It’s been 10 years since the last time the Seahawks have had a quarterback other than Russell Wilson make a start for the the team in a regular season game.
Tarvaris Jackson started the final game of the 2011 season for the Seahawks before Wilson was drafted the following spring. Since then, Wilson has taken almost every meaningful snap for the team in the nine-plus years since he won the starting job in the preseason from Matt Flynn.
But with Wilson on the shelf for at least a month after surgery on an injured finger, Geno Smith will pilot the team for the foreseeable future.
“He loves the fact that he has this chance to help his team,” head coach Pete Carroll said of Smith on Monday. “That’s why he’s been here, for this opportunity when it does arise. I was so proud of him and so happy for him to be able to jump out there and have a chance to take us down there and win a game. We were going down there to win the game and none of us were thinking otherwise.”
Smith has spent the last three years as Wilson’s backup in Seattle. He’s made just two starts in the NFL since losing his starting job with the New York Jets at the end of the 2014 season. He made one last start for the Jets in 2016 that was cut short due to a torn ACL. His last start came with the New York Giants in 2017 when the team decided it was time to end Eli Manning’s 210 consecutive starts streak.
Carroll has been impressed by the way Smith has handled the role laying in wait behind a quarterback who’d never missed a game during his first nine seasons.
“He takes great pride in his work and knowing the details,” Carroll said. “He’s really verbal and really articulate with the football stuff that he needs to know. He’s really sharp with the calls and checks. He’s a really good athlete and has a tremendous throwing arm, he can throw the ball a mile and can throw the ball hard on the move and going in both directions. He scrambles, we saw him the other night. He’s a tough competitor and has good touch too. He throws the ball impeccably well, he has great throwing mechanics, and can make all of the throws.”
Smith replaced WIlson last week in the third quarter. He completed 11 of 17 passes for 131 yards with a touchdown pass to DK Metcalf and an interception late after Tyler Lockett fell down after being tripped. It was a good impression in his first significant action in four years. Next up will be a start against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday.
“What he’s done also is that he’s prepared to play every single week that we have ever been out here. He’s always been prepared to go, always worked hard at it, knew how important it was to do that, and he embraced the role of it. You can see it, look at how sharp he was for jumping in there. He was prepared to do that,” Carroll said.
“Now he gets a chance, and we need him now to come through and play great football. He knows that and this is what he has been preparing for.