Seahawks Injuries: Where things stand with Geno, Adams, Witherspoon

Dec 19, 2023, 11:17 AM | Updated: 11:29 am

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith...

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 18, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Things got a little weird before the Seattle Seahawks’ Monday night win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Next Day: How Seattle Seahawks got big win, boosted playoff hopes

Starting quarterback Geno Smith was questionable to play due to a groin injury, which caused him to be inactive last week. Smith worked out before the game and did enough to be active. But that wasn’t enough to start and play.

The Seahawks didn’t announce the starter at quarterback before the game, and the result was Drew Lock getting his second start in a row. And while he and the offense scuffled for most of the game, Lock led the Seahawks on a 92-yard touchdown drive with under 2 minutes remaining to get the win.

And Lock didn’t start over Smith because there’s any quarterback controversy. Head coach Pete Carroll made it clear after the game that Smith is the Seahawks’ starting quarterback.

So what went into the decision to start Lock over Smith despite the latter being active? Carroll discussed that and other notable injury situations during his weekly Pete Carroll Show on Seattle Sports.

“If you guys are stewing over this and trying to figure it out, let me just tell you exactly what happened,” Carroll said on Tuesday.

Please do.

“Geno was not able to go hard in practice during the week. Because he had tweaked a little bit of something the week before, we just wanted to save him for as long as we could and give him as much recovery time as possible,” Carroll said.

That meant Smith did “a minimal amount of work” during practice this week, Carroll said, and Lock got “the bulk” of reps in practice.

“We led all the way up to gametime to use as much time as possible to see how far he could come back. He looked great in pregame,” Carroll said. “… But he still hadn’t had the opportunity to go full speed running and really show it. And all of the trainers and the (doctors) wanted him to get another week (of rest) if he could get it. It was a total gut-wrenching conversation because he looked better than we thought he would look in pregame. We just didn’t know what to expect.”

Ultimately, Smith was well enough that he could suit up and be used in an emergency if both Lock and backup Sean Mannion got hurt.

Smith, who Carroll has said is a fierce competitor and a “freaking warrior,” really wanted to play.

“It was really hard on him because he wanted to play. He worked out hard and he was ready to go and he wanted to get out there,” Carroll said. “So it was gut-wrenching, but we had to talk through it and we stuck to our guns and protected him.”

“He would have gone in in a heartbeat … He’s selling his soul to me,” Carroll later said. “But we had to tell him the hard news. Fortunately it worked out. He was awesome about it. It took him a while to get through it and then he got back out there and was cheering for Drew and helping him throughout the game and he was a beautiful competitor in the way he could be.”

Carroll said he wanted Smith to play if he could, and that was part of why no decision was made about the starter until right before the game started.

“I’m thinking in the locker room, ‘We can play Geno now, we can do it and see what could happen,’ and everybody’s looking at me like, ‘It’s not the right thing. Give him another week and he’ll be at his best,'” Carroll said. ” … I fought it all the way up until (gametime) because I wanted him to play, too. I wanted him to get out there and battle like he wants to … But in the end of it all, the decision was let’s take care of him one more time and see if we can make it through.”

So what does this week of practice and next week’s game against the Tennessee Titans look like?

“(Smith is) going to practice all this week and play in the game and away we go,” Carroll said. ” … He might have done great (if he played on Monday), but at least we bought him another week and now he’s ready to go. He’ll have a full week of prep.”

Carroll later added that Smith “is going” and is on track to start in Tennessee.

“He showed us that he can go until he can’t right now. We’ll try to build up some endurance and just some stability in his movements and stuff. He needs that,” Carroll said. ” … This week will be great for him.”

Adams out again

Jamal Adams missed his fifth game of the year on Monday due to a knee injury after being listed as questionable to suit up.

Unlike Smith, who was seen on the sidelines during the game, Adams was not at Lumen Field according to his head coach.

“I think he was home. It was hard on him,” Carroll said. “And we talked about it and how he was going to deal with it, and he didn’t need to be there.”

Adams missed all but one game last year with a quad injury, and that played a role in him missing three games to open the 2023 season as well as two other contests.

“It’s been so difficult on him. He has not been able to get all the way where he’s got everything feeling right,” Carroll said. “We’ve been working with him all season, working the recovery versus the preparation mode and it’s been hard. It’s just a very, very difficult injury and he’s doing everything he can.”

Carroll said Adams and Smith both have a “warrior mentality,” and stressed that Adams really wanted to play on Monday.

“I think I feel them so close that it kills me to have to talk to them about stuff when we have to make those kinds of decisions. But in the long run of it, if we can fight through and use the instincts and the wisdom and all the information that we have, maybe we can make good decisions,” Carroll said. “I’m not saying we’re always right … People don’t understand on the outside how big a deal this is to hese young men. And I’m right there with them and sweating it out and crying it out and whatever it takes to get through these times. And it just breaks your heart to see guys have to miss their chance to play their game because of an injury and an issue.”

Carroll does think Adams will be able to play on Sunday after not playing on Monday.

“I think this is going to maximize his chance to finish the season,” Carroll said. “I think he’s going to be ready to crank it up. And this is a hard-nosed, physical running football team. We need him, so I hope he feels good about it.”

Witherspoon’s status unclear

Adams wasn’t the only notable defensive back who was out with an injury on Monday.

Standout rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon was out with a hip injury he suffered in last week’s loss in San Francisco.

“I mean, for Spoon not to play that game, it killed him. It killed him to not be able to play,” Carroll said. “But he couldn’t. And it’s going to be hard this week, too. He’s got an injury that really bothered him, so we’ll see if he can make it back.”

When asked more about whether Witherspoon can return, Carroll said “we don’t know.”

“He might make a big flip right here. We understand the injury and all that, it’s just that he’s really been hurting,” Carroll said. ” … We’d love to get him back.”

Listen to this week’s Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

‘He deserved it’: Seattle Seahawks rally around Lock, who delivers epic game-winner
• Behind Lock’s game-winning TD for Seattle Seahawks was Geno’s support
• Seahawks Instant Reaction: A chaotic comeback beats Eagles
• Watch: Drew Lock leads Seattle Seahawks over Eagles with 92-yard TD drive

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