While much attention has been focused on Tim Tebow this week at the Senior Bowl because of his struggles with center snaps, or his throwing motion, or his background working almost exclusively in the spread formation, I had to seriously shake my head.
Because even as so-called pundits and scouts and experts are ripping Tebow for not being ready to be an NFL quarterback, I think back to the not-ready-for-the-NFL quarterback the Dolphins used a second-round pick on last year.
Every issue Tebow has, White has. His throwing motion is a question mark. His drops from center and footwork were question marks. The fact he never played in a pro style offense was a quesion mark. And so if Tebow is a such a huge risk even in the second round (most folks are saying he's a middle round pick) why didn't anyone (including me) think White was a risk?
Boggles the mind.
The Dolphins can do nothing about picking White. He's on the team and they must hope he can progress from an unspectacular rookie season into a legitimate backup quarterback. That's why coach Tony Sparano was asked about White at the Senior Bowl this week.
"I think that he’s doing very well, certainly," Sparano said, no doubt remembering that White was literally knocked out of the season-finale against Pittsburgh. "Pat's not a guy to take a lot of time off or any of those things, so he’s getting right back at it. He’s got a pretty good itch. I was kidding him earlier in the week. I met his dad out here for the first time when we were over at Fairhope (High School) in the beginning of the week, so I sent him a text telling him his dad was better looking than he is. He immediately sent it back and talked about his hometown here and all that, you know.
"Pat is a real proud kid that way. But he has done a nice job for us, he really has. When you think about these young quarterbacks coming in and all that they have to do, and it’s a lot. You have to put a lot on their plate and you can’t spoon feed them. You have to be careful with that. So, from our end, our philosophy has always been to throw everything at them and see what sticks. With Pat, he had it a couple of different times. He had it in rookie camp. He had it in OTAs. He had it in training camp. And little by little he’s been able to grab more and more of our offense to the point that midway through the season he had total command of the whole package."
So White can come in the game and run the entire Miami offense if need be?
"He can really go out there with no limitations and run the offense that way," Sparano said. "Now there are still some fundamental things that we’re working with Pat on and that we want Pat to get better at, but this guy is so willing and has so much character that I feel like he’s going to continue to get better."
Well, there you have it. After one season the Dolphins are still working to correct White's fundamentals. After one season the Dolphins are also hoping White can actually complete a pass in an NFL game -- something he didn't do in 2009.
I hope White can make the giant leap from a struggling rookie to a viable backup in 2010. Again, no one is asking him to be ready to be the starter.
But he needs to get stronger. He needs to recognize defenses faster. He needs to get quicker with his drops. He needs to show the kind of accuracy he often showed in college but never showed in NFL games.
White has a long way to go. In that regard, he's a lot like Tim Tebow.