One of the intriguing quarterback battles playing out this pre-season comes from the Pacific Northwest, as Drew Lock and Geno Smith are vying for the starting job in Seattle with the Seahawks.
Returning to the team after a brief stint with COVID, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told the media that the veteran Smith is still “leading” that competition in Seattle:
Geno (Smith) continues to be on top. He’s ahead. He’s been in the lead for all of the obvious reasons and he’s holding on to it and doing a really good job of battling.
However, Carroll conceded that it was still early in the process. “We need reps, we need turns to see more situations to really find any reason to see a difference between the guys. There’s just not enough stuff yet.”
Part of the reason Smith is leading right now? His experience with the system. This is his second season in Seattle, and as such it is his second year working with offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. Carroll hinted at this when speaking with the media on Friday:
He handles the system, he’s making the checks at the line of scrimmage, he’s able to control the protections in working with (center) Austin (Blythe). Those guys are hitting it really well. And he’s just really talented. He’s made great throws every day.
As for what Lock can do to win the job, eliminating mistakes is atop the list. Carroll discussed a play from Wednesday’s practice that saw the younger quarterback force a throw across the field late in the down:
I’m really glad that play happened in the first practice, because that was as bad a play as you could make. It was so obvious it was like, “OK, that’s the example of what we’re never going to do again.”
The fact that Smith has a legitimate shot at winning the job should not come as a surprise. Earlier this summer we walked readers through the traits that could lead to the veteran winning the job, as well as some of the areas where Lock still needed to develop as a passer.
The next big test for the two comes on Saturday, August 6th, as the Seahawks hold their annual mock game at Lumen Field. That is the next step in the evaluation process, and as Carroll noted, neither has truly seized the job just yet. “I’m still looking for them to really command it and really own it,” Carroll said.