Keith Price should not be a Scapegoat for Sarkisian's Failures

This is something that really bothers me. In recent past, many fans and media folk cast blame on Keith Price instead of Steve Sarkisian. Before the start of the 2013 season, media folks such as Ted Miller & Kim Grinolds for lack of a better term “put the season on Price.” These guys felt UW could be a 9 or 10 win team if Price had a great senior season. Ironically, Price has had a very good season yet the Huskies have not.

Price has completed 65% of his passes, has thrown 19 TD’s and only 4 interceptions. His QB rating is 2nd in the Pac-12, behind only Marcus Mariota of Oregon. That is good for 17th nationally. In addition, if you look at interceptions per pass attempts, Price would be 5th nationally.

Keith Price had a tremendous first season in 2011 in which he finished 7th nationally in pass efficiency. He was only behind the likes of Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Case Keenum, RG 3 and Kellen Moore.

Last season Price struggled amid the loss of four starters from the offensive line (all returnees for 2012), a lack of a viable #2 receiver and poor coordinating from Steve Sarkisian. Local pundits such as Hugh Millen and Grinolds criticized Price repeatedly though the root cause of his struggles were beyond his control. Let’s not forget Price was a field goal away or a ridiculous 3rd and 1 play call away from leading his team to an 8-4 record and five straight wins to close out the regular season.

Fast forward to the present and the Dawgs are 6-4 and firmly in the mediocre territory they hoped to escape.

The culprit is not Price who has shown considerable improvement in a number of areas. His first two seasons he threw 24 interceptions in 25 games. Last season he threw 11 picks and lost more than a handful of fumbles. In 10 games Price has thrown only 4 interceptions. One of those was on his first pass of the season. One against Oregon essentially amounted to a punt. I may be wrong but I don’t think Price has lost one fumble the entire season.

In 2011-2012 Price was ineffective against the best teams. Against Stanford this year Price put his team in position to win. His effort was deemed heroic by national pundits. He had his worst game against Arizona St because he faced relentless pressure the entire game. He didn’t have any turnovers though.

Though he had to leave the UCLA game at halftime, he did lead UW back from a 20 point deficit on the road. He had no turnovers and if not for a penalty call (which was called a mistake by the Pac-12) he’d have thrown for over 200 yards in the first half  against a quality UCLA defense.

This year Price has quietly improved quite significantly because his mistakes are down dramatically and he’s played much better against the best teams.

Price may not be a great quarterback but he’s a damn good one who has played well enough for UW to be 8-2 at this point instead of 6-4. It’s a shame that his improvement will be overshadowed by the failures of the team at large which are directly attributable to its head coach. Congratulations to Keith Price, who faced tremendous adversity on and off the field in 2012 yet came back to play at an even higher level in his senior season.

It is time for those who bad-mouthed Price and thrust the pressure on him to apologize and realize he was only a convenient and false scapegoat for the failures of his ineffective and underperforming head coach.