Geno Smith is heading into the 2022 season as the Seattle Seahawks' starting quarterback.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll named Smith the starter for Week 1 of the regular season following the team's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Friday night.
Smith was seemingly the frontrunner throughout the quarterback competition with Drew Lock and after Lock threw three interceptions Friday, Carroll made the announcement to begin his postgame news conference.
“He's going to start the opener, and he's earned it, he's won the job,” Carroll said. “With the timeframes, it got messed up for us for Drew, he just ran out of time in making his bid for it. And so yeah, I'm cool about that, so I just want to let you know, so everybody knows, do you don't have to ask me about it anymore. In the meantime, Drew's going to keep on battling because he can play, and he's got all kinds of stuff in him, and I want him to be ready at a moment's call. And he's going to keep growing and pushing and developing as a fantastic player and I have no problem playing with him, too. So, we're fortunate to have two guys who can go, and when he comes off the bench, if he gets his chance he'll be ready to go and try to light it up.”
The 31-year-old Smith is getting a second shot at starting just shy of a decade after the New York Jets selected him in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Smith started 30 games over four seasons with Gang Green, but ultimately didn't pan out. Now, entering his third season with the Seahawks, he'll debut as the team's regular-season starter on a huge prime-time stage Sept. 12 when Seattle hosts the Denver Broncos and quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson was a nine-time Pro Bowler and one-time Super Bowl winner with the Seahawks over the past 10 years, with Smith serving as his backup the last two.
“You know it means a lot, it's something that I've been preparing for, and the reality is that it's just step one, it's just the beginning and I've got to make sure that I'm ready to go out there and win and play 17 games and more,” Smith said of being named the starter. “So for me, I'm grateful, thankful, forever indebted to the Seattle Seahawks organization, but it's time to get to work.”
Smith started three games for Seattle last season in relief of an injured Wilson. That was the beginning of a head start in his competition with Lock, who was acquired by the club in the trade that sent Wilson to Denver.
Having been the leader in the clubhouse throughout the QB battle, Smith essentially solidified the job on Friday from the bench.
Lock has more upside in the playmaking department, but as he showed against the Cowboys, far more downside. His second pass of the night was a bad ball right to Dallas' Israel Mukuamu for the first of his three picks. Smith got the start, but just one series. He unspectacularly went 3 of 6 for 43 yards and led Seattle to a field goal. Lock, who had a costly fumble in Week 1 of the preseason that led to a Seahawks loss to the Steelers, had his good plays, but the bad ones clearly grabbed more notice from Carroll.
“Geno just knows our stuff and he does really really well and he understands it and he can manage everything that we're doing, and he's good with the football,” Carroll said. “He'll give us the best chance to be playing great football right off the bat.”
As Carroll referenced, Lock had some bad luck, too. He was slated to start the team's second preseason game, but tested positive for COVID-19.
Earlier in the week, Carroll said he had no timeline for making a decision, but by the end of Friday night, it was clear to him that it's Geno's time going forward.
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