After a decade of Russell Wilson serving as the franchise quarterback in Seattle, the Seahawks are moving on with an open competition.
The primary contenders are Geno Smith and Drew Lock, with Jacob Eason also in the mix.
The competition already has started in the offseason. It will reach a new level when training camp opens. And plenty of clues will be discernible from the manner in which first-team reps are distributed during preseason practices.
On Thursday, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron was asked whether both Smith and Lock will receive first-team reps in camp. Waldron didn’t provide a clear answer.
“I think those are just going to be constant conversations and as we move forward here, finishing up the offseason and getting into training camp, and then it’s something we’ll sit down and discuss and exactly how we want to balance out reps, or to give reps to different guys with different people around,” Waldron said. “And the good thing about this time of year is, we’ve really tried to do a good job, we’ve had the ones and twos, so to speak going, but we’ve had a lot of mixing and matching of different guys getting their chances, not just at the quarterback position, but all throughout our offense. So everyone can have that chance to be with the first group, and get a chance to go with the second group, and mix and match with different people and different teammates throughout the course of the practice.”
Obviously, if either guy gets all or most of the first-team reps, it will be clear that he has emerged as the favorite to face Wilson and the Broncos when Week One rolls around.
What are the Seahawks looking for in a new starter?
“I think really just the overall command of the position, who gives us the best chance to win games when it comes to the fall,” Waldron said. “And right now it’s just a good learning [opportunity] where this time of year where we’re in T-shirts and shorts for them to really build that foundation where they can go into training camp and put themselves in the best positions to compete.”
Waldron was asked to explain what it means to “command the position.”
“Understanding all of our concepts, understanding how the operation works, where all the concepts are intended to attack, understanding of the run game, understanding of the cadence, all the things that go in to putting yourself in position as a quarterback, to make a play,” Waldron said.
The Seahawks also want a quarterback who can make all the throws. Waldron believes that Smith, Lock, and Jacob Eason each possess that quality.
“Their arm talent, they can make every throw in the book,” Waldron said. “They can throw the ‘go’ balls down the field if they need to, they can throw play-action routes as far as you need to throw it. And then, they can also have the ability to make some of the underneath touch throws or the level two throws in that mid-range zone. So, we’ve got three guys that have that arm talent that really keeps the entire playbook wide open.”
And so the competition remains wide open. One of the three will get the job, unless the Seahawks decide to go “none of the above” and bring in an outsider to join the fray.