Watching the final pre-season game makes me more convinced than ever that this is what they’ll do.
Geno Smith has been named the starter almost by default. Look at his pre-season. He has played in three games and delivered just one touchdown drive. That’s despite playing two whole halves of football against Pittsburgh and Chicago’s backups.
In this game against Dallas, they even gave him Tyler Lockett to try and get something working. Yet it still ended with a back-breaking sack leading to a field goal.
Sam Williams, just as he did in college, had Charles Cross’ lunch money. Yet some of the blame goes to the quarterback. He took an age to get rid of the ball. That play easily could’ve knocked them out of field goal range. He had to get rid of the football.
He also has a knack for wandering into trouble when he panics in the pocket.
That was him done for the night and the pre-season. A thoroughly mediocre, fairly miserable experience for anyone who witnessed it.
I continue to believe that the New Orleans game last season, rather than the Jacksonville one, is the reality of a Smith-led offense. And I think the Seahawks know it too.
As the ‘leader in the clubhouse’ in this quarterback race, Smith hasn’t had to press. It was clear in this game that Drew Lock felt he had to do something drastic and it led to mind-numbing errors.
Lock deserves criticism — especially for the second pick. Yet I couldn’t help but feel like he was set up for a night like this. Despite Carroll’s insistence to the contrary — Smith has had the vast bulk of the training camp snaps with the #1 offense. Lock’s untimely illness meant he played in one fewer pre-season game too.
Smith has been able to play ‘not to lose the job’. If the Seahawks are looking for someone to do the basics, how was Lock ever going to show that from his second-ranked position? If he’d played a safe old game of football against Dallas, he wasn’t winning the gig. He knew he had to shine and go above and beyond.
It’d be very easy to suggest this has been no serious competition. And for that reason, I’m inclined to give Lock some sympathy for what happened as he made ill-advised throws and pressed like crazy.
However, he blew any hopes of starting with that performance. It was ugly. It was exactly what he showed at Missouri and Denver. He is wildly erratic — capable of brilliant throws and torturous mistakes.
Smith isn’t good enough. Lock is too erratic. All signs point to them going after Garoppolo to see if he can produce more than Smith is capable of.
I know the replies to this article will be calls to simply ‘suck with Smith’ for a draft pick. As also noted earlier in the week — I am comfortable with that but I’m not sure Carroll can afford that. If the Seahawks start badly against Denver, the pressure ramps up. His legacy comes into question. He’ll be portrayed as the man who ran the franchise quarterback out of town and then produced an appalling product.
If they continue to play poorly — and if Russell Wilson excels with the Broncos — that noise will grow even more.
The Seahawks do not communicate well with their fans. The owner never speaks. Carroll has spent months insisting this isn’t a rebuild — when all he had to do was be honest to fans. The team has traded a franchise legend (and cut another). The aim is to compete like crazy in 2022 but admittedly, this is a process that will require a bit of time (and some patience).
Carroll’s words — no rebuild, ‘we have two #1 quarterbacks’, ‘Lock is really good’, ‘Geno Smith was awesome when he started last year’, ‘the two quarterbacks have had the same number of reps/opportunities in camp’ — has felt like another example, sadly, of insulting our intelligence.
It’s on a par with ‘the Wilson trade talk is a media creation’ from a year ago — followed by telling the local media over and over again it was a non-story, thus making people look silly when the trade eventually happened.
It’ll be interesting to see if the members of the media impacted by that will be less inclined to sympathise with the Seahawks if this season goes south.
Can’t we just have a bit of honesty from Carroll for once? I feel like I’ve been listening to a desperate politician for too long. I’m ready for some straight talking. I’m ready, as a fan, to be treated with a bit of respect.
That doesn’t mean coming out and announcing, ‘yeah, we’re trash’. There are ways and means of handling this beyond the nonsense (‘we have two #1 QB’s’) that we’ve heard so far.
Because this looks, to me, like a team that is going to really struggle in 2022. I say that while also believing there’s a good chance for some typical NFL magic in week one against Denver. If that game was being played in week six, I think Denver wins at a canter. Kudos to the NFL for making it week one — increasing the chances of an upset win, in front of a jacked-up crowd.
Regardless, this team looks bad. People inclined to not hear any criticism of the Seahawks ever (and they are back out in force, sadly) will say it’s pre-season, it’s premature etc.
I think we can tell. I think they are scrambling around trying to piece this together. They have treated pre-season differently to other teams — keeping starters on the field for longer for the purpose of figuring things out. Yes — other key names have been rested. But there’s been a competitive element — an importance — to this pre-season in Seattle that other teams simply didn’t have in 2022.
And the Seahawks have been rubbish.
I think the best case scenario for this team is a 2011-style rough start and strong finish — which would be fine but isn’t a given.
And again — I’m comfortable with a bad year to gain draft position. I am, however, unsure whether I want to endure two or three more years of Carroll just because it’s convenient for the owners before a sale. It just feels like this is a franchise that needs a fresh start. I think this pre-season, and this QB competition, shows that.
I’ll happily admit if I’m wrong when the season starts.
I think Carroll knows he has to show some positivity on the field to keep the fans on board. And that’s why I think Garoppolo arrives next week, with the objective of replacing Geno Smith if/when he produces mediocre results.
It might not make them a good team. But it might help them avoid being terrible. And that’s probably what they want — to get into the 2023 draft without completely collapsing into a 3-4 win franchise.
My other thoughts on the Dallas game are limited to these notes:
— Myles Adams needs to make the team. He’s been very disruptive in pre-season and looks like a heck of a player. A good find and well done to Clint Hurtt and the staff for helping him reach a new level in pre-season.
— The depth at receiver is shocking. I think they spent their money very poorly in free agency and a better WR3 was required. This will likely be a draft priority again next year, I sense.
— Abraham Lucas is the real deal. It was ridiculous he lasted to round three. What an absolute steal for the Seahawks and an inspired selection.
— Alton Robinson has flashed enough to again make you question — what the heck have they been doing with this guy for the last couple of years?
— The depth on this team is concerning. They are a Jordyn Brooks injury, for example, away from catastrophe at linebacker (in my opinion). It just feels like a front heavy roster with some young talent we hope develops — then not a lot else.
— Does anyone else just think this is going to be another year where the Seahawks don’t make the most of their tight ends?
Anyway, roll on the real football. I’ve got an article coming up looking at my favourite non-QB draft prospects for 2023 (with notes on a few other players too). So stay tuned for that on Monday.
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