Film Sessions: Pat White’s Good (But Completely and Utterly Overrated) Preseason Game

| August 11, 2013 | 15 Comments

You know, when I posted this blog about Colt Brennan, I did it with the hope that people would take my joke and take preseason for what it is; an evaluation period, and a way for people to audition for other teams.


Even before the game, I had a feeling it was coming. I had the feeling Rex would be Rex (i.e streaky, inconsistent, frustrating and amazing all at once), and then Pat White would come in and most people’s common sense would go out the window.




And then it happened. I don’t know if I’m shocked that people have done everything from suggesting that Pat White’s in a legit competition for the third job (he’s not), suggesting we could trade Cousins next year and Pat White would be the number 2 quarterback (never going to happen), and people on the radio suggesting that we should trade Robert Griffin III and keep Pat White. (Please mail in your fan card.)


While one can’t discount that Pat White did have a solid outing, his impact and his potential has been overrated in the same sense that Colt Brennan’s was 5 years ago. Perhaps even more so, as in an abstract sense, Colt probably made more difficult throws and bigger plays than Pat White.


But let’s go through the plays one by one and see just how good Pat White was.


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1st Play:) Easy pitch and catch rhythm throw. Logan Paulsen runs a short cross and sits down and gives Pat White his numbers. Nice, simple pay.

2nd Play:) Pat White gets bailed out by Logan. White throws this pass high and outside, with Paulsen running the same short crosser that he ran before.

3rd Play:) White puts the ball in the only place he can on this out route. The ball is high (even though it sort of has to be) and Nick Williams drops it.

So, first three passes, all sort stuff, nothing intermediate or into the second level. Also, White is not making or going through progressions. He has a pre-determined route he’s going to throw to no matter what, and he’s staring down those routes. Let’s continue.

4th Play:) White throws the ball behind Briscoe on the slant route. Another short route that White stares down.

5th Play:) White stares down Niles Paul on this little flat route. Another short, easy completion for Niles.

6th Play:) White stares down Nick Williams on the out route.  No progressions, nothing deep or intermediate. Another short throw and an easy completion.

7th Play:) This is your bread and butter read-option play, only this time it’s versus future insurance salesman and mall kiosk workers. The linebacker and DE both crash. Paul blocks the LB which opens a huge lane for Pat White. A good gain and a decent run, but again; context is everything.

8th Play:) The Redskins run the naked boot out of the Pistol. But something about this play is different. On a typical bootleg, the players  drag or cross the formation on the run. This play, however is a two receiver play. The tight end Niles Paul doesn’t even go out on a route; he blocks the linebacker instead. Dez Briscoe runs a deep route, which clears things out, giving White a clear running lane.

Without knowing the play, I can’t be sure, but it seems like this wasn’t so much a passing play as a designed quarterback keep run play.

9th Play:) White again stares down this slant route to Lance Lewis. Another short route with nothing deep or intermediate.

Now, why does it matter than Pat White is only throwing short? The simple answer is, these short, easy throws effectively had Pat White’s lack of arm strength. These are simple route combinations and simple concepts that can be run against any defense. And particularly against a vanilla defense in preseason, which is even more important when one considers someone for a back-up or third quarterback role.

10th Play:) This time, White’s staring down receivers nearly comes back to bite him. As soon as the ball is snapped, White has his eyes locked on Skye Dawson on the short curl route. The cornerback drives on the ball and nearly picks it off.

11th Play:) This is the only genuinely impressive play White makes, but it does show a little bit of what I’m talking about throwing into the second level. The ball is thrown beyond ten yards, on the run, but it’s got a little bit of a rainbow arc to it. It’s not a bad throw, but it’s about the extent of his arm is gonna go in the NFL.

12th Play:) Another zone read keeper. This time the LB recovers and Pat only gains a yard on the play.

13th Play:) This is one of the crazy things about White staring down receivers. The ball is snapped and White is staring to his left. The entire defense gets pulled to the right by White’s eyes, which opens up a huge void in the middle. White walks in standing up because he was so undisciplined with his eyes that an entire part of the defense thought they knew where he’d throw it.

14th Play:) Once again, White stares his potential receiver to the right. The defense doesn’t give him a lane, so he scrambles left. He throws this off the back foot, and here we get a real example of Pat White’s lack of arm strength; this ball dies about halfway in the air. How he hit #80, I’ll never know. But he did.

What Pat White did versus the Titans is certainly commendable, but it is not admirable, and it certainly not as impressive as people pretend it was. Much of the “love” for Pat White’s performance comes out of an un-ending, ever burning of Rex Grossman and everything he stands for, and misunderstanding whether or not it was White’s natural talent, or a offensive coordinator who had the world convinced John Beck could be a starter based on his preseason a couple years ago.

People want us to “develop” Pat White. The issue is, we still have two quarterbacks already in the oven. And while everyone has been extra focused on trying to trade Kirk Cousins, the truth is that, unless we get a godsend of an offer, Kirk is going to be the back-up quarterback here until at least the last year of his deal. And in that time, Rex may not be the third quarterback. But Pat White won’t be either.

White was bought in to simulate the read-option and be a camp arm. When the roster cuts come, even on the off chance Rex Grossman isn’t on the roster, chances are Pat White won’t be either. There is nothing to develop. Pat White is an undersized quarterback with a pop cap arm. The offensive coordinator made him look mildly efficient against a bunch of guys who, unfortunately, probably won’t have jobs three weeks from now.

Rex may have indeed looked terrible (which he didn’t really, but that’s for another post), but at least he was going up against starters (the Titans kept their starting defense on the field deep into the second quarter) or guys who more or less have roster spots. White not so much.

Let’s have some perspective, not be so reactionary, be happy Pat White played well enough to get the win, but not well enough to think he can be more than what he has been in the NFL.

Filed in: FILM ROOM

White's an example of a great redemption story, which often has a way of making others feel warm and fuzzy inside.

With that said, as others have chimed in to state as well, I doubt he makes the squad.


Wow.. This might be the most biased "breakdown" iv'e ever read. I don't think PW makes this team, and he shouldn't because we should go with 2 QB's. Although, this breakdown might as well said. "Why I hate PW"

I think he played well enough for being out of football. It's not like he had the first team out there behind him. He was playing against future kiosk runners, but he also had a handful of them on his side.

Also, I'm not sure there are many QB's who can throw off their back foot with a lineman bashing them in the face 20 yards, without a little "rainbow" as you call it....

You pulled a lot of this out of your bum.. NO offense.


What Pat White did versus the Titans is certainly commendable, but it is not admirable, and it certainly not as impressive as people pretend it was. Much of the “love” for Pat White’s performance comes out of an un-ending, ever burning of Rex Grossman and everything he stands for, and misunderstanding whether or not it was White’s natural talent, or a offensive coordinator who had the world convinced John Beck could be a starter based on his preseason a couple years ago." I have no hate for Grossman. I want the best qb's to make the team whether it's Grossman, White, or Garcon as the emergency qb. I'm not going to give Grossman a pass because he's a veteran and I'm sure not going to downplay the play of White because everyone dislikes Grossman. Furthermore, it wasn't his eyes that fooled the defense on that touchdown run, it was his completion percentage that left that middle open. Every receiver was covered so White took off. If that had been Grossman, you would have been talking about what a great play it was. P.S. Did you like the way Grossman stared down the receivers on all those deep balls?


Unbelievable! White plays exceptionally well even though it's against garbage players and he gets bashed. Rex overthrows his receivers constantly and he gets a pass because it's against players whose going to make the team, as if they caused Rex to be off the mark on open receivers. I'm not a White fan and I never saw the guy play until now, but he definitely is better than what you make him out to be. You have to remember some of the receivers he was throwing to aren't going to have jobs either in the NFL. He made it look quite easy and had only one bad throw, the one behind Briscoe still should've been caught. His arm is weak but the ball still made it to its destination, unlike McNabb who "has a strong arm". As far as progression goes, how many open receivers did he not see? No need to go through progressions when the first receiver you're looking at is open. I'd take a weak armed qb who hits his targets and can run over a veteran who misses half his targets any day.


First off, whatever the question is, the answer is NOT Rex Grossman.  Second off, only you could rationalize how a 90 yard TD drive to win the game complete with 2 pt. conversion, is somehow overrated.  Even for a guy that has only been back in football for a month.  WOW  Even after you see it with your own eyes, you still try to invalidate the truth.  Must be a sad place in that little world you are in.


You can bash Pat White all you want but it still doesn't validate why the Skins should keep Grossman on the roster over White if they keep a 3rd QB. If I hear Rex should be on the team to serve as a mentor one more time I'm gonna puke. RG3 and Cousins are just fine as the starter and backup and Rex can't add anything more to two players who are more talented and better decision makers already then he ever was. White has a weak arm and spotty accuracy but he's a playmaker in the way Rex never was or will be. If I was gonna keep a 3rd QB I would rather keep a guy like White who can provide a true talent that can be developed instead of a limited vet that provides nothing more than a false sense of security. 

JC34 1 Like

Goodness. You should probably break down every pass by Cousins and Grossman too. I think when someone shows such personal disdain towards a player, their subsequent "breakdown" of that player's performance loses credibility. I'm not saying PW should be the starter, but I am saying give him a fair chance. That's it. He was drafted by a team that had no idea what they were doing or how to use his skills. Could have happened to anyone - including RG3. Regardless, it shouldn't be a career-ending death sentence.

So, take a deep breath and have some faith in the coaching staff. PW won't win anything because of how the fans feel. The coaches, who are a lot smarter than you, will make the decisions.

Jeff Rhodes
Jeff Rhodes

@JC34 Agreed. Where is the scrutiny of Rex? He threw three or four passes that were worse than anything Pat threw. Does Rex get a pass based on his track record of success?

Jeez, I almost threw up in my mouth just typing those words.


What past success?

Rex was the worst Starting Qb this franchise had since Heath Shuler and at least Heath was young when he was here. Rex was a vet when we signed him


I think people just want Rex gone, me included. I don't care if we even carry a 3rd qb, but, all I know is I'm tired of the Rex Grossman experience. I can't watch Rex play anymore, at least Pat White brings some excitement, unlike Rex who you just watch and wait for him to make a horrible decision which leads to a horrible turnover


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