Geno Smith or Drew Lock? ESPN’s Orlovsky weighs Seahawks QB options

Aug 17, 2022, 1:33 PM

Seahawks Geno Smith...

Seahawks QB Geno Smith looks to pass against the Jaguars during a game in 2021. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seahawks’ quarterback battle did get a bit of an unexpected shakeup Tuesday afternoon with the news that Drew Lock had tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Seattle’s second preseason game against Chicago, which he was slated to start.

Seahawks QB Drew Lock to miss 2nd preseason game with COVID

Before that news broke, though, Lock had been trending upward as he competes with Geno Smith to be the Seahawks’ starter in 2022.

Someone who watched practice Tuesday before Lock’s positive test came to light is former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky, an ESPN analyst who will be calling Thursday’s Seahawks-Bears matchup. He joined The Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM Wednesday morning and shared his insight into the quarterback battle and why the Seahawks could pick either player to start.

As for Tuesday’s practice, Orlovsky told Mike Salk that Smith outplayed Lock while running with the second-team offense. Smith, who has been with the Seahawks since 2019, looked better than Lock when it came to commanding the huddle and line of scrimmage. He also made a few impressive plays, including one that prompted Orlovsky to tell his ESPN colleagues that Smith “threw the heck out of that one.” Meanwhile, Lock had a few nice throws but also some instances where he didn’t command the offense like he should have, Orlovsky said.

So what do the two quarterbacks offer Seattle?

“Drew’s a more talented player. There’s stuff that Drew can do physically that Geno just can’t,” Orlovsky said. “Geno is a guy that wants to – and more than likely has to – be in structure, in balance or position to throw the ball. And if he’s in that place, he can throw it really well. Drew can throw off platform, he can throw different angles, he can make some off-scripted plays, and that probably helps them run the RPO (run-pass option) game a little bit more because of the physical talent that he has.”

Smith is a known commodity for the Seahawks, Orlovsky said, which is why he’s been in the lead in this competition throughout the offseason. Lock, meanwhile, has been given chances to go out and “take it” and has done well in those opportunities, such as Seattle’s mock game and first preseason contest.

“If you’re the Seahawks, you know you’re sitting here going, ‘We know who Geno Smith is, he’s a good player. There’s some unknown with Drew Lock,'” Orlovsky said. “Maybe you didn’t like the situation he was in in Denver, and this is a better situation for him. This is the way it feels: if it’s a close competition, maybe we have Drew Lock be the starting quarterback because maybe he takes that situation and runs with it, and we have our answer at quarterback more so than we know that Geno Smith 10 years in (to his career) is a good quarterback that can operate our team.”

So what would Orlovsky personally do if he were running the Seahawks?

“If I were those guys, I think Geno Smith would be my starting quarterback. I think that our team operates the best (with him),” he said. “And when you’re asking your team to play as hard as they can, prepare as hard as they can, you want to put the guy out there that you think is going to give you the greatest chance to consistently win, and I think Geno would do that.”

However, he thinks Seattle has good reason to give Lock a shot.

“The caveat I do have is this: If you’re (Seahawks general manager) John Schneider and (head coach) Pete Carroll and you’re sitting there going, ‘Our plan this year was to be very young and use some of these draft picks to get ready and make another run over the next five years, and we don’t see us as a team that can legitimately win this division (in 2022),’ then play Drew Lock because then you figure out, ‘OK, does he surprise us and become the answer? Or do we have to go look into the draft in 2023?'” Orlovsky said. “So I think it’s a little bit attached to what their own realistic viewpoint of their football team is (for this season).”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.

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