MAURA DOOLEY

Rookie class may be why Seahawks are leaning toward Geno Smith

Aug 15, 2022, 9:33 AM | Updated: Aug 16, 2022, 9:26 am
Seahawks Geno Smith...
Geno Smith is wrapped up for a sack by Henry Mondeaux in Saturday's preseason game. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

We got our first glimpse of the Seahawks’ quarterback competition against an NFL opponent Saturday when they took on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium. Geno Smith played the entire first half and Drew Lock saw every snap in the second.

How the Seahawks’ rookie draft class did in preseason opener

The numbers ended up pretty even in the end:

• Geno Smith – 10 of 15 passing for 101 yards, two rushes for nine yards and a touchdown
• Drew Lock – 11 of 15 passing for 102 yards and two touchdowns, one rush for three yards

Lock seems to have won the popular vote amongst fans. Perhaps it’s the fact that he is younger and it feels like there is more upside there. Maybe it’s the arm strength and mobility. Whatever the case, it does feel like there is a higher probability of a dynamic play when Lock is at the helm. Unfortunately, it also feels like there is a higher risk for an inexplicable lapse in judgement.

Whether you love or hate Russell Wilson, the man could make magic happen in crunch time. Now that he’s gone, the fans want to know that there will still be some excitement and that incredible talents like DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett won’t be left searching for opportunities to make their impact felt.

But what does Seahawks coach Pete Carroll want?

So far this offseason, he has repeatedly made it clear that Smith is in the lead of the quarterback battle. Just before Saturday’s matchup with the Steelers, he was asked if Smith was still in the lead.

“Yeah, he’s still going with the ones,” Carroll said. “He’s going to start the game this weekend and he’s ready to go.”

After the game was in the books, Carroll’s praise of Smith was still very high, especially for leading the nine-play, 61-yard drive near the end of the first half that ended with his 2-yard touchdown run.

“His two-minute drill was excellent. Beautiful job, just the way you want to do it,” said Carroll. “With 1 minute 46 seconds or whatever it was with timeouts, it was just done exactly the way we want to. Great calling by the coaches and Geno executed the whole thing and guys came through and made their plays.”

Carroll said that both quarterbacks were efficient and noted that they moved the ball well with Lock too, but he was concerned about Lock’s strip sack at the end of the fourth quarter.

“We could have handled that better,” Carroll said. “I want to get clarification exactly what the call was up front. It looked like it was hot off the edge and he needed to see it and didn’t see it.”

Mistakes are going to happen, especially in the preseason, but these kinds of mistakes have been a nagging issue for Lock since entering the NFL with the Broncos in 2019.

This is somewhat of a rebuilding year for the Seahawks even if no one in the organization will call it that. So why not go with the younger quarterback that we have been told has so much untapped potential, even if there are some mistakes, over the quarterback that hasn’t been a starter since 2014? Well, it might have something to do with the 2022 rookie class the Seahawks are so excited about.

Rookie tackles Abe Lucas and Charles Cross and running back Ken Walker III impressed in their first outing. It’s important to their development to have a consistent play-caller.

Albert Breer, senior NFL reporter for The MMQB, spoke about that aspect of Carroll’s decision recently on Seattle Sports’ Mike Salk Show.

“Are you giving your young tackles a better chance to ascend because there’s a quarterback back there who’s getting them in the right position to succeed before the snap?” Breer asked. “Are you giving your young running back a better chance because you’ve got that quarterback there? The young guys on defense, are they in a better spot because you’re competitive in more games because you have that quarterback?”

Breer was actually advocating for the Seahawks to bring 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo into the mix, but his point makes a lot of sense as to why Carroll would be leaning in Smith’s direction. Drew Lock has made progress this offseason, but what he really needs to show is that this talented rookie class will be able to reach their full potential with him as their leader.

Salk: Who are the Seahawks’ most welcome breakout candidates?

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