With Robert Griffin and Kirk Counsins still sidelined, and Rex Grossman getting a majority of the first team reps thus far, the Redskins have announced they are going with Pat White for the entirety of Thursday’s final preseason game in Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers are not going to let the starters get too many plays in the final game before the regular season, but they need to take the series or two against Pat White very seriously.
Pat White and Geno Smith have similar styles of quarterbacking. And with the recent Mark Sanchez injury (and subsequent Rex Ryan outburst) it’s looking more and more like Smith will get the nod against the Buccaneers in Week 1.
So the Buccaneer defense has to go out and work on the same things against Pat White that they’ll need to get done against Geno Smith. Most importantly, keep them in the pocket and force them to beat you through the air.
Defending against mobile quarterbacks is different for front seven of the defense. Against a pocket passer, the defensive line wants to get up the field and force the quarterback to move. The linebackers are then there to clean up the short routes and be there to stuff the run.
With Smith and White, the line will have to try to collapse the pocket around the QB rather than force him to move. You don’t want these guys out on the run because that’s where they are most dangerous. Also, the linebackers have to be aware of the possibility of a scramble at all times.
Assignments change, strategies change, and the complete style of defense molds. The Buccaneers are getting a golden opportunity to see Pat White just 10 days before they’ll face Geno Smith in a game that matters.
It’s a good time to run a full-blown “mobile QB dress rehearsal.” And whether the starters are on the field or not, they can learn from the successes and failures against White. The more they can take from this game, the tougher it’s going to be on Geno in his first career start.