Huard: One thing Seahawks’ Geno Smith does better than Russell Wilson

Sep 6, 2022, 12:12 PM | Updated: 12:17 pm

Seahawks Geno Smith...

Seahawks QB Geno Smith looks to pass during a preseason game against the Chicago Bears on Aug. 18. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Geno Smith will take over the quarterback duties for the Seahawks when they begin the regular season Monday night against Russell Wilson’s Denver Broncos, and nobody is expecting him to fully fill the shoes of Wilson as Seattle’s replacement for the perennial Pro Bowler.

But is there at least one thing the veteran Smith does better than Wilson?

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On the return edition of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Tuesday morning, that question was posed to former NFL QB and current FOX Sports football analyst Brock Huard, and the answer is yes.

“I think the one thing you will see him do better than Russell Wilson is the run-pass option game, the RPO game,” Huard said. “Russell didn’t like it. He would tell you that, some people around him would tell you that.”

On a run-pass option play, the quarterback has the option of handing the ball off to a running back or turning the handoff into a play-action move and instead looking to pass. It all depends on the look the QB sees from the defense. Why wasn’t that something Wilson favored?

“He didn’t like taking his eyes away from the game at all,” Huard said. “The QB puts the ball in the running back’s belly and then he makes a decision. ‘Am I going to hand it here? Are the numbers the way I want them? Are the safeties not in the box and we’re going to run the ball? Or am I going to put it in his belly, pull it out and throw that quick slant?’ Throw those routes between the hashmarks, in the middle of the field that Geno can see and Geno’s adept at and comfortable with.”

Huard said he expects RPOs to be a significant part of Seattle’s offense with Smith at QB, and a reason has to do with what he learned in talking to Mike Pereira, the former vice president of officiating for the NFL who is now a rules analyst for FOX Sports: that the league will give offensive linemen more leeway this season to get downfield to block on those plays.

“We didn’t see (RPOs) a ton in the preseason (from the Seahawks); you’re going to see more of it in the regular season. It is maybe the one thing and only thing that I can say definitively (Smith) does better than Russell Wilson. That can be a big part of the offense,” Huard said. “… The NFL is only allowed linemen in that scheme to be one yard downfield. Why you see it so much in college, (linemen) can get three, four yards down the field. There’s gonna be a little more leeway if it’s 1 1/2, if it’s 1 3/4 yards (in the NFL this season). They’re gonna give these offenses a little more leeway in 2022 and you’re gonna see more of that RPO in this system.”

You can listen to the full explanation from Huard in the Blue 88 segment of Brock and Salk at the end of the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Blue 88 airs at 7:45 a.m. during each edition of Brock and Salk, which is the new morning show on Seattle Sports 710 AM from 6-10 a.m. each weekday.

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