Can Pat White Win The #3 QB role?


Aug 8, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Pat White (5) drops back into the pocket to pass against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at LP Field. The Redskins beat the Titans 22-21. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The story in last year’s preseason around the quarterback position, was not who was to be the #1, but Kirk Cousins unseating Rex Grossman as the first back up.

This year, with RG3 and Cousins entrenched, could the story be the rise of Pat White, and unseating Grossman as the #3?

We all know that White was drafted by the Dolphins in 2009, played sparingly that year before being cut in 2010. He has been out of football ever since. Well, he had been, until the Redskins took a chance on him to run the read option offence in training camp while Griffin rehabbed his knee after that game against the Seahawks.

White is now slated as possibly playing the whole game on Thursday against the Bucs. Is this to help him out, get more film of him playing, to help him get a job in the NFL? Or is it a final audition to be Redskins’ QB3?

Many people are more familiar with tendencies during preseason games than I, but this is a bit unusual isn’t it? The whole game? Maybe the coaches feel they don’t need Rex to take any more snaps – they know what he can do – and with both Griffin and Cousins returning from injury, they may well be being over-protective of Rex…just in case.

So is there a chance that White remains with the Redskins? How well has he played this preseason?

Pretty good on the face of it I would say. His stats are moderate – 15/28 passing (with at least two drops) for 149 yards, 0 TD, 1 int, plus 12 rushes for 83 yards and two scores.

But looking a bit closer at the drives; he has been in for 13 drives (plus one victory formation), led the team to four TDs and a field goal, a total of 32 points. A fair return, but I would suggest it is more a question of the manner in which he has led the team which, to me, has been very impressive. Considering how long he has been out of the league, he has looked like he belongs in the NFL.

The decision of which player to keep should not be down to a direct comparison with Grossman, because it’s more of a question of what they want or need from their #3. Hopefully he will never be needed as that would mean either RG3 or Cousins will be leading the team. But how long will Cousins stay with the Redskins? He knows his role is to be a back up but if another team came along, needing a young, talented leader, then Cousins would be high on most team’s lists.

So what do the Redskins want from their number three? Grossman offers experience, deep knowledge of the offensive system, knowledge of defences, and Good Rex. But, he also offers limited athleticism, doesn’t run the option offence, a tendency to turn the ball over, Bad Rex.

Aug 24, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman (8) takes the snap from center during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

White however, can offer athleticism, ability to run the option offence, and a running threat. But he is rusty, inexperienced, and his accuracy needs to improve.

White is the anti-Grossman in both strengths and weaknesses. It’ll come down to the coaches and what they want from their number 3.

Personally I would have no problem with White making the roster, presumably pushing Grossman into a coaching role, safe in the knowledge that if one of our QBs goes down, we have a ready made replacement #3 to jump in.

I’ve enjoyed watching him play this preseason, maybe because he is a poor man’s RG3, maybe because he’s the underdog and we Brits love an underdog. But he is improving with every drive and every game, and he may yet fulfil his potential coming out of college. I for one, can’t wait to see what he can do Thursday night and I’ll be rooting for him to play well and claim that #3 role.