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Huard: The better comp for Seahawks’ Geno Smith than Rich Gannon

Jun 14, 2023, 1:09 PM

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)

Since Geno Smith’s emergence as the Seattle Seahawks’ starting quarterback, there’s been a very common name thrown out there for a comparison: Rich Gannon.

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Like Smith, Gannon didn’t blossom into a Pro Bowler until his 30s. Gannon became a Pro Bowler for the Oakland Raiders in 1999 at 34 years old. Before that, he’d been a bit of a journeyman quarterback, not starting many games over the previous seven seasons.

Smith had a bit of a similar trajectory as he started for the New York Jets early in his career, then was a backup for seven years before leading the Seahawks to the playoffs as Russell Wilson’s successor last year.

So is Gannon really the best comparison for Smith?

“I’m done with that one. I am, actually,” former NFL quarterback Brock Huard said during Wednesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports. “I mean, I appreciate it. We talked to Rich Gannon and he’s great guy. But I think, honestly, the better comp is Alex Smith. And Albert Breer even hit on that, too.”

Breer, an NFL insider for Sports Illustrated and the Monday Morning Quarterback, joined Brock and Salk last week to discuss a profile he wrote about Smith’s offseason work, and he mentioned the two Smiths being similar.

“I don’t see why you wouldn’t look at a guy who’s going to be 32, I believe, as somebody who could be your quarterback for the next five or six years and be very much like what Alex Smith was in Kansas City, right?” Breer said. “Alex Smith got there with (Chiefs coach) Andy Reid and gave them five really good years and bridged them to Patrick Mahomes, and they made the playoffs consistently and allowed them to build the team up.”

On Wednesday, Huard dove a bit into the Geno Smith-Alex Smith comparison during the Blue 88 segment, which airs every weekday at 7:45 a.m.

“I think we now legitimately and genuinely have to look more at Alex,” Huard said. “… Rich, like Geno, largely didn’t play. Alex played. Alex was the No. 1 pick, Alex was battered and beaten and bruised. … It chaotic, it was disastrous, kinda like the Jets (tenure) for Geno Smith. I mean, it was just a bad environment.”

Alex Smith was the top overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, and after six lackluster years there, he finally blossomed in Year 7. He led the 49ers to a 13-3 record in 2011, including an NFC Championship Game appearance.

Smith was again very good in 2012, but he suffered an injury and Colin Kaepernick played very well in his absence to lead San Francisco to the Super Bowl, where they fell to the Baltimore Ravens.

Smith was traded the following offseason to Kansas City, where he had five very productive years, earning Pro Bowl honors three times.

“I’m gonna look a whole lot more at Alex Smith. I think that’s a better comp,” Huard said. ‘”He had all that struggle in San Francisco, he goes to Kansas City and he’s 11-4, throws 23 touchdowns and seven picks. He comes back the next year (and throws) 18 touchdowns and six picks as a 66% passer (and was) better, but the team wasn’t quite as good. And then he really took off and won 11 games and had an even better (passer) rating. So yeah, I’m gonna stick more to that Alex Smith (comp) moving forward than the Rich Gannon one.”

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Huard: The better comp for Seahawks’ Geno Smith than Rich Gannon