How Seahawks’ playbook will differ for new QBs from Russell Wilson

Aug 11, 2022, 9:06 AM

Seahawks Russell Wilson Geno Smith...

Russell Wilson and Geno Smith take the field for the Seahawks before a 2021 preseason game in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

Seahawks fans will get their first peek at what the offense looks like without Russell Wilson when Seattle opens the preseason Saturday in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.

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It’s well known the Hawks will have a quarterback with different skills than Wilson this year – whether that QB is Geno Smith or Drew Lock – and Stacy Rost had an interesting series of questions related to that, which she posed to former NFL wide receiver Michael Bumpus during a recent edition of Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.

First, do the playing styles of the veteran Smith and younger Lock diverge in a way that the play calls for each will be unique? And second, how will the offensive playbook differ this year from the final years of Wilson’s time in Seattle?

Bumpus, who is an analyst for the Pac-12 Network and hosts Seahawks Radio Network broadcasts in addition to his day job on Bump and Stacy, answered the first question by drawing upon what he saw in the Hawks’ mock game at Lumen Field last Saturday.

“We saw during the mock game there were some drawn-up runs for Drew Lock, so they obviously want to use his athletic ability,” he said. “But other than that, it’s the same. Drew can extend plays longer, I feel like – and Geno’s no slouch, it isn’t like he can’t get outside the pocket. But Drew’s younger, a bit more mobile. Drew is more likely to throw the ball down the field, but I think a lot of the responsibility comes on (offensive coordinator) Shane Waldron and how he calls the plays. … I think they have the same game plan (for Lock and Smith), it’s just Drew Lock has a couple more designed runs.”

Now the bigger question – what will be the noticeable difference that fans who spent the past decade watching Wilson will notice?

“All the things you expect,” Bumpus said. “You know, we saw during the mock game, during practices, the running backs getting involved – I believe three running backs had at least two or three catches in the mock game on Saturday. We’re not used to seeing that with Russell Wilson.”

What else?

“Less going for your throat type of plays early. They’re like, ‘We’re OK with the 5-yard hitch. We’re OK with the 5-yard out. We’re OK with the slant.’ We didn’t really see them push the ball down the field (in the mock game) like we’ve seen with Russell, but that’s the safe bet. That lets you know what they feel about these two guys.”

The Seahawks may have learned a valuable lesson when Smith had to take over for an injured Wilson for four games last season, according to Bumpus.

“I heard something that initially when Geno got the starting job and Russell went down, they were calling the plays as if Russell was still in there, and you can’t do that. And then they realized, like, ‘This is Geno. We have to develop a game plan for Geno.'”

You can hear the full conversation from Bump and Stacy about seven minutes into the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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