ESPN’s Adam Schefter sizes up Seahawks’ QB situation

Jun 6, 2024, 6:13 PM

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith Titans 2023...

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks looks to pass against the Titans in 2023. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks are in the unique situation of having two quarterbacks on their roster who were full-time starters last year.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter views Seahawks ‘as a playoff contender’

Geno Smith is the clear-cut favorite to start again this fall after resurrecting his career in Seattle over the past two seasons. During recent Seahawks OTA practices that were open to the media, the 33-year-old Smith appeared to take all of the first-team reps, as expected. But Seattle also has an intriguing prospect in 23-year-old Sam Howell, who started all 17 games with the Washington Commanders last season before the Seahawks acquired him in a March trade.

Seattle also is reportedly planning to add free agent backup P.J. Walker as a third quarterback ahead of next week’s mandatory minicamp.

During an appearance on Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Wednesday, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter weighed in on the Seahawks’ quarterback situation.

“I think that they believe in Geno,” Schefter said. “I think he’s given the first opportunity. I think he essentially has impressed so far during OTAs. He knows the players. He’s worked with the wide receivers. I think that gives him an advantage.

“But I also think that Sam Howell is somebody that they’ve liked for an awful long time. And Sam Howell is a guy who, when you talk to people around the league, they believe in his abilities and talent and I think the Seahawks did as well. And I remember his name coming up within that organization last season during the year as a guy that they were intrigued with. And I think that they continue to be intrigued by the guy.”

After starting just five games between 2015 and 2021, Smith earned AP Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2022 with a breakout season that saw him lead the NFL in completion percentage and finish seventh in ESPN’s QBR metric. Smith’s production declined a bit last year, but he still finished 14th in QBR, even while playing behind an offensive line that was decimated by injuries. Over his two seasons as Seattle’s starter, he completed 67.4% of his passes for 7,906 yards, 50 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.

Howell, meanwhile, was a fifth-round draft pick out of North Carolina in 2022. After playing just one game as a rookie in 2022, he won the starting job in Washington last season and attempted more passes than any other quarterback in the NFL. He threw for 3,946 yards and 21 TDs, while adding 263 yards and five scores on the ground. However, he also threw a league-high 21 interceptions, was sacked a league-high 65 times and logged just a 63.4% completion rate.

Smith and Howell squared off last season in the Seahawks’ 29-26 win over the Commanders in Week 9. Smith threw for 369 yards, two TDs and no interceptions in the back-and-forth contest, while Howell threw for 312 yards, three TDs and no interceptions. The two quarterbacks traded blows during an action-packed fourth quarter, which Smith capped by driving Seattle downfield for a game-winning field goal as time expired.

“It’s up to Sam Howell to come in there and show that he’ll be better than Geno Smith, who I think does have the respect of his teammates and the organization,” Schefter said. “And (some) people may not think much of him, but I thought he was very solid when he stepped in and was given the opportunity. And here’s a guy who’s been denied an opportunity throughout his career, and when he finally got one, I thought he made the most of it.”

Listen to the full conversation with Adam Schefter at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Wyman and Bob weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More Seattle Seahawks coverage

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