The Pat White experiment is officially over in Miami.
White was never given a chance to cement himself as an NFL quarterback, having failed to show any of the intangibles needed to succeed at this level.
He was undersized, overwhelmed, and inaccurate with his passing. As a result, the Dolphins considered him surplus to requirements and he was one of the casualties when Tony Sparano trimmed down Miami’s roster to 53.
Just a year after using a second-round pick on the West Virginia college standout, he has been cast into the footballing wilderness, and will hope to be given another chance after being picked up off the waivers list.
So far, no team has done this.
It is no secret that the Dolphins boast impressive depth at quarterback on their roster. Chad Henne will be the team’s starter this year, but Tyler Thigpen has made impressive strides in closing the gap on Henne, and again impressed in pre-season, while Chad Pennington is the third quarterback on the roster.
White was simply not as good a quarterback as the other three men. Thus, he was the man axed.
However, when Miami took a chance in drafting White in 2009, they saw him as a project player and an experimental draft pick.
The experiment has ended very prematurely, and White should consider himself unfortunate to have been released, taking into account the very nature of his selection last year.
Project players take several years to develop. White was given just one. He deserved more time, whether it be on the roster, or in the practice squad, to stake a claim to his Dolphins career.
Having been given very few snaps last season, it was extremely difficult for any viewer to gauge just how tough he had found it adjusting to life in the NFL. Perhaps his best chance to showcase his talents was in last season’s finale against Pittsburgh Steelers. His opportunity was cut short after a bone-shattering collision with Ike Taylor.
White left the game unconscious on a stretcher. His Miami Dolphins’ career left with it.
To cut him after such limited game time must have been a difficult decision for the Dolphins’ management, but it is cruel on a player who displayed an excellent attitude throughout his tenure in Miami, and offered so many different possibilities to the Dolphins.
He is known to be model professional; not flash, cocky, or a trouble-maker. Today, a player with his humble approach should be praised for displaying such an attitude when morality and a good work-ethic falls by the wayside for many players.
When asked about the possibility of being cut, White replied “It’s not life or death, you know what I mean? Whatever happens was meant to be. I’ve been blessed so far. … I just show up every day to work, try to do what’s asked of me and whatever happens, whatever decisions they make, is on them”.
White wanted to be a quarterback in the NFL. However, he could have played a role as a situational running back, wide receiver, or kick returner. Obviously critics would work hard to find flaws in any one of these roles, but White was never given a crack at the whip with any of them. Until White displayed his athleticism returning a kick in the NFL, or catching a ball, nobody could truly judge him.
It may have not worked. He may have struggled to achieve that as much as it appears he struggled to play quarterback, but that is what an experiment is. Sometimes it fails. Unfortunately, nobody knows whether that experiment would have worked. It was never tried and tested.
As a quarterback in the league, four snaps is difficult to base any man’s reputation upon. When Miami selected him, they knew he needed a lot of work before he had a chance of becoming an NFL quarterback. Strangely, he was never given this chance.
However, a player who offered so much promise in college, and warranted such a high selection last year, was deemed not good enough to play in the NFL by Sparano. After Patrick Turner was selected in the third round of the same draft, and cut on the same day as White, perhaps the management should take the blame for their decisions, instead of the much-maligned White being criticised.
Rewriting history is not a possibility for Miami, but if it was, they would have passed on White and filled another need. Should White have been available later in the draft, then he may have warranted selection. He was clearly chosen too early, but Miami made the call to experiment; the only disappointment is that they never followed through with it.
White was an experiment; but he was not experimented with. White was a project; but he was never given a chance to develop.
It was not his fault he was selected so early in the draft. Perhaps Miami’s “trifecta” should never have picked him, but as he was selected, the management should have at least followed through with their plan from just a year ago. Whether he saw game time as a returner, receiver, or quarterback is irrelevant. At least he would have had a real chance to show whether he could ever perform in the NFL.
Now the experiment has abruptly come to an end. Whether it would ever have worked will remain unknown, but Pat White should consider himself very unfortunate that his Miami Dolphins’ career is over.
Pulling the plug on the experiment may have been the right thing to do eventually, but after investing a second-round draft pick in a project player just one year ago, it seems almost inexplicable to not even give him an opportunity at success.