Huard: Geno has ‘equity’ with Seahawks, so Lock must ‘force the decision’
The Seahawks’ quarterback battle appeared to take a turn in Saturday’s mock game, with newcomer Drew Lock seemingly outperforming veteran Geno Smith despite spending most of the afternoon running with the second-team offense and facing the first-team defense.
Lock finished the game with an unofficial line of 18 for 27 for 185 yards and a touchdown, while Smith completed 10 of 19 passes for 94 yards.
Despite Lock’s impressive showing, Smith took all first-team reps in a walkthrough Sunday, and head coach Pete Carroll didn’t have much in the way of an assessment after Saturday’s mock game.
“Why doesn’t Pete seem to be as willing as everyone else does to make Drew Lock the starter?” Mike Salk asked former NFL quarterback Brock Huard Tuesday morning on Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Mike Salk Show.
Huard was a little surprised by that, especially because of how excited Carroll and Seahawks general manager John Schneider were at their first press conference after acquiring Lock in the trade of Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.
“(Carroll) was over the top. He couldn’t even breathe he was so complimentary and went back to to all of Drew’s shortcomings that have really been based on where he’s been,” Huard said.
Salk was curious why Carroll has been “poo-pooing” Lock being the starter of late. Huard thinks it has more to do with how Smith is perceived than anything to do with Lock.
“Because he has given Geno every benefit of the doubt,” Huard said. “He wants to give every opportunity to (Geno to) do what Tarvaris Jackson did here.”
Jackson joined the Seahawks in 2011 – Carroll’s second year in Seattle – and started 14 games that season, leading the team to an overall 7-9 record. Jackson was a well-liked figure in the Seahawks’ locker room during his stay in Seattle, which included being a starter in 2011 and then backing up Wilson from 2013-15.
Salk has talked regularly with former NFL offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus, who is a host at 104.3 The Fan in Denver, a sister station of Seattle Sports. Polumbus has said he believes what’s happening to Lock in Seattle is mirroring what happened to the 2019 second-round pick during his 2021 season in Denver, where he was backup to veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. That came after Lock started five games at the end of 2019 as well as 13 games in 2020.
Huard thinks this situation in Seattle is different than what Lock just went through with the Broncos, though, largely because the Broncos had a head coach in Vic Fangio who Huard felt shouldn’t have been an NFL head coach and was coaching to try and keep his job.
“Vic Fangio had to try to protect his job and win in a contract year, and he played the veteran. He went with the veteran business,” Huard said. “So I think that’s a different situation here. I honestly lean way back into Tarvaris Jackson and Pete, I think, views Geno in many ways like he viewed Tarvaris.”
That’s largely because the Seahawks’ locker room liked Jackson, as is believed to be the case with Smith now.
“I’ve told you before, a locker room doesn’t lie. But that locker room, let the voices in the locker room … let those guys be some of the voice of reason,” he said. “There’s not a lot of experienced voices. There’s very few left in that locker room … By and large, it is a new group of voices. But I think Pete is giving Geno every opportunity because he did (play a bit) last year and he has equity from years and years of being a good soldier and a good teammate and a good backup to Russ.”
Salk referred to quotes from Carroll back in 2012 when the Seahawks had a three-way quarterback battle between Jackson, Wilson and Matt Flynn, where Carroll essentially told reporters that they had a good idea of who Jackson was, so they were cutting his reps with the first team down to get better looks at the other quarterbacks.
“He sort of spun it as, ‘Tarvaris, we know enough about him so we don’t need to see him anymore,'” Salk said. “But it turned into Tavaris gets cut.”
But, Huard noted, it also had to do with seeing if Wilson could take the reins as a starter despite being a rookie third-rounder. Now, it’s a matter of seeing if Lock can make a statement.
“Drew Lock, here you go. How are we going to give Drew opportunity? Well, let’s make a mock game. OK, (he started off hot), made good decisions, was pretty accurate with the ball, (had) good timing,” Huard said. “OK, now maybe we’ll give him some reps this week and when we play the Steelers (in the first preseason game Saturday), Geno is going to start, he’s going to be our No. 1, but Drew when you come in, are you going to create?”
Huard recalled when two of his NFL coaches – Mike Holmgren (Seattle) and Tony Dungy (Indianapolis) – used to tell players in training camp that “they were going to make the decision” and to not worry about reps, snap counts or what media members are saying about their position.
“So for Drew right now, you’ve got to make this decision,” Huard said. “It’s started. I think (Lock) put a little hesitation (in the coaches’ decision). Was Pete going to admit it to (the media)? No. But this Saturday in Pittsburgh, you’re gonna force the decision. You go out and go 8 for 9 and you move the ball and you score a touchdown and you run and you do well … on third downs, on the money downs, and take care of the football? You’ll keep making this decision hard for them.”
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