BROCK AND SALK

The advantage Hawks QB Geno Smith has over Sam Howell

May 10, 2024, 10:04 AM

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith...

Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith warms up prior to a 2023 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks are in a position many NFL aren’t in having two quarterbacks who were full-time starters last year on their 2024 roster.

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Incumbent starter Geno Smith, a two-time Pro Bowler and 2022 NFL comeback player of the year, and third-year QB Sam Howell highlight a room with two capable starters but just one starting position to fill. Smith is the odds-on favorite to reprise his role, but he saw his numbers decline last season after a breakout 2022. Add in the fact that the Seahawks traded draft capital for Howell and had a chance in coaching regimes, including the hiring of new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb from the UW Huskies, and there’s reason to believe Howell could have a shot at taking the job from Smith.

However, there’s one big advantage Smith brings to the table, which former Seahawks quarterback Brock Huard explained Thursday during Blue 88 on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. Huard pointed towards the presence and leadership qualities Smith brings to field, which he views as a key component under Grubb.

“If I know one thing about (offensive coordinator) Ryan Grubb – and this comes from my nephew’s (ex-UW QB Sam Huard) experience there – he’s very demanding of your presence in a good way,” said Brock Huard, who is also a former UW quarterback. “… You look at the guys that Ryan Grubb has called plays for and coordinated, he wants that captain, he wants that presence, and I think that’s the area where Sam Howell has got to grow the most.”

Smith not only brings a presence in terms of leadership, but he’s shown he can be cool under pressure since taking over the starting job in Seattle in 2022. Despite the statistical decline and missing two games last year, Smith led the NFL with five game-winning drives and four fourth-quarter comebacks. Howell had his moments in the clutch last year, as well. He led two fourth-quarter comebacks and game-winning drives.

Ex-scout hopes Seattle Seahawks open up QB competition

“You listen to guys around that program, around the league, (they say) Sam (Howell is) just that kind of easy-going Carolina southerner,” Huard said. “That’s all great. That could be your personality, but I need more, and Ryan Grubb’s going to demand of it. I can’t wait to get out there to some of these mini camps and training camp and just watch, because (Grubb’s) intensity on the practice field.

“Sam (Howell) has the physical toughness, but just the growth in that presence will be an area that’s going to have to escalate if he’s truly gonna genuinely compete with Geno.”

Listen to the full Blue 88 segment at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6-10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More Seattle Seahawks coverage

• How will Riq Woolen fare in ‘ferocious’ Seahawks cornerback battle?
• What Huard keeps hearing about Seahawks coach Macdonald
• A rookie’s impression of Seattle Seahawks’ new coaches from UW
• What improvements Bump wants to see from Seahawks’ JSN
• How will new XFL-style kickoff rules impact Seattle Seahawks?

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