Minutes after the Seattle Seahawks upset Russell Wilson and his Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football, 17-16, an ESPN reporter asked Geno Smith if he had anything to say to those who doubted him. He had a short but sweet, and most excellent response, I thought.
“They wrote me off, but I didn’t write back.”
I’m a Geno Smith fan now. I know this much about this 2022 Seattle Seahawk season, thus far. I will ride with Geno, and it’s not just about that mike drop he laid with a wry smile.
No, it’s mostly because Geno Smith played a pretty damn solid game against a tough defense, altogether. Nothing flashy, or eye popping. Just solid. I like solid.
In fact, during the first half of ball, he looked pretty damn.. dare I say it.. flawless.
You could feel that he was in full control of Shane Waldron’s offense. I would even go as far to say that, for the first time with Waldron as the offensive coordinator, I felt his passing attack, and Geno looked light years better than anything I saw out of either quarterback in it last year, frankly.
The ball came out as it was supposed to do it, and went right where it needed to be with accuracy. In that, Geno looked poised, taking advantage of what the defense gave in coverage, and in times where protection started to break down, he even extended plays with his legs for big gains. He stayed strong on in the pocket, threw with confidence over the middle, and was impressively accurate.
When Geno Smith is on it, you can see his skills as a passer. The ball comes out quick with a pretty spin. He can look defenders off, and go through his progressions. He can move well, and he can protect the ball. He did this on Monday Night Football, and frankly, he was the better quarterback on the field.
Russell Wilson had his signature Russell Wilson moments. He extended outside a number of times, and hit his open guy down field. He’s still really good at that, but he did troubling things in this game that I’ve noticed him do more of over the past couple years.
He was less elusive under pressure, and he got lucky on an under thrown ball to Jerry Jeudy that the receiver made a tremendous catch and run score on. He had a couple delay of game calls, and was late on a few open receivers. In a tough AFC West conference, if I was a Broncos fan, I would be nervous of this.
Geno Smith, however, was mostly poised, and on time with is throws. Really, it wasn’t until way into the second half where I thought his play came back down to earth a bit by not feeling pressure as well as he was doing earlier in the game, and throwing a couple errant passes when his mechanics might have gotten away from him.
I also think that he wasn’t helped out by a few holding penalties that killed big plays, and became momentum killers, and the fact that Seattle mostly stayed in its typical bend don’t break defensive mode that had Denver’s offense on the field significantly more through the last two quarters of play. Geno and the offense didn’t have enough time in the second half to really keeps things humming because of these factors, I think.
At the end of the game, however, Geno’s final stat line (23 of 28 pass attempts, 195 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs) was the model of efficiency that Pete Carroll desires out of his starting quarterback. He was a good point guard, a solid distributor of the football, and he did what he had to do against a tough Denver Bronco defense by scoring more points than Russell Wilson did. I was impressed.
I was also very wrong in my beliefs in Geno Smith during all of the preseason. I refused to believe that Pete Carroll was really going to make this guy the starter over Drew Lock.
In fact, I never entertained the thought that Geno was really going to be the guy until Pete officially named him the starter after the third preseason game. I just wouldn’t go there with it.
Now, not only am I there, but I think these Seahawks should ride with Geno all the way this year. He might not be the long term answer here at quarterback, but he might honestly be a pretty decent short term solution, and good steadying force for a young squad trying to find itself post Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner.
If he continues to play like this, and build off of it, and miraculously has these Seahawks in playoff contention in December, then I think a serious discussion should be had about bringing him back in 2023, or further even. It would make sense.
Even if Seattle drafts a quarterback next year, a successfully rebooted Geno Smith would be good for any young quarterback sit back and learn from. Clearly, the way Geno was able to successfully look off defenders in this game, and set up where he wanted to go with the ball, he knows a lot about quarterbacking. Chances are that a rookie quarterback next year won’t have that mastered.
Quarterbacking in the NFL is hard, and there’s not exactly a Patrick Mahomes tree for GM’s to pick a quarterback off of, even if they have a top five pick in the NFL draft (see the San Francisco 49ers with Trey Lance). Given that, I think it’s prudent for Seattle to look both at veteran and draft solutions to the position. Right now, in my mind, Geno has played himself into veteran consideration with this positive outing.
After watching Geno play this game against the Russell Wilson Broncos, I am now entertaining the thought that he could be a great guy for that young gun to sit behind, and soak up the knowledge until he’s truly ready; kind of like how Alex Smith was to both Colin Kaepernick and Patrick Mahomes on their respective teams. Before this game, my thoughts were not there with that. Not even close.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. This was just a start to the season, and a lot can happen, good and bad.
For the Seattle Seahawks and Geno Smith, this was a great start, though. They beat the Denver Broncos and the guy who didn’t want to be the franchise quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks any longer (at least under Pete Carroll).
As a fan, I feel fantastic about that, even though it wasn’t always pretty. There were screw ups by both teams, but Seattle prevailed, and they did it by starting two rookies on the offensive line, and a raw rookie corner.
And there were two fantastic goal line stances from the defense in the third quarter that held Denver scoreless. Who doesn’t love that?!
Mostly, I just love that Russell Wilson didn’t win this game, and that he didn’t cook good enough. This isn’t me simply being petty so much as it is me not wanting to see Russ win this year because of the draft haul we will have in 2023 if the Broncos end up with a losing record.
I mean, yeah, sure, I’m petty as a fan. I didn’t love how Russ and his agent dealt with things in Seattle, and started that whole Let Russ Cook thing, undercutting Pete Carroll’s philosophy about how to win games. I also didn’t love how that created a sharp division amongst Seahawk fans.
So, yeah, now that I think about it, I think it’s fucking great that Pete Carroll beat Russell Wilson by playing Pete Ball, and Russell Wilson lost cooking for 340 yards through the air on 42 attempts and still only managed 16 points. I mean, really, if I wanted to be a dick to all these Russell fans who wanted him to air it out more when he was in Seattle, I would point to this more, but I’m just going to move forward.
Pete Carroll was asked in his post game press conference if this win was validating. He dodged the question, likely because he thought it was loaded in terms of Russ and the drama in Seattle, but let me tell you this, as a fan: this win against Russ and Denver was beyond validating. It was super validating.
Here’s some other following side notes of other things I found joyous.
Uchenna Nwosu looked explosive and impactful as a pass rusher. I see why Seattle spent big free agent money on him. I saw this in practice, as well. That’s validating.
I’m happy for Cody Barton, who I thought played a good, validating game by getting key stops and sacking Dangeruss.
I’m happy for Tariq Woolen for getting through his first NFL start at right corner, and staying with it. It was validating watching him flash his rookie potential.
I’m happy for Al Woods continuing to look at a total bad ass at nose tackle even though he’s the same age as President Biden now. He’s validating for all geezers such as myself.
But really, when I think of validation, I think about Pete sticking with Geno as QB1 all preseason and into this game. Apparently, Pete knew more about Geno than the rest of us. Go figure that.
I’m also ecstatic for Geno Smith getting this opportunity on a national stage to possibly salvage his career as an NFL passer, and making the most out of it. This is a fantastic opportunity for him now, and I’m looking forward to rooting him on every week. I hope he balls the F out all season long.
Because, in the end, most of us love a good underdog story, and Geno Smith turning this opportunity into success would be an absolute terrific sports story this year. I want this to happen for him.
We will see, but what a great start by beating Russell Wilson on Monday Night!
Every Seahawk fan should be enjoying this week. I know I will.
Validation is an awesome thing.