Heaps: Why Geno Smith can successfully lead the Seahawks until Russell Wilson returns
The Seahawks will be without star quarterback Russell Wilson for a few weeks due to a finger injury, and for the first time since signing with Seattle, backup quarterback Geno Smith will be leading the offense.
Smith was a starter when he started his career with the New York Jets, but since starting 13 games in 2014, Smith has started just two since. In relief of Wilson during Seattle’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams last week, Smith played well, leading two scoring drives and giving the Seahawks a chance to win it late.
Now, he’s expected to be the Seahawks’ signal caller for at least the team’s next three games until Wilson returns to action, and he’ll be leading a 2-3 team that really can’t afford to lose more ground in the playoff standings.
Is Smith up for the task?
Someone who knows Smith well is former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps, who was Smith’s teammate with the New York Jets back in 2015. During Monday’s edition of Jake and Stacy on 710 ESPN Seattle, Heaps shared why he thinks Smith can successfully lead the team until Wilson is healthy.
“I know him better than most people in this town. I was with him my rookie year in New York and got to be up close and personal in how he was in meetings, how he threw the ball on the field,” Heaps said of Smith. “This guy is extremely talented.”
What’s maybe more important than Smith’s skillset, Heaps said, is how mature he’s gotten since his time with the Jets.
‘He has matured a great deal since that time in the process of going through what he did and the bumpy road with his time as the starter with the New York Jets to then becoming the backup and being behind Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Russell Wilson — three ultimate pros and future Hall of Famers,” Heaps said. “I believe he does learn from that experience. The last time I got to hang out with Geno and talk about all that, he said he really took that opportunity to really soak up the information and all the learning he was able to do, hoping that one day he was going to be given that chance.”
Smith made the most of his chances against the Rams, Heaps said, and now he just needs to be “serviceable” until Wilson returns to the field.
“All Geno Smith has to do is take care of the football and make good, smart decisions with the football. That is his job,” Heaps said. “The Seahawks are not asking Geno to go win them football games. He doesn’t have that same pressure on his shoulders as Russell Wilson would have. So just go be you and be yourself and distribute the football and not force things in the middle of the field.”
Heaps said that Smith forcing footballs into tight windows would be a red flag for him, but that even if Smith turns the ball over, he thinks he can rebound and help the team.
“Can he grow and truly learn from some of those mistakes early on? I believe he will, and that’s why I think Geno Smith is going to do just fine over the next three weeks,” Heaps said.
Listen to the discussion at this link or in the player below.