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Making The Roster Just One Step For Pat White

Securing a spot on the roster isn’t the realization of a goal for the quarterback, who spent the last three seasons out of the NFL after a standout college career.


ASHBURN – Pat White learned through relatively simple means on Saturday that he hadn’t been cut when the Redskins trimmed their roster to 53 players.

“I walked in the building,” he said.


The quarterback was one of four the Redskins kept on their initial 53-man roster – an unusual move, but not one that’s unprecedented. In fact, two other teams did so over the weekend, the Jets and the Raiders, with all three teams making the decision to carry four quarterbacks because of the health the others.

Robert Griffin III will play in the opener on Monday against the Eagles, Mike Shanahan announced, which would be eight months to the day after he underwent surgery to repair the ACL and LCL in his right knee. Kirk Cousins should also be available to play, should the situation dictate, after spraining his right foot in the preseason victory over the Steelers on Aug. 19.

The Redskins also have Rex Grossman, who’s entering his fourth season with the team and was the starter for stretches in 2010 and 2011.

For White, making the initial roster isn’t a sign he’s accomplished his goal of returning to the NFL after three years out of the league. Rather, he said, it’s another opportunity to continue to improve, with the understanding that it could still be a while before he’s given regular, if any, playing time.

“I think I’ve come a ways, but I still think I have a long ways to go,” White said.

Shanahan defended the decision to keep White on the roster on Monday by saying he was one of the best 53 players with the team during training camp and the preseason. But he also pointed out that only 46 players will be active on the game day roster, essentially saying it doesn’t matter what position the other seven play.

“I think what a lot of people really don’t understand is how many people get to dress out on game day – how many people actually dress for the game and play, [and] how many people are helping you during the week,” Shanahan said. “There’s always going to be seven guys that don’t dress, but you want to be as deep as possible with your football team, and that’s why I keep on saying that the top 53 players [make the team], and that’s who you try to go after.”

White steadily improved from his first days with the team in April, when he was coming back from a long layoff. There are still major parts of his game he struggles with – throwing to players outside the numbers, not staring down receivers, progressing through his reads – but he and the coaches believe those skills will develop as he continues receiving instruction from the team.

“I know I still have a lot of work to do, so I’m happy to still have the opportunity to do it,” White said.

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