success, it won't take much.

''I'm not as comfortable as I'd like to be. But no quarterback is in his first year period. Jeff wasn't as comfortable as he'd like to be in this offense. I have to do double time, but I've been doing that since I've been here.

''I don't know if the offense will be any different. The offense can look different if we have some success. We didn't get to a lot of stuff in the game plan because when you're running 40 plays a game that barely touches on a third of your game plan. If we have some success, coach will be able to call some more plays and get a feel for what we're doing well.

''So far it seems like the players are starving for some energy. Jeff's his own guy and I'm my own guy. I'm trying to bring as much energy as I can. It looks like they're feeding into it. We've had two crisp practices so it's been good.

''I've heard I was too cool. But that might be what they need. I'm not cool to the point that I'm quiet. But maybe in a TV timeout I joke around a little bit. The guys are like, 'Oh, you're too cool.' That's when I play my best, when I'm calm. There was a period last year where I didn't play real well. I played real tight and that's not my personality. If I can be calm, then good things will happen.''


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