Kyle Shanahan: Pat White’s situation will be evaluated ‘week-by-week’

Pat White

Pat White is considered by Redskins coaches to be one of their best 53 players for now. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The Washington Redskins pulled a surprise move last week when they awarded former West Virginia star Pat White a spot on their initial 53-man roster, which meant the team will carry four quarterbacks.

For White, a second-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2009, the roster spot represented a big step in the right direction as he continues his quest to resurrect his career after being out of football from 2010 to 2012.

It’s rare that an NFL team carries four quarterbacks on its 53-man roster, but not entirely unheard of. The Redskins in the past three seasons have carried three, two and three quarterbacks, respectively. But this year, they have Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Rex Grossman and White, even though that fourth quarterback spot could have been used for another position player.

The Redskins kept White, however, because the coaching staff considered him one of the best 53 players.

“It’s tough to keep four quarterbacks, but it’s really staying true to our philosophy. We did believe he’s one of our best 53,” Kyle Shanahan said, echoing what Mike Shanahan said on Monday. “When you’re having a guy [lower on the depth chart at a different position] – most of the time those guys aren’t going to dress anyways, but you want to keep the better player. You’re usually deciding between guys who aren’t going to dress and we thought Pat played really well. He’s really only been playing quarterback since the end of January, February, taking those three years off. He’s gotten better each week that he’s been here. I think he’s made some huge strides and I think he can still get a lot better.”

Kyle Shanahan said that White would have likely been placed on the Redskins’ practice squad instead of the roster had he been eligible. But White has a full season of experience accrued and couldn’t be placed on the practice squad.

And because of that, Shanahan said, “when you think a guy does have a future and he’s part of your best 53, then I think it makes it easy.”

Shanahan conceded that he doesn’t know what the future holds for White – both in the short term or long term. But for now, he has a job and chance to improve with Washington.

“We’ll see if that continues throughout the whole year, but it’s a week-by-week thing,” Shanahan said. “We’ve always got to keep our best 53 and he’s definitely one of those right now.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins practice at 11:50 today.

● We’ll be posting links this morning to our Redskins/NFL preview section. Jason Reid’s column about Mike Shanahan the personnel man is one of the highlights.

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