What a former NFL exec thinks of Seahawks QB Geno Smith’s resurgence

Jan 27, 2023, 3:32 PM
Seahawks Geno Smith...
Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates against the New York Giants at Lumen Field on October 30, 2022. (Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
(Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

It’s no secret that Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith was one of the better surprises in the NFL in 2022.

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The 10th-year pro was a full-time starter for the first time since 2014 and led the NFL in completion percentage and was in the top eight in both yards and touchdown passes. That earned Smith Pro Bowl honors in a year that began with many pegging him as one of the worst starting QBs in the league.

Smith’s 2022 season was “a pleasant surprise” to Marc Ross, an NFL Network and NFL.com analyst who formerly a longtime NFL executive and scout. In fact, Ross was part of the New York Giants when Smith was a backup there in 2017.

Ross joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Bump and Stacy to help discuss Smith’s 2022 season, his emergence as a Pro Bowl starter and his overall history in the league.

“Geno always handled himself with class. So this year when I saw him with all his success, I was really happy for him,” Ross said. “And it wasn’t a fluke. The first couple of games, you’re thinking, ‘Oh, he’s OK,’ but he sustained it throughout the season and really played well, so I’m happy for him.”

Where does Smith ultimately rank among NFL quarterbacks?

“When you look at Geno and the landscape of the NFL hierarchy of quarterbacks, I mean, he’s not that top top-tier, but the way he played this year, he’s kind of right in that next group, so hopefully he’ll be able to sustain that,” Ross said. “Seattle really struck gold with bringing him in there.”

Being in that “next group” should certainly get Smith paid, and Ross recently wrote for NFL.com that Smith is one of 10 players primed for a big offseason payday.

Ross obviously has kept an eye on Smith for a long time, so what does he make of his career path and what wound up happening to the 2013 second-round pick?

“The thing that got lost with Geno (in) what went on with the Jets and he bounced around, but the dude was talented,” he said. “Coming out (of college), the guy was really talented. He had a live arm, he was athletic. There are some other things that might have held him back, but I think as he grew and matured and figured out how to be a pro and then got into a stable system (with the Seahawks) where he actually had a sustained chance (of success) – not just in and out of there – that he really flourished. And that’s really kind of all his talents coming together with some stability and people believing in him and giving him a chance.”

Not everybody can be a good NFL quarterback, Ross said, as you need “a good foundation of talent to start with.”

And Geno really kind of flourished with the natural talent that he had with the maturity and professionalism and a coaching system that believed in him,” Ross said.

Smith started as a rookie and in his second year with the Jets, but he and the team struggled and he wound up being a longtime NFL backup before his career year in 2022. That led Stacy Rost to ask whether the football world often writes off quarterbacks too soon, especially considering Smith was a backup for seven years before being a Pro Bowler this past season.

“Some quarterbacks are gonna be bad no matter where they are, and they just get (wrongly evaluated) or they don’t have the talent to do it,” Ross said. “Geno had that talent that you saw this year. The good stuff that he did this year, that was always within him.”

Unfortunately for Smith, his situation with the Jets at the start of his career wasn’t a good one, Ross said.

“The Jets situation was just a debacle from the start with the coaching and the teammates and even some of it, Geno would probably admit some of it was his fault not being ready to step into that role. And New York’s a tough place,” he said. “Working for the Giants for 11 years, it’s a tough place. And as we still see with the Jets, they took a guy No. 2 (overall in Zach Wilson) and he’s having struggles. So that’s just a really tough place and not every quarterback is going to be successful … Not everybody can make it, but Geno has the foundation and he had the talent to do it.”

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

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