The Redskins new practice squad quarterback Joel Stave made his first appearance with the team on Monday. If he can live up to his potential in Washington, it could be the start of a long stay.
For the foreseeable future, Kirk Cousins is the Washington Redskins starting quarterback. And so far this season, he’s played very well. Through four games, he has a healthy 66% completion rate, over 1,000 yards, and a stellar 7:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Coming off his best game of the year, Cousins looks to only keep improving, and eventually earn either a long-term deal or a third consecutive franchise tag in 2018. The Redskins can afford it. And that might be the route they take.
Regardless of the cautious optimism surrounding the team’s quarterback situation, there’s plenty to like at each level of the Redskins’ quarterback hierarchy. Kirk Cousins is a top ten starter in the league. Colt McCoy is one of the NFL’s best backup signal callers, possessing the ability to start on at least five teams. And their new practice squad quarterback, 25-year old Joel Stave, is a proven winner with a lot of potential.
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Signed to the practice squad about a week ago, Stave brings a lot to the table, in terms of developmental value, perhaps more than Nate Sudfeld and Alek Torgersen could ever hope to provide. He was a three and a half year starter in college for a prestigious Big Ten squad, the Wisconsin Badgers. In his time there, he accumulated 48 touchdowns to 37 interceptions, as well as over 7,000 yards and a near 60% completion rate.
Those stats aren’t bad, but they don’t jump off the page, either. What’s impressive about Stave’s career is the fact that he exited college as the team’s winningest quarterback in history, with a career record of 31-10. He didn’t play with world beating talent, but he still managed to eek out wins with consistent play. He wasn’t flashy, and his best football was played back in 2013, but he showed a lot of promising traits in his time at Wisconsin, and he capped it off with an impressive performance in a bowl game win against USC in 2015.
Of all the developmental quarterbacks the Redskins have tested in recent years, Stave is the closest to the prototypical NFL size, standing at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. What he lacks in proven playmaking ability and surefire potential, he compensates for with smarts and solid intangibles. He was a four-time Big Ten Academic All-American, the first player to win the award since, guess who? Drew Brees.
Now, I’m not saying there’s any correlation. But Stave gives the Redskins a lot to work with while they figure out the Kirk Cousins situation. He’s a smart player with a lot of potential for growth, and if he can learn this offense and put more heat on his throws, he can potentially be an important player for this team down the road, with two quarterbacks around 30 years of age above him on the depth chart.
The Stave Train is still at the station. And it’ll be docked there for a while. But until then, we can speculate on what kind of value this player brings to the Redskins. He’s no sure thing. But with a little time in the same system (he’s bounced around to three teams since entering the league in 2016), this young quarterback, who knows how to win games, could get comfortable and start to show growth. Depending on how the Kirk Cousins situation plays out, the Redskins might need him to do just that.