Quarterbacks Split Time Evenly, Not Consecutively
An odd quarterback rotation led to Rex Grossman and Pat White playing significant snaps against the Bills on Saturday, and they did so while being joined by several different teammates.
BY ZAC BOYER
LANDOVER, Md. – Kyle Shanahan said earlier in the week that the Redskins would probably have quarterbacks Rex Grossman and Pat White each play a half in the preseason game against the Bills.
But the offensive coordinator never specified that the two players would switch off at halftime.
Grossman and White each played three series, then alternated over the rest of the game on Saturday in the Redskins’ 30-7 preseason victory.
As the starter, Grossman played into the second quarter before giving way to White, whose three drives were over early in the third quarter. The two went back and forth over the final six series, alternating until White wrapped up the game by handing the ball off to running backs Keiland Williams and Chris Thompson in the fourth quarter.
“We were going to go three and three, and then I had the choice if I wanted to play or not, and I just wanted to play,” said Grossman, who went 11-for-21 for 171 yards and a touchdown. “There were a couple of times we were trying to get some catches to some guys, and I wanted to be a part of that. You know, I could play if I wanted to, and I wanted to, and then Pat just went the rest of the time in the fourth quarter there.”
Mike Shanahan said he wanted to try to simulate the players “coming off the bench cold” as if they would when the starting quarterback could not play. It was a situation Kirk Cousins was forced into three times last season when Robert Griffin III left the game because of injury; both missed the game Saturday because they were hurt.
“You just go out there, and the ball is snapped,” Grossman said. “It doesn’t matter if you played the previous series or not. I mean, I think you’re going to have some good series and some bad, and hopefully, you just capitalize when you get out there so you can have a good series or two.”
White, who played sparingly in the first two preseason games, went 7-for-14 for 96 yards and also ran three times for 26 yards and a touchdown.
The quarterback rotation wasn’t the only thing unusual in terms of playing time. While the Redskins typically play their starters into the third quarter in the third preseason game, the condensed schedule forced Shanahan to get creative in spreading those players’ repetitions through three games over 11 days.
That meant the offensive starters played only 22 snaps before giving way to the second team, while the top defense was only on the field for 19 plays.
“We wanted to give Pat a chance to play with the starters and Rex started the game,” Shanahan said. “I was pleased with both guys and how they played.”