One of the more intriguing stories to watch during training camp for the Washington Redskins will be newly signed quarterback Pat White. The West Virginia graduate saw limited action for the Miami Dolphins in 2009, before being released at the end of preseason in 2010.
Since, White has had brief stints playing baseball in the Kansas City Royals and Miami Marlins organizations. He also was on the roster of the United Football League’s Virginia Destroyers in 2011, however, was cut before the season began. However, his signing with the Redskins marks his first time in the NFL since being released by Miami.
To be clear from the outset, I don’t believe White will see meaningful action for the Redskins this season. If he does, it will mean something will have gone horribly wrong with not only starting quarterback Robert Griffin III, but backup Kirk Cousins as well. Also, I would say the chances White ever takes one regular season snap for the Redskins are less than 50/50.
Likewise, I am not forwarding the preposterous notion that White will somehow help offset the potential absence of Griffin, who is recovering from knee surgery, and a question mark to start the season. At best, White is in a battle with Rex Grossman for the number three position, and the 10-year veteran has the odds over the man who was released by a UFL team.
Still, to dismiss White as just another camp body would be foolish.
If White can somehow show the promise that made him a second round pick by the Dolphins in 2009, it would give the Redskins greater clarity with their quarterback situation going forward. Specifically, if White is able to show he is capable of backing up Griffin, the Redskins can then potentially explore the possibility of moving Cousins. And potentially more intriguing is the fact White could provide a unique case study in how the dynamic in the NFL has drastically changed with regards to quarterbacks in the least few years.
White was an incredibly potent dual run/pass threat at WVU. He was twice named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year (2006, 2007) and twice finished in the top 10 for Heisman Trophy voting (2007, 2008). White is also the only quarterback in NCAA history to win four bowl games as a starter.
Simply put, White showed the potential at WVU to be a dual run/pass threat. And the Redskins have an offense built around having a run/pass threat at quarterback.
Also, the Redskins most valuable trading commodity is Cousins. The second year Michigan State graduate played well in limited action last season as a rookie, and would likely command multiple high draft picks in a trade. If White can show himself capable, it would provide greater clarity regarding Cousins.
Lastly, the league is a much different than the one White was drafted into. Yes, dual run/pass quarterbacks like Griffin, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson now not only inhabit the league, but have shown themselves incredibly effective, a dynamic that did not exist when White was released three years ago.
That said, White making the team is a long shot. There was a reason the Dolphins soured on White after investing a second round pick in him. There was a reason no other NFL team saw enough in White to give him an opportunity for three seasons. And yes, there was a reason White was released by a UFL team.
Still, the athletic, elusive White is an intriguing story heading into camp. If White is able to show himself capable of being an adequate backup to Griffin, he would allow the Redskins more flexibility to move one of their more valuable assets, Cousins, which would be a coup for the Redskins. Further, White making the Redskins could be interpreted as an indication of how the quarterback position has evolved over the last few years.
Yes, its a long shot at best, but one worth keeping an eye on.