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Redskins draft countdown: Could Miami's Brad Kaaya be the heir apparent at quarterback?

Redskins draft countdown: Could Miami's Brad Kaaya be the heir apparent at quarterback?

Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 38 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players the Redskins will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.

Brad Kaaya

Quarterback
Miami

Height: 6-4
Weight: 214
40-yard dash: Did not participate

Projected draft round: 3

What they’re saying

Three-year starter and pro-style pocket passer. Experienced and comfortable under center and in play-action offense. Has shown an ability to read the entire field when asked. Gets through progressions fairly quickly. Expedites release and throws to an area in front of the route when blitz is closing in. Always looking to throw past sticks on third down. Understands his arm limitations and rarely takes unnecessary chances throwing into space.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

How he fits the Redskins: In case you haven’t heard, the Redskins are having trouble getting Kirk Cousins signed to a long-term deal. If he doesn’t sign prior to the draft, the team will need to seriously look at their future at quarterback. If Kaaya is there in the third round, they could make him that future.

Although he played in a pro-style offense at Miami, he probably needs a year on the bench to get ready and assuming Cousins is around this year the Redskins would have that luxury. A review of some game tape releveled to me that his arm strength is average to below average by NFL standards. He can make up for that by making quick decisions and anticipating. Kaaya is at his best when he can step into his throws and fire them between the hash marks. Still, it’s easy to see him having problems throwing into tight windows in the NFL. He’s not the mobile type of quarterback but he can make plays on the move.   

In a very general sense Kaaya is similar to Cousins when he came out of Michigan State. Both are pocket passers who don’t have the strongest arms. Cousins overcame his deficiencies with lots of hard work on and off the field. Can Kaaya do the same?

Potential issues: Kaaya has some problems throwing outside the numbers; against Notre Dame last year he underthrew one out pattern that easily was picked off. He also showed no knack for throwing deep passes; if it’s possible to overthrow long balls and show a weak arm in the process, that’s what he does.

Since Kaaya is a quarterback who shows some potential to be a starter there is a good chance that he will be overdrafted. He clearly is a mid-round talent since he likely will need a year of clipboard holding and probably a season of rocky on the job training before a team can really determine if he can be its future at the position. But it’s easy to see a team trading up in the second round to grab a guy who is 6-4, won the job at Miami as a true freshman, and started 38 games over three seasons.

Bottom line: When evaluating Kaaya one should note that he played for three different head coaches and in two different offensive systems in his three years. That could be why his stats are good but don’t really pop off the page.

It seems that the best plan for a long-term answer at quarterback is to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract. But whether it’s the Redskins reluctance to commit the money or Cousins being leery of the front office issues that have ground on during all five of his seasons in Washington, that may not happen. Unless they really think that Nate Sudfeld can be the starter in 2018 or if Colt McCoy can revive his career next year at age 32 they must do something to be prepared for Cousins’ departure.

Is Kaaya the right guy? He may be if he still is there when the third round comes around. But for a team with as many needs as the Redskins, a second might be too much to gamble on a player who is far from a sure thing.  

In his own words:

When asked about what he would do to win over the locker room where he was drafted Kaaya sounded like a guy the Redskins charity foundation would love:

I mean, do exactly what I did at Miami, earn my stripes and earn my respect. I’m not gonna go in there thinking I’m the guys already. I realize that everything is earned. No matter what my opportunity is, no matter what the situation, I’m going to be around the city no matter what. I plan on staying in the city I’m drafted to . . . Just getting out in the community and making an impact on people. I feel like football gives you that platform to make an impact on a lot of people around the country and even across the world. And I feel like being in the position that all of us are in right now, we have kind of a moral obligation to help people and make an impact.

Previously in Redskins draft countdown:

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

NEW ORLEANS — Collectively, the Redskins squandered a great road win on Sunday.

The team coughed up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, and allowed Drew Brees and the Saints to pull off an incredible, unbelievable comeback win. 

The Redskins deserve the blame. The players and coaches. But they're not alone. 

The referees made a terrible intentional grounding call late in the fourth quarter that cost the Redskins precious time and real estate.

Kirk Cousins very obviously threw the ball away to stop the clock, and the quarterback was very obviously not under duress from the Saints pass rush.

In no fashion was the throw grounds for a flag.

None. 

RELATED: WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LOSS TO SAINTS

Yet, the refs penalized Cousins and the Redskins. As much as replay bogs down the sport, Jay Gruden had no recourse, the flag could not be challenged, and the 'Skins were thrust out of field goal position.

Late Sunday night, a report showed that NFL officials contacted Redskins team president Bruce Allen to say the call was wrong. Whoop de do. That means nothing, and Cousins knows it. 

"Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.," Cousins said Monday speaking on 106.7 the Fan

And he's right.

RELATED: DEAR FANS, STOP WITH THE 'FIRE GRUDEN' TALK

"This is our careers, this is our livelihood," Cousins said. "It is frustrating when a letter is really all you get when it has such a major impact on the direction of our lives."

Cousins' future, Gruden's future, countless other players and coaches, they don't get to hang a sign that says, "The NFL blew a call."

For the third straight offseason, Cousins will be without a contract, and a long-term deal remains anything but certain. This loss, and that call, could impact those contract talks. 

This loss, and that call, could impact coaching changes or draft strategy too. By dropping to 4-6, the Redskins seem unlikely to push for a playoff spot now. Might the organization think differently of their franchise QB if the team fails to make the playoffs for consecutive seasons? Sure, that could definitely happen. Should it happen? Probably not. Could it happen? It could. 

Don't misunderstand: The Redskins blew a 15-point lead in three minutes. That's abysmal. That's absurd. One penalty flag didn't change that. 

But it was a huge penalty, and it was a terrible call. 

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Cousins played nearly flawless in New Orleans, connecting for three touchdowns and more than 300 yards. His most important pass, however, was one that was harmlessly into the ground, with no intended receiver. 

"I'm thinking, well [Jamison] Crowder and [Josh] Doctson are over there. If I literally throw it over their heads, they're in the area, they're eligible receivers. Not to mention, if I'm not under pressure, it's not intentional grounding," Cousins said. 

It's not intentional grounding. Cousins knows it. The NFL knows it. But it doesn't matter now. 

"The difference between a team that’s patting everybody on the back at the end of the season and a team that everybody gets fired, the difference can be a few plays, it can be a call by a referee," Cousins said. "It's a very fragile thing."

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League admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong, per report

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USA TODAY Sports

League admits to getting Kirk Cousins' intentional grounding call wrong, per report

NEW ORLEANS—The Redskins apparently were on the wrong end of a bad call late in their game against the Saints on Sunday and, according to a report, the league admitted it.

Per Mike Jones of USA Today, a league official told Redskins president Bruce Allen that intentional grounding should not have been called against Kirk Cousins with the game tied with 28 seconds left in regulation on Sunday.

The rule is clear. From the NFL rule book:

It is a foul for intentional grounding if a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense, throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion.

There wasn’t a Saints defender within a few yards of Cousins when he threw the ball. The pass was not to prevent a sack, it was a mixup with receiver Jamison Crowder.

MORE REDSKINS: A BRUTAL FINAL SIX MINUTES

But the men in stripes conferred and dropped a flag. The penalty was 10 yards, a loss of down, and a 10-second clock runoff. So instead of second and 10 at the 34 with time to run a few more plays, it was second and 20 at the 44 with time running out. The Redskins have every right to believe that they were robbed.

However, they also robbed themselves. The litany of self-inflicted problems is there for anyone who watched the game to see. From not being able to get a touchdown on the board early after D.J. Swearinger’s interception in Saints territory, to committing a false start lining up for a field goal try near the end of the first half, to the inability to get a yard on third and one and to the helplessness of the defense against Drew Brees in the final six minutes of regulation. The mistake by referee Walt Coleman’s crew was glaring but it was far from the only entry on the list of reasons the Redskins lost.

RELATED: TANDLER'S FIVE TAKEAWAYS

The thing is, it shouldn’t have been on the list at all. At least one official on the field is always able to communicate with the suits at 345 Park Avenue. They handle the replays from the league office and we get all kinds of strange interpretations of what a catch is or isn’t. Why can’t someone in New York get in the ear of someone in stripes on the field and say, “Hey, don’t drop that flag, he wasn’t under pressure?”

The technology to prevent a misinterpretation of the rules by the officials on the field is in place right now. It could be done with minimal disruption to the game. It’s a crime that the league won’t use it.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.