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Why Geno Smith remains frontrunner in Seahawks’ QB competition

By Eric D. Williams
FOX Sports NFC West Writer

Just do not screw it up. 

That seems to be the mindset of Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll as he selects a successor for Russell Wilson, probably the most completed quarterback in franchise historical past. Wilson, in fact, now plies his commerce for the Broncos after the blockbuster offseason deal that despatched him to Denver.

As it stands now, Seattle incumbent Geno Smith remains the frontrunner in a quarterback competition with Drew Lock. That’s largely by default, nonetheless, as Lock was unable to start out the preseason sport on Thursday towards the Chicago Bears. On Tuesday, after working a whole follow with the starters for the primary time this coaching camp, Lock examined optimistic for COVID-19 and should keep house for the following few days.

“It’s disappointing he did not get an opportunity to play tonight,” Carroll mentioned after the 27-11 loss to Chicago. “We had a special plan tonight, and we weren’t in a position to execute it. We could not do something about it. I’m nonetheless curious to see how he performs with us.” 

Carroll went to say that Lock continues to be “actually sick” and that he is hopeful the QB might be cleared and wholesome sufficient to play in Seattle’s ultimate preseason sport subsequent week in Dallas.

This week Smith bought his second preseason begin, and it wasn’t fairly, partially attributable to penalties and a few drops. Overall, Seattle’s offense with the West Virginia product underneath heart was largely ineffective. The Bears staked a 17-0 lead at halftime and gained handily.

Smith performed the whole first half, ending 10-of-18 for 112 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Smith didn’t play in the second half after bruising his proper knee, however Carroll mentioned he must be wonderful. Smith has but to throw a landing cross by means of two preseason video games. 

“Obviously, there is a ton of room for enchancment, and lots of issues we’ve to enhance on very quick,” Smith informed reporters after the sport.

Both quarterbacks had their moments in Seattle’s first preseason sport towards the Pittsburgh Steelers. Smith completed 10-of-15 for 101 yards and led a pleasant scoring drive throughout a 2-minute drill on the finish of the primary half, operating in from two yards out for the rating.

Lock completed 11-of-15 for 102 yards and two landing passes in the second half. However, he didn’t account for strain on the sting throughout the ultimate drive, getting sacked and fumbling. The turnover led to the profitable rating for the Steelers in a 32-25 Seahawks loss.

The sport highlighted the weaknesses of each gamers: Smith’s limitations in creating large performs, and Lock’s proclivity to show the ball over. Of these points, Carroll seems prepared to commerce a scarcity of explosive performs for ball safety, which is among the causes Smith remains QB1.

“I do not even should say that,” Carroll informed reporters when requested which quarterback leads the competition this week. “Geno continues to be our No. 1 man. He’s holding onto his spot at this level.”

FOX Sports draft analyst Rob Rang, who follows the Seahawks intently, says that Smith has earned the chance to be the quarterback to start out the season. But issues might change all year long, relying on how the Hawks carry out in the win column. 

“I believe that Geno Smith wins the job, however I nonetheless consider that Drew Lock is the extra proficient quarterback,” Rang mentioned. “The vital error that led to the sack [in Pittburgh] — shedding the ball and shedding the sport — that is the type of stuff that we have seen with Drew Lock in Denver. 

“But on the similar time, the accuracy is only a evening and day distinction. Drew Lock is the extra gifted passer. But No. 1 for Pete Carroll is defending the staff. Turnovers damage the staff.”

The Seahawks are three weeks away from the season opener, after they host Wilson’s Broncos in his return to Lumen Field. While it might be good to get some further juice from Lock beginning towards his former staff, proper now the Seahawks don’t even know if he’ll be wholesome sufficient to follow subsequent week.

The starting of coaching camp is all about constructing towards the beginning of the common season and getting your frontline gamers able to play. So, it is instructive to think about that in response to experiences, Smith has taken almost all of the reps throughout follow with the starters. 

After transferring on from Wilson, this yr has at all times been about 2023 for the Seahawks, after they have two first-round picks and a possibility to pick out the following franchise quarterback from a bunch that features Alabama‘s Bryce Young and Ohio State‘s C.J. Stroud

For Carroll, Smith has been in this technique for 3 years and understands Seattle’s blueprint for fulfillment: Run the soccer, do not flip the ball over, play good protection and make the essential performs on the finish of the sport.

“With Geno, you understand what you are going to get, so it is simpler to sport plan,” Rang mentioned. “It’s simpler to anticipate what the rating goes to be, so you possibly can higher put together your self for what your opponent may do. 

“Geno Smith and his expertise generally is a little little bit of a safety blanket for Pete Carroll.” 

Even if it did not appear to be it on Thursday.

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, protecting the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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