Orlovsky: Where Geno and Seahawks fit in NFC picture

Aug 29, 2023, 9:41 AM | Updated: 11:33 am

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith...

Seahawks QB Geno Smith celebrates with fans after a win over the New York Jets on Jan. 1, 2023. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

How good will the Seattle Seahawks be in 2023? That’s certainly a hot question in the NFL as we get closer to Week 1, especially after the Hawks were a surprise playoff team last year.

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Someone who covers the NFL and keeps a close eye on everything football is Dan Orlovsky, an ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback.

He joined fellow former NFL quarterback Brock Huard and his co-host Mike Salk during Tuesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports to discuss how good he thinks the Seahawks are heading into this upcoming season.

Orlovsky told Brock and Salk that after the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers, he thinks the two next-best teams in the NFC are the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions.

So how close are the Seahawks to the Lions then?

“Very close. I would sit here and say after that group, we’re having a conversation of the New Orleans Saints, the Seattle Seahawks, the New York Giants and maybe like the Green Bay Packers,” Orlovsky said.

Orlovsky sees the Seahawks as a contender yet again, but he thinks there are a number of big question marks on each side of the ball.

“I think the offensive line, especially on the inside, is probably the question mark offensively. (Quarterback Geno Smith) is going to play really well, (they have) two good backs, a plethora of receivers – let’s see how Jaxon (Smith-Njigba) comes back from the injury and just kind of see how the interior offensive line plays,” Orlovsky said. “And then defensively, you want to see does (Boye) Mafe take a big step? (What does) the addition of Dre’Mont (Jones look like)? How well the secondary gels in the back end … Where does Jamal (Adams), if at all, find his way onto the field? Can (Tariq) Woolen put a (good) second year in a row?”

“Seattle is going to be a really, really good football team,” Orlovsky added. “The reason why I would sit here and say I think I put Detroit above Seattle is I don’t think that Seattle has a unit on their team, respectfully, that is as dominant as Detroit’s offensive line. Detroit’s offensive line will control games. I don’t know if Seattle has a unit that I sit there and say, ‘They are, when it comes to controlling the game, dominant.'”

How Geno plays into the Seattle Seahawks’ ceiling

Smith was stellar in his first year as the Seahawks’ starting quarterback, finishing atop the NFL in completion percentage as well as eighth in yards and fourth in touchdowns. He earned Pro Bowl honors for his play and signed a three-year contract to stay in Seattle earlier this offseason.

So if Smith is even better in 2023 than he was last year, what does that mean for the Seahawks?

“If he does, we’re having a conversation of this team being in the NFC title game conversation,” Orlovsky said. “I’ve said this multiple times: No one threw – no one, not a single quarterback in the NFL – threw more perfect passes last year than Geno Smith did.”

Orlovsky thinks the potential is there for that to happen because of Smith-Njigba joining a receiver room that already has DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and because the Seahawks have a very good “trifecta” at tight end in Noah Fant, Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson.

Orlovksy also is a big fan of what offensive coordinator Shane Waldron was able to do last year with his play-calling in the passing game.

“There were so many built-in free completions in their offense. And Geno did such a disciplined job of taking them that very rarely did he ever feel like he had to force a football,” Orlovsky said. “But almost every time, he felt like he could be aggressive with the football. That’s such a fun world to be in. And it’s such a unique world, the be in mentality-wise.”

If the Seahawks can “replicate that” for Smith, Orlovsky said, then that will help the quarterback avoid needing to force throws but also continue to stay aggressive with his eyes and decision-making.

“I think if they can kind of live in that world again, I could see (the Seahawks improving by a lot),” Orlovsky said. “And if (Smith) does (improve), man, it’ll be a really, really difficult team to beat.”

Listen to the full conversation with Orlovsky at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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