By Caleb Wygal
For The Register-Herald
Pat White’s “Relaunch Campaign” continued to pick up steam on Saturday as he looked superb at times for the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins went into the most important game of the NFL preseason against the Buffalo Bills without their first- and second-string quarterbacks. Robert Griffin III will not play during the preseason, and Kirk Cousins suffered a foot injury in last week's game, leaving Rex Grossman and White as the only quarterbacks on the roster. Chris Neild got the start at nose tackle for the Redskins.
Grossman started the game, and played the entire first quarter — leading the Redskins to 10 points — before White came in nearly four minutes into the second. He looked sharp on his first drive, going nine plays for 63 yards, completing both passes before rushing for a 14-yard touchdown to put the Redskins up 17-7.
The next White-led drive ended in a field goal just before halftime.
Following the half, White couldn’t quite keep up the momentum, getting sacked on consecutive plays to end the opening drive of the half. After that, he and Rex Grossman alternated drives for the rest of the game. The Redskins put up another seven points with White at the helm before ending the game with a 30-7 victory.
Since White last played in the NFL three years ago, NFL offenses have evolved to use the read-option style that White helped bring to popularity under Rich Rodriguez at WVU. Few teams use that style more than the Redskins, who adopted parts of it to utilize Griffin’s strengths.
White has shined throughout the preseason when the Redskins call those types of plays. The touchdown drive he led last week against the Steelers came as a result of White reading the defense correctly and making a quick decision to hand the ball off to his first option. On Saturday, the story remained much the same. White finished with three carries for 26 yards, while setting up his backs to rush for an additional 145 yards during his time behind center. The Redskins finished with 208 combined rushing yards.
When White drops back to pass, he throws the ball with good velocity and accuracy on slants and long passes over the middle. Passes to the outside, however, tend to go high, as did several on Saturday. White finished 7 of 14 for 96 yards.
White commands the offense well when he is out on the field, keeping the ball moving down the field. He's made great decisions with the ball, knowing when to tuck and run and when to get rid of it. The one interception he has thrown this preseason came when his targeted receiver slipped and fell.
White has been out of the NFL for three years. After shaking the rust off during offseason OTAs and the first week of training camp, White has stepped up to the challenge, and he may be on the verge of establishing his position on an NFL roster.
— Caleb was raised in central West Virginia near Summersville. He authored two novels before creating WVUPros and ProsReport.com. His works have been used on ESPN.com and SportsIllustrated.com.