Schlereth compares Geno’s Seahawks to Wilson’s Broncos so far
When the Seahawks made their blockbuster trade with the Broncos that sent quarterback Russell Wilson to Denver last spring, there was clearly more excitement about the Broncos’ chances in 2022 than Seattle’s.
Obviously, things have changed.
The Seahawks are 4-3 and in first place in the NFC West thanks in part to a surprisingly great showing from their new starting QB, Geno Smith. As for the Broncos?
“We’re in last place, by the way, in our division,” said Mark Schlereth, a former Broncos offensive lineman and current NFL on FOX color commentator, in a conversation with Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Tuesday. “I don’t know if you guys knew that. We’re awful.”
Schlereth said that tongue in cheek, of course, while talking to Bob Stelton and his former Broncos teammate Dave Wyman. But as a host for 104.3 The Fan in Denver (a sister station of Seattle Sports) who also calls NFL games, the man affectionately known as “Stink” has a unique perspective on the direction of these two teams that are linked at the moment due to the blockbuster Wilson trade.
Here are a few things of note Schlereth shared with Wyman and Bob.
Were the Seahawks “right” about Wilson?
Schlereth, like seemingly most in Denver, was excited about Wilson coming to lead the Broncos’ offense. But with Denver at 2-5 and Wilson struggling both on the field and with injuries, his eyes are now open to why head coach Pete Carroll’s Seahawks may have been willing to move on from their previous franchise QB.
“It just goes to show you that maybe they weren’t necessarily winning strictly because of Russ,” Schlereth said of the Seahawks, “(but) they were really winning because of the way that Russ was managed and the way that Pete Carroll said ‘We’re gonna run our offense the way I want to run our offense.’ Here in Denver, it’s like they’ve give given him the green light to do whatever he wants, change any plays, run everything out of shotgun, not run the ball, and it has been worse than horrific. It’s been as bad as it could possibly be up to this point. So, you know, Seattle 1, Stink 0. That’s the way it feels right now.”
What about Geno?
There are no sour grapes for Schlereth when it comes to Smith rolling as Wilson’s replacement in what was his first shot at a full-time starting QB job in eight years.
“This is one of the great stories, because Geno Smith, let’s face it, was a second-rounder for the Jets (and) he was essentially done. And it really is a cool story to see the way he’s playing right now,” he said.
Asked by Wyman if Smith’s late-career emergence reminds him of anybody, Schlereth thought back to his early days in the NFL, prior to going to Denver.
“I played with Rich Gannon in 1993 in Washington, and Rich would come on your program right now and tell you he was awful (at that time),” Schlereth said.
Gannon bounced around with Minnesota, Washington and Kansas City over his first 12 seasons and never was considered a great QB, but he turned into a superstar in his mid-30s with the Oakland Raiders, even winning the MVP award in 2002, his age-37 season.
“It’s just one of those things that some guys are just a little bit later than others,” Schlereth said.
Schlereth was able to see Smith up close when he called the Seahawks’ Week 2 game at San Francisco, and he shared an interesting anecdote from before that game.
“(I was) standing on the field with Pete Carroll talking before the San Francisco 49er game, and we were watching Geno warm up together and just having this conversation. Pete was just like, ‘Dude, one thing that that will blow you away, watch him throw the ball.’ Not only is he accurate and all that stuff but he just can flat spin it, and he has got unbelievable arm strength. … (Backup Seahawks QB) Drew Lock is considered a gunslinger and (when) Drew Lock throws the ball, I mean, he’s got some juice. (But) it was like it was like two different (kinds of throwers), watching it coming out of Geno’s hands, just the way it spins so tightly and the power and the just velocity he throws with. It was one of those things that was shocking. He would even surprise Pete during training camp with the way that Geno was throwing the ball.”
Pete Carroll, fortune teller
Schlereth had one other story he recalled from talking to Carroll, although this conversation goes back a few years. In a year when several of the NFL’s best QBs are having down years and the Seahawks are a surprise team, though, it certainly jumps out.
“I had this great conversation with (Carroll) about a year and a half, two years ago,” Schlereth said, “just about, ‘I want to play 90s football. I want to throw it back to your day like when you guys were in Denver and you guys were running the snot out of the ball, running the boot action… that’s what it’s becoming. The NFL is so cyclical that this is going to happen, it’s going to come back and this stuff is gonna be the hard stuff to defend.’ It was like he was predicting and forecasting the future because that’s what it looks like you guys are doing right now.”
Schlereth joins Wyman and Bob at 3 p.m. every Tuesday on Seattle Sports. You can listen to the podcast of this week’s conversation at this link or in the player below.