The Seattle Seahawks Have Made a Mess out of Their QB Room in 2022 – Bleacher Report

The Seattle Seahawks have had an uninspiring quarterback competition, which is partially their fault. Regardless of the team’s decision on the starter, Seahawks fans should prepare for a dreadful 2022 season.
In March, Seattle traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos after the relationship between the star quarterback and head coach Pete Carroll had run its course, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said on The Rich Eisen Show. Seattle acquired five draft picks, tight end Noah Fant, defensive end Shelby Harris and quarterback Drew Lock in that deal.
Lock looks like the least valuable player asset in that deal after he lost a camp battle to Teddy Bridgewater last offseason and finished in defeat in all three of his starts for the 2021 campaign. However, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler noted that the Seahawks saw him as a potential starter who needed a new stable environment.
“I’m told the team did not consider Lock a throw-in in the Wilson trade, but rather a viable fallback option. There’s a belief among some with Seattle that some of Lock’s issues in Denver were a byproduct of a revolving door of offensive coordinators and a defensive-minded head coach in Vic Fangio.”
Though the changes in offensive play-calling coupled with a defensive-minded head coach may have stunted Lock’s development, he’s now on a team that’s had three different offensive coordinators over the past five years under Carroll, who’s a lead skipper with a defensive background.
Throughout the offseason, Seattle has treated Lock as plan B behind Geno Smith, who’s spent two years with the team. In 2021, the latter played four games (three starts) as a fill-in for Wilson, throwing for 702 yards, five touchdowns and an interception with a 68.4 percent completion rate.
On the surface, Smith’s numbers look OK, but he completed fewer than 60 percent of his pass attempts in two of those outings and didn’t eclipse 209 passing yards in any of the four contests.
Despite Smith’s game-manager performance in an audition and the fact that he has only started in five games since the 2015 term, the Seahawks never really had an even competition for the starting job.
Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune believes the Seahawks narrowed their focus to Smith’s benefit:
Said it weeks ago: Can't understand why Pete Carroll didn't alternate Drew Lock with Geno Smith on the 1st offense from day 1 of training camp. Seahawks needlessly compressed their own QB competition. It's still not a true one. Lock's still sick, 7 days before preseason finale.
Carroll named Lock the starter for Seattle’s Week 2 preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears, but shortly after, the team announced that he tested positive for COVID-19, which meant he had to quarantine for a mandatory five days.
As a result, the fourth-year signal-caller didn’t have a chance to showcase himself in a pivotal game amid a position battle. However, had the Seahawks evenly distributed the practice reps throughout the offseason, they would’ve been able to better assess Lock’s growth within their system.
On Tuesday, Carroll told reporters that he thinks the team has two No. 1 quarterbacks, but that’s not how the coaching staff handled the competition. Setting Lock’s illness aside, the Seahawks made it clear that Smith had to lose a grip on the lead for the starting job in order for his primary contender to win it.
Lock returned to practice Sunday, though on The Mike Salk Show (h/t Michael-Shawn Dugar), Carroll announced that Smith would start in his third consecutive preseason game Friday against the Dallas Cowboys.
Smith hasn’t made a strong case for himself in two exhibition contests. He’s yet to throw for a touchdown, completing 20 of 33 pass attempts for 213 yards, though he did score a rushing touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 of the preseason. Meanwhile, as a backup in one appearance, Lock completed 11 of 15 pass attempts for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
In fairness to Smith, the Seahawks hurt themselves with penalties (13 for 92 yards) and drops in their last outing with the Bears. In the postgame press conference with reporters, Carroll highlighted missed opportunities in the passing game.
We have to catch the ball better in general. The guys that are trying to make this club have got to catch the football for us and make our plays. And it happened a little bit to Geno again, couple of balls that we need to catch. The first third down was a beautiful read and play and protection and all that, didn’t make the catch.”
Moreover, Seattle’s top wide receivers, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, have yet to play a snap in the preseason. The coaching staff will probably rely heavily on practice performances to make a decision on the starter, which is a disadvantage for Lock, who operated the second-team offense for most of the offseason.
Metcalf told reporters that he’s “supposed to play” against the Cowboys Friday and get some work in with Smith and Lock. Nonetheless, as the backup, Lock may not be able to show enough to surpass Smith, who would probably have to produce an awful performance to fall out of favor for the lead position.
In hindsight, Lock hasn’t had a fair opportunity to work through his shortcomings and improve with mostly premium talent on the field, and Smith doesn’t look any better than the game manager we saw in spot duty for a few games in 2021.
Unless the San Francisco 49ers feel exceptionally generous or Seattle shows desperation and proposes a ridiculous offer for Jimmy Garoppolo in an atypical in-division trade that involves a quarterback, the Seahawks will likely roll into the season with an underwhelming starter in Smith.
Seattle would have a more realistic chance at Garoppolo if San Francisco cuts him. But even with Trey Lance set to take over the 49ers offense, they have no reason to part ways with the experienced 30-year-old signal-caller right now. If a playoff-contending team loses its quarterback early in the season, that club’s general manager may call San Francisco with a decent offer for Garoppolo.
Meanwhile, in Seattle, Lock has room to grow at 25 years old. However, before he had to quarantine because of COVID-19, his development took a backseat to Smith, who’s 31 years old with 34 career starts, in a “true competition.”
Lock has the arm strength to stretch the field, but he must work on his ball placement and cut down on turnovers. He’s thrown for 25 touchdowns and 20 interceptions (led the league in 2020 with 15) with a 59.3 percent completion rate through three campaigns.
Perhaps Lock would’ve shown some improvement with the quality of pass-catchers around him. Metcalf, Lockett and Fant can elevate a quarterback with their playmaking abilities. Metcalf and Fant both have a broad catch radius, and Lockett has made incredible catches in tight spaces.
Publicly, Carroll kept an open mind and emphasized his patience when he discussed the Seahawks’ quarterback battle with reporters Tuesday.
Though assuming Smith continues to hold on to his starting role, he’ll have a second (and possibly final chance) to prove himself as a starter while Lock works on his game with backups at practices.
Typically, NFL teams have quarterback battles to give contenders the opportunity to win the starting job. Smith may win the Seahawks’ competition by default—not necessarily in a convincing fashion. Don’t be surprised if Carroll turns to Lock at some point in the upcoming season.
Maurice Moton covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.
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