NFL training camps are in full swing. Established veterans use this time to remain in shape and get back into a daily routine that prepares them for significant action on the gridiron. However, fringe players use training camp in an effort to make an NFL roster. Simply put, many of them have to justify why an NFL head coach should consider them for a roster spot.
Washington Redskins fourth-string quarterback Pat White (pictured, right) is the position of roster-spot justification. Putting aside the fact that White has been out of the NFL for three full seasons, it’s hard to imagine him getting significant playing time at quarterback. Robert Griffin III is expected to recover and reclaim his starting position at quarterback. If Griffin is less than 100 percent, reserve quarterback Kirk Cousins is capable of leading the Redskins’ offense if necessary. Veteran Rex Grossman, who may also be fighting for a roster sport, is in the mix as well. That reduces the number of significant snaps White will receive at quarterback.
To his credit, White maintains that he’ll help the Redskins in any capacity, even if he has to change position. The question is, where would White prove the most valuable other than quarterback? Running back could be an option. He rushed for almost 4,500 yards during his four-year collegiate career at West Virginia University. However, running back is another position where Washington enjoys stability, with Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr. and Evan Royster providing veteran depth. Factoring rookie running backs Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison into the mix makes it hard to justify converting White into a running back.
One area where White could be useful for Washington is special teams, primarily as a kick returner. Reserve tight end Niles Paul is the primary kickoff returner, but he hasn’t proved to be much of a factor returning kicks. Cornerback Richard Crawford serves as the Redskins’ primary punt returner despite returning only eight punts for 156 yards in 2012. Becoming a kick and punt returner would put White’s speed and potential big-play ability to good use for Washington.
Granted, White hasn’t returned kicks during either his pro or collegiate career. He may not have the hand-eye coordination or dexterity to be a consistent kick returner. In today’s NFL, players fighting to earn roster spots need to prove their worth by filling in wherever necessary. Maybe White’s quarterbacking skill set would be better served for another team because at best, he’s the fourth-string quarterback for Washington.
Nevertheless, he’s currently a member of the Washington Redskins who will have to display his talents in other ways to retain his roster spot for the 2013 NFL season. If White shows his worth to Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan in whatever role he’s assigned, he could prove to be a valuable addition for Washington in 2013.