The Washington Redskins don’t have a quarterback controversy in the traditional sense. Robert Griffin III is their unquestioned starter when healthy, and Kirk Cousins has established himself as Griffin’s top backup and promising understudy.
But do the Redskins suddenly have a third-quarterback duel brewing after Pat White’s late exploits in Thursday night’s preseason opener in Tennessee?
After White ran for a touchdown and threw a two-point conversion pass with just more than two minutes remaining to give the Redskins a one-point win, speculation began that he might have a chance to overtake veteran Rex Grossman for a spot on the team’s season-opening roster. In a Redskins’ training camp and preseason in which precious little seems up for grabs, that actually could qualify as some mild intrigue.
In truth, though, White appears to remain a long shot to make the Redskins’ roster. He didn’t play in the NFL the past three seasons after his one season with the Miami Dolphins. Questions remain about his arm strength and passing accuracy.
It’s not even a certainty that the Redskins will keep three quarterbacks on their season-opening roster, although that seems likely with Griffin coming back from knee surgery in January and scheduled to be withheld from the entire four-game preseason. If they do indeed keep three quarterbacks, as they did last season, Grossman provides a measure of security behind Griffin and Cousins, as a veteran with starting experience and a good working knowledge of the offensive system.
White’s late-game success against the Titans came while playing with and against players who are unlikely to be in the NFL when the regular season opens. It also came with the Redskins digging deeper into their playbook, and using option plays that took advantage of White’s running skills, than they’d done earlier in the game with first Cousins and then Grossman in the lineup. Starting NFL defenses had problems with that offensive approach last season; third-string defenders playing in the preseason opener had virtually no chance against it.
White, at least, might have earned himself a chance to play earlier in the game in another preseason contest, for a better measure of what the former second-round draft pick really can do. White wasn’t getting carried away with what he’d done. Late Thursday night, he acknowledged that it was a good feeling for him as he tries to prove that he belongs back in the NFL. But he also said: “I still have a lot of work to do. I’m ready to get back and get to work and try to get better.”
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