Seahawks HC Pete Carroll: Geno Smith’s great play at QB ‘not a surprise’
We saw some good things at times from Geno Smith in 2021 as a backup quarterback, but expectations were low for the veteran heading into his first full season as the Seahawks’ starter.
After an exciting Week 1 win over the Denver Broncos and former Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, Smith and the Seahawks’ offense scuffled in Week 2 before bouncing back in a Week 3 loss.
But Smith and the Hawks took it to another level in Week 4, putting up nearly 50 points in a 48-45 win over the Detroit Lions. Smith accounted for 371 total yards and three touchdowns and earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his play in Detroit.
So what clicked for the Seahawks offensively? Head coach Pete Carroll discussed that side of the ball and his starting quarterback during the latest Pete Carroll Preview on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM on Friday with Steve Raible.
For Carroll, it all started with the offensive line, which has two rookie tackles and a center in his first year in Seattle.
“We really got consistent play up front. The big guys did do a great job,” he said. “The quarterback did not get sacked — He got hit a couple times, but he made great plays when he did. So we survived that part of it. And as the game wore on, we got better running the football, so it just let the game stay and kind of tilted our way.”
Smith and the Seahawks’ offense were so on point that they didn’t punt a single time. A big reason why? Seattle converted nine of 12 third-down tries.
“That’s fantastic third down play. And that’s why you can feel like you really can’t get stopped. That’s what it felt like,” Carroll said. “We were in the right mindset and (offensive coordinator Shane Waldron) did a fantastic job. And like you said, Geno did do a great job in this game, and it’s why he got recognized Player of the Week and all that. But I think the real responsibility goes to those guys up front to be so consistent, to keep us safe and let us run the football.”
Smith, Carroll said, is “on it” in every way possible.
“His communication with the guys up front, he’s working really well with (center) Austin Blythe. Those two guys are really making the thing flow with the checks in the running game and the pass protections. Those were exquisite in this last game,” Carroll said. “But then again, he’s also just on the money with his throws. He’s accurate every day. This is not a surprise. You see him all day, every day, every time we’re out there, he just has a great arm and a great release and he has so much power that he makes all of the throws consistently. His accuracy has been marvelous. If we can keep him clean and he stays fast with the ball … then we can minimize the effect of the opponent.”
Minimizing the effect of the opponent will be key for the Seahawks as they face a New Orleans Saints defense that’s ninth against the pass and is 12th in total defense. The Saints also beat the Seahawks in a low-scoring affair last season in one of three games Smith started in place of an injured Wilson. Outside of a long touchdown to DK Metcalf, Smith and the offense sputtered that night in Seattle.
With the Saints, Carroll said their defensive line is a difficult opponent, and will test the Seahawks’ two rookie tackles.
“We’ve got a really tough group this week. These guys are experienced, they’ve got a ton of stuff that they do,” he said. “They’ve got really good defensive ends, to continue to bring edge rush. Our young guys are gonna get really worked out. If we can maintain that (level of play) and not let that get into us, we have a chance to do a good job here.”
And on the other side, the Saints are expected to get star running back Alvin Kamara back for this game.
“He’s a fantastic football player. And he gets you in a million different ways, and they know it and they use him,” Carroll said. “If he’s back, he’s a big focus for us. And we’re counting on him playing. We’ve been counting on that all week long, and we’ve got our stuff that we’re trying to do to contain him. You really can’t stop him, but you can keep him from being the big factor, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Listen to this week’s Pete Carroll Preview at this link or in the player below.