For the first five games of the 2019 season, Jarren Williams was Miami’s starting QB. And, for four of those games, he played well. There were no interceptions, the completion percentage was high, but there were few big plays, and downfield receivers were ignored in favor of frequent checkdowns.
Even through the first four games, when Williams went a Miami-record 103+ throws without an interception to start his career, there were throws that could and likely should have been picked off. Whereas Williams was able to avoid turnovers early in the year, that came to a crashing halt against Virginia Tech.
After throwing 3 interceptions on the first 3 drives of the game, Miami pulled Williams in favor of Perry. After an early turnover — not his fault; Mike Harley fumbled on the first play with Perry in the game as he was being tackled — Perry played the balance of the day, and he was almost able to lead Miami back from an early 28-0 hole.
When pressed into game action, Perry was able to show his talents well. He completed nearly 60% of his throws — 56.25% to be accurate — en route to a career-high 422 yard, 4 TD day. But the most impressive part of Perry’s performance was his ability to make Miami’s best skill position players come alive in a way that they haven’t been able to with Williams at the helm.
Brevin Jordan had a career-day with 136 yards and a TD. Jeff Thomas, who had not done much if anything recently, burst back onto the scene with 124 yards and 2 TDs with Perry at QB. It was a wonderful sight to see, and Miami’s offense was all the better for it.
And that’s why N’Kosi Perry should be Miami’s starting QB.
Williams has good potential, and his performance early this season was good. But he has average to slightly-above average arm strength, and that has inhibited Miami from stretching the field vertically. And, with the exception of Brevin Jordan, none of Miami’s best skill players — the biggest strength of this roster — were able to get the ball in position to do something with it.
This isn’t a team that should be nickel and dime-ing the opponent to death. With Williams, that’s what was seen. But with Perry in the game, things opened up considerably. And that’s a good thing, in my opinion.
Whether he has an injured shoulder or not — he was seen “stretching it out” on the sideline after being pulled from the game — Williams has underthrown many receivers this year. While Perry underthrew a ball or two, there were many more throws that showcased his cannon arm, and several throws that quite simply Williams can’t make. Like the Hail Mary at the end of the first half. No way that ball gets to the end zone if it’s Williams throwing it. Both because his arm isn’t that strong, and because he likely would have checked it down instead of chucking it deep BECAUSE his arm isn’t that strong.
Look. I’m not here to bash on Jarren Williams. He had a very, very bad day and there are legitimate questions about the health of his throwing shoulder. Even with those things being true, N’Kosi Perry was ready for his opportunity and stepped into the moment when his number was called. And his performance earned him the right to start for the Canes, in my opinion.
Are there things to discuss about Perry’s performance? Sure. He missed a few throws. He threw an interception in the end zone. He was sacked 5 times. He threw 2 incompletions on the last 2 plays of the game when Miami was at the 10 yard line and desperately trying to tie the score. But, even with those negatives, the positives were enough to give Perry a shot at the Starting QB job again.
Manny Diaz has said that no starting position is guaranteed and every player is in open competition at all times. If that’s true, then N’Kosi Perry should clearly be Miami’s starting QB when the Canes host Virginia this Friday night.