I know for a fact the Dolphins liked Pat White early in the draft process. Bill Parcells personally fell in love with the kid's play at West Virginia and in the Senior Bowl and was sharing that fact with his buddies at Spring Training games up in Jupiter, FL. early on.
The stuff about the Dolphins being moved to pick White because they feared New England would snatch him is bogus.
And now that Miami has Pat White, it has to figure out what to do with Pat White.
That normally isn't a big issue. If you've got a player that is going to contribute, you suit him up, activative him and throw him out there, hoping he'll succeed. But White, who's position, plays and even game status are veiled in secrecy, is not your ordinary player.
First of all, the Dolphins don't want folks to know when and how they're going to use White. That's a problem because the Dolphins also have made it clear White is strictly a quarterback and the NFL has rules concerning the three quarterbacks on the roster.
Because White is a quarterback, the Dolphins last week decided to designate him the No. 2 while true backup QB Chad Henne was designated the No. 3, or the emergency QB. As ESPN's Len Pasquarelli points out in his Friday Tip Sheet, that immediately tipped off the Falcons that White was indeed going to be used against them.
"When we saw that White was No. 2," Atlanta coach Mike Smith said, "We knew they had some Wildcat stuff planned."
So the Dolphins, try as they might to keep White's status a secret, are dogged by the fact you must designate your QBs 90 minutes before the game so the Wild cat is out of the bag.
To combat this Pasquarelli suggests the Dolphins designate White as a receiver or running back instead, so as to not tip off the opposition before the game. Sounds logical on the face of it. But there are problems with that approach.
First, White cannot be designated a wide receiver because he doesn't wear a WR number. He'd have to change his number to officially change positions. Secondly, the Dolphins did little to no work with White at wide receiver during training camp.
And though White might be able to line up at receiver as he did against Atlanta, that's not what the team has planned for him. The Dolphins want him taking snaps from center and either running or passing out of the spread offense. They have receivers to play receiver a lot better than White can.
Finally, the idea of designating White as a receiver or a defensive tackle for that matter, doesn't change the fact he takes up an active roster spot. And if Henne is taking up an active roster spot, that means someone who was active last week has to be deactivated.
The simple math is if you have White, Chad Pennington and Chad Henne active, someone has to be take a seat in the stands as an inactive player.
That poses a problem in its own right because the Dolphins are freaks about how many plays they will milk from each player they take to the game. If the Dolphins lose one of those players, somebody has to pick up the slack.
So there is no easy solution for making White active. It might be that Chad Pennington, Pat White and Chad Henne might all be active for some game to not tip Miami's hand on the use of White 90 minutes before the game. But that is a fleeting strategic victory as most teams will assume if White is active, he'll get snaps regardless.
That leads me to these two scenarios:
Is White worth having active at all. I would tell you that if White is active versus Indianapolis -- which is NOT a certainty -- he must produce because two consecutive unproductive weeks might cause coaches to conclude he's not yet ready to contribute.
And what makes White any less accountable than any other player, particularly a rookie? You're not ready? You sit.
Also, White has to be productive and do so in a package of plays that numbers at least half a dozen to a dozen. After all, what good is having White active for three plays and plays that fail at that?
So the pressure is on White to show up soon.
One more thought:
This conversation would be so different had White actually completed that lone pass attempt last week to Ted Ginn. That pass connects and it changes everything.
Defenses, you see, expect White to run. So, if they react like the Falcons reacted, they will load the box when he was at QB. That was obvious on his run for zero yards.
But if White completes that fateful pass, defenses have to respect his arm. And now they're not putting eight defenders in the box. And now White can run, which forces them to respect the run. And now they have to respect both run and pass. And that causes problems for the defense!
Had that pass been two feet shorter, it would have changed everyone's outlook on Pat White.
Of course, had I picked the right six numbers last weekend and actually played those numbers, I wouldn't be writing any of this right now. That, like the completion, did not happen.
So White must make something good happen this week. Assuming he gets another opportunity.