Maybe that headline is a bit misleading. I’m not here to defend Cyler Miles. Not my job.
Instead, let me offer up a comparison that might have you thinking a little bit differently about the Huskies’ sophomore quarterback:
Miles and Arizona’s Anu Solomon, who entered the season as the only first-year starting quarterbacks in the Pac-12, are the same player.
At least, that’s what the numbers suggest:
Miles: 131 of 200 (65.5 percent) for 1,404 yards (175.5 yards per game), 12 TD, 2 INT; 7.02 yards per attempt; 142.3 efficiency rating in 8 games.
Solomon: 239 of 402 (59.5 percent) for 2,816 yards (312.9 yards per game), 25 TD, 5 INT; 7.01 yards per attempt; 136.3 efficiency rating in 9 games.
Miles: 86 attempts for 225 net yards (2.6 yards per carry), 4 TD. Sacked 15 times.
Solomon: 86 attempts for 314 net yards (3.7 yards per carry), 0 TD. Sacked 20 times.
The biggest difference in the numbers is that Solomon has attempted twice as many passes as Miles, which has led to twice as many yards. Solomon has a better supporting cast and plays in a system that Rich Rodriguez has been running for three seasons now in Tucson.
Miles is learning a new system and has played behind a beat-up offensive line that hasn’t lived up to expectations. UW’s offense has also had five different starting running backs, none of whom — besides linebacker Shaq Thompson — has proven he can be a full-time featured running back.
The counter argument to that would be, if Miles was more productive in the passing game, he would be allowed to throw more, and that would, in theory, help the running backs be more productive because defenses would have to respect Miles’ ability to beat them through the air. And, frankly, that just isn’t the case.
And, of course, the numbers that matter most are those tied to wins and losses, and no one player is tied to wins and losses as is the quarterback. It’s not that simple, and it’s always fair, but that’s the way it is.
Arizona is 7-2 (4-2 in the Pac-12), ranked No. 17 and has a signature victory at Oregon. The Huskies are 6-4 (2-4) and still need one more win to become bowl eligible.
Solomon has been celebrated in Tucson as one of the bright young quarterbacks in the Pac-12.
The sentiment around Seattle surrounding Miles’ future seems to be … when does Jake Browning get here?!?
Yes, Miles has struggled at times this season. Too often, he has looked tentative and conservative. Too often, he flees the pocket early, a continuing point of emphasis for UW coaches.
And, yes, Miles’ mechanics and his extreme over-the-top throwing motion are unusual.
But at this point, Miles appears to be UW’s best option — now and into 2015 — and maybe that’s not as bad a situation as his critics suggest.