Huard: Where Seahawks QB Geno Smith can grow the most in 2023

Feb 7, 2023, 11:52 AM

Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith...

Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith during a game against the 49ers on Jan. 14, 2023. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Geno Smith having a breakout Pro Bowl season for the Seahawks in 2022 was something few saw coming.

ESPN’s Riddick: Gap between Seahawks’ Geno, Lock is ‘Grand Canyon-esque’

But that’s indeed what happened as Smith, 32, turned in the best season of his career after serving as a backup for the past seven seasons and he wound up leading the Seahawsk to a 9-8 record and a playoff berth.

While it’s not a sure thing Smith will be back in Seattle next year because he’s a pending free agent, it seems likely that the QB-team pairing will continue as Smith said recently “it’s looking very good” that the two sides come to an agreement on a new contract.

If that’s the case and Smith is back with the Seahawks in 2023, where can he improve? That’s the question former NFL quarterback Brock Huard tackled on Tuesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

“Well we know this – (Smith set a) franchise record in yards, franchise record in completion percentage, franchise records in attempts and completions. Franchise records,” he said. “We know across the league (Smith was) top-five in QB rating, top-five in touchdown passes.”

Smith’s final stat line from 2022 saw him complete 69.8% of his passes for 4,282 yards and 30 touchdowns. But what stat negatively stands out?

“You know where he was in a tie for third-worst in the league? …  Sacks,” Huard said, pointing to Smith’s 46 sacks on the year.

“Now that does not all fall on the quarterback. But a lot of it does. You are kind of the peanut butter to the jelly,” Huard said. “And you can get rid of the football at times. We know (former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson) struggles with that and he’s always been sacked a lot. Russ and (Bears quarterback Justin Fields each took) 55 sacks. Next on that list? (Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins) and Geno at 46.”

Huard explained what will likely happen with Smith later in the offseason.

“That’s the area that when he sits down with (offensive coordinator) Shane Waldron – and we’ll see if Dave Canales is still his QB coach – and they watch in April when they get back in the building together, ‘Let’s walk through all 46 of these. How many of them were on you? How many of them could you have changed the protection? How many of them could you have gotten the ball out? How many of them could you have slid up in the pocket instead of bailing out? How many of those 46 (were on you)?'” Huard said. “That’s a humbling tape. I watched that tape one time. That’s a hard tape to watch, because you do realize pretty quickly, ‘Yeah, there’s a lot of those that are on me. I just need to get rid of the ball and don’t give them that negative play.’

“I think that is the area where the game can slow down protection-wise, communication-wise, ‘live to play another day’-wise. That’s an area that he can grow the most.”

Listen to the full second hour of Tuesday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player below.

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Huard: Where Seahawks QB Geno Smith can grow the most in 2023