On Monday we asked Mike Shanahan why the Redskins kept Pat White on the 53-man roster and his answer seemed, well, incomplete. “Like I said all along, we’re trying to keep the top 53 players and I thought Pat was one of the top 53 players,” he said.
Perhaps he was one of the best players but carrying four quarterbacks leaves another area of the roster short. Given that a fourth QB would only see the field in the event of a dire emergency, there must be some other reason why the Redskins held on to White.
I can speculate on three possible reasons why the Redskins have White on their roster as a fourth quarterback. Perhaps the truth lies in one of them or perhaps a combination of them.
White was kept to imitate Eagles QB Mike Vick on the scout team in practice—This strikes me as an odd use of a roster spot but the Redskins did not face Vick last year so perhaps Shanahan thought that it would be worth the risk of losing a promising player to another team.
They didn’t want him to go elsewhere and talk—In general, NFL teams don’t keep players because they are afraid of them going to other teams and spilling secrets. But maybe keeping what went on in the Redskins’ quarterback meeting room and on the practice field after they returned from training camp is worth sacrificing a roster spot. The hole in this theory is that the Eagles could pick up, say, Keiland Williams and he could spill the practice field secrets. But a quarterback does have a deeper level of knowledge of the offense than any other player on the field so maybe it’s worth keeping him locked up at least until after this first game.
A different role in the offense for White—We never saw White do anything but play quarterback in training camp or in preseason games but practices have been behind closed doors at Redskins Park two and a half weeks now. That is enough time to have White work in as a “slash” type player who can be a threat in the backfield and perhaps line up split out wide from time to time. This seems unlikely but if he turns up on the game day active list, look out.