Pat White has come a long way in six months. He went from being a free-agent out of the NFL for three years to making the Washington Redskins final roster. He had a much better than expected preseason, and is the fourth quarterback on the Redskins' roster.
In the shifting landscape of the NFL, some teams only keep two quarterbacks roster, much less four. This begs the question: why keep White?
Robert Griffin III will start in Week 1 on Monday Night Football for the 'Skins. The reason many thought Washington signed White in April only as a fill-in for RGIII while he was sidelined over the summer with a knee injury. They'd let him run the same offense the former Baylor quarterback ran, and perhaps run the scout team as they prepared for Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. Then let him go.
Along the way, Pat White did some very Pat White things. Yes, he was rusty in OTA's and during training camp. But when the pads went on and it was time to play live tackle football against real opponents, White shined, and he was a big reason why the Redskins went undefeated in the preseason.
He went 28 of 50 passing for 330 yards through the air and rushed for another 103 and 3 touchdowns on the ground. He proved he could move the ball effectively against NFL defenses, even if they were mostly reserves, and make great decisions while running the read-option. Not to be overlooked by his personal stats, White's choices of when to hand the ball off or pitch it to a back allowed the 'Skins to rip off large chunks of yards on the ground.
The deficiencies in his passing game cropped up, showing that he may never be a traditional dropback passer. As fans who watched White play for four years, we know that his most memorable plays were often made with his legs or decision making.
Back to the question at hand: why would the Redskins keep White as the fourth quarterback on roster?
White, himself, perhaps tipped the Redskins' hand. During a radio interview on 106.7 The Fan's Lavar and Dukes this past Monday.
Co-host Chad Dukes asked White if there had been any situations in practice where he and RGIII were on the field at the same time. White's response?
"Not just yet."
Not just yet? Dukes probed. So maybe there was a conversation about that being a possibility?
Um, youd have to talk to coach about that, White replied.
Shanahan has long been seen as having an innovative offensive mind. Perhaps White will be released after Week 1. That's a very real possibility. White's answer, however, shows that he could be in the team's long-term plans.
If Shanahan is scheming something behind closed doors that would have White and RGIII on the field at the same time, that could spell nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators. The wildcat and read-option possibilities with both of those players on the field at the same time are frightening.
Or thrilling depending upon which side you're cheering for.
White has had a long journey. He's happy he made it, but knows the work is just getting started.
"...its a joy and pleasure to be part of this team," he said. "I know I still got a lot of work to do, so Im just happy to have the opportunity to do it.