Seahawks QB Geno Smith is better at this than you think

Apr 4, 2024, 11:28 AM

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith Getty 900...

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks attempts a pass during a 2023 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Of the perceived similarities between Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith and former starter Russell Wilson, there’s one that draws the ire of many Seahawks fans: holding on to the football too long.

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But does Smith actually take too long to get rid of the ball? Former NFL wide receiver Michael Bumpus expressed that the narrative should change Wednesday during Four Downs on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.

“How many times was he sacked last year?” asked Bumpus. “Thirty-one times he was sacked. The year before that he was sacked 46 times. So, he’s getting better when it comes to (avoiding sacks).”

Smith did play in two less games this past season, but he still cut down his sacks taken by just over one-half sack (2.7 to 2.1) per game. Smith was sacked on just 5.8% of his dropbacks in 2023, which was ninth-best in the NFL, compared to 7.4% in 2022.

Smith also stacks up favorably to Wilson. The ex-Seahawk was sacked a league-high 55 times and on 10.2% of dropbacks over 15 games during his first season with the Denver Broncos in 2022. Wilson’s numbers slightly improved this season, but he still took 45 sacks at a 9.1% rate.

“People want to harp on Geno holding onto the football, taking these sacks,” Bumpus said. “I look at the stats, I go, ‘he’s getting better.’”

Smith’s improvements came during a season in which the Hawks faced injury issues and were constantly shuffling their offensive line. Just three offensive linemen played more than 75% of the team’s snaps. One was left tackle Charles Cross, who missed three of the team’s first four games. And right tackle was a revolving door all season due to Abraham Lucas’ knee injury.

“You go ahead and get yourself a Troy Fautanu (in the draft) and move him to the guard. You go ahead and bring these veteran linemen in to help Geno with this offensive line, and the stats say he’s probably going to get better,” Bumpus said. “So yes, you look at Geno, he held the football at times. People yelling he’s taking unnecessary sacks, he’s getting better at that. And that’s with a line that was mixed up.”

Bumpus added: “I think we can pump the brakes just a little bit when it comes to Geno holding the rock.”

Listen to Bump and Stacy weekdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Seattle Sports 710 AM or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app. Listen to the full conversation at the this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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