WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - When the Redskins signed Pat White in April, the news came with the expectation he’d be used to imitate division foe Mike Vick for a few months during the summer, maybe serve as a fill-in for RGIII during the preseason, and then eventually be let go.
Leading up to the Redskins final cuts Saturday, the collective opinion of reporters covering the team was nearly unanimous: there’s no room for White on the 53-man roster.
But then something happened.
He made the team.
White had made the most of his opportunities in four preseason games, completing 28/50 for 330 yards, while relying heavily on his athleticism to move the sticks by running for 103 yards and three touchdowns.
But the question lingers: Is he only on the roster to help the Redskins prepare for Vick, or could White become a permanent fixture on this roster?
“It sounds crazy, but at the same time, it’s not,” Mike Jones of the Washington Post told the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan.
Since arriving in Washington, White’s received full support from his fans at West Virginia University, where he amassed a whopping 4,480 rushing yards in four seasons, the most of any quarterback in college football history.
Their outpouring of affection toward White, and anyone suggesting he could make the roster as a quarterback, especially after three years out of the league, was received as nothing more than wishful thinking by sports radio hosts and columnists alike.
And yet, final cuts came and went and he’s still here – much to the chagrin of those sports talk hosts and columnists, and to the amazement of minds blown everywhere.
It’s true. He could very likely be gone next week, after he’s fulfilled his obligation of prepping the Redskins’ D for Vick, but it’s not really all that crazy anymore to think he could stick around past week one, or week five, or six or the entire season.
It is probably safe to admit at this point though, that White, 27, just doesn’t have the arm to be a traditional pocket passer in the NFL, but that doesn’t render him useless.
But perhaps of all people, Mike Shanahan – who’s developed a reputation throughout his career for being notoriously unpredictable with personnel – could find a use for White in Washington’s offense, especially as the Redskins face the task of staying ahead defenses which have had a year to prepare for RGIII and the team’s zone-read look.
“When they first signed him, people thought about ‘Wow. RGIII and Pat White in the backfield together’ and we hadn’t seen anything like that,” Jones said. “I think it was actually last week on you guys’ station, he was on with Chad and Chad asked him, ‘Are you catching any passes?’ and he actually, I think let the cat out of the bag and said ‘We haven’t worked on it yet.’
Here the exact question Chad Dukes asked, and White’s direct response, which warranted the attention it received afterward.
“Pat, have they practice you guys in any situations where you and Robert are on the field at the same time?” Dukes asked.
“Not just yet.”
Read more about that here, but for now,
White was then asked in his short time with the Redskins, if he’d practiced in any situations in which he and Robert Griffin III were on the field at the same time.
“Not just yet,” White said, leaving the door wide open.
“You don’t know what they’re cooking up,” Jones told the Junkies Friday. “If the Redskins feel like ‘Okay this guy made a lot of strides after not having been in football since 2009,’ and he’s still not great. I mean, he still can’t throw very well. He can throw it better than Tebow, but he doesn’t have a very good arm. But he did get better from the start of training camp til now, so if the Redskins think ‘Okay, if we keep working with this guy, next year when spring time rolls around and the draft, we can trade Kirk Cousins and got this guy in the fold.’ Maybe.”
“But I still think it could be a stretch,” Jones added. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they were like ‘ok, good. We’ve got some guys back. Now we drop Pat White’ or if it is just, ‘Hey, now we’re prepared for Michael Vick. Thanks a lot Pat. Good luck.’”
White’s beaten the odds so far.
Whatever happens next should come as no surprise, and for the Mountaineer faithful, their wishful thinking has been validated, at least for now.