Reintroducing Geno Smith: Seahawks backup quarterback starts over – Seattle Seahawks blog

October 16, 2021

RENTON, Wash. – Geno Smith will make his first start since 2017 Sunday night when he replaces the injured Russell Wilson and leads the Seattle Seahawks against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). It will only be his second since 2014.

So it’s no wonder that when the 31-year-old Smith was asked this week how he had grown as a quarterback from his early days to his ninth season in the NFL, he mentioned that he’s more patient now.

“That’s with all things,” Smith said.

It’s true of how he plays quarterback and how he’s had to wait his turn behind three of the longest-running quarterbacks in NFL history: first Eli Manning, then Philip Rivers and now Wilson. Smith would still be waiting were it not for the finger injury Wilson suffered last week against the Los Angeles Rams, which could put him out of the game for the next three games and possibly beyond.

“It means everything,” Smith said, “but it’s not about me, it’s about the team and hanging out together, all as one unit.”

More than anything, it’s about whether Smith can keep the Seahawks’ playoff hopes (2-3) alive until Wilson returns after his Oct. 8 surgery. It is an especially difficult task with your defense fighting and running. Chris carson for the second week in a row.

But Smith’s backstory makes for an interesting subplot in his resurgence in NFL consciousness.

His career with the New York Jets was derailed in the most unusual way. He was about to begin his third season as a starter in the summer of 2015 when a teammate struck him during an altercation in the locker room. It broke Smith’s jaw and cost him his starting job as the Jets held fast. Ryan fitzpatrick when Smith returned two months later.

The next bad break came in October 2016, when Smith replaced an ineffective Fitzpatrick, only to tear his ACL in his first start since 2014.

“It was wonderful for me,” Smith said of his time in New York. “Every time you are faced with adversity, it is an opportunity for you to really show what you are doing and respond. In that moment, looking back, in that moment, was I fully aware of that? Probably not, but how do you continue? And you just grow up, you just see how those things can help you and shape you to be better. I think that’s what it did. “

It looked like Smith would get another extended look as a starter with the New York Giants in 2017. He took over at the end of the year when the team benched Manning, ending his streak of 210 consecutive starts. But the Giants disengaged after one game and went back to Manning, an abrupt and curious move that reeked of backstage politics.

Smith spent 2018 with the Chargers before signing with Seattle in 2019, adding Rivers and Wilson to the list of ironmen he has endorsed. Rivers’ streak of 240 consecutive starts in the regular season is the second-longest among quarterbacks in NFL history, behind Brett Favre (297), according to ESPN Statistics and Information. Manning is third on that list and Wilson sixth (149).

“Sitting here and knowing that I have the ability to play in this league, but not having that opportunity for several years was a test of patience,” Smith said.

He was asked if that patience was harder to maintain given the strange way he lost his first starting job.

“It was tough,” Smith said. “Honestly, it was difficult. I would lie to you if I said it wasn’t difficult. But like I said, I just have that absolute faith in me, my ability, my preparation. And then you have to dig deep. You just have to dig deep and say forget it, man. I’m just going to work. I’m just going to work and be the best that I can be every day, without worrying about outside factors and just doing whatever it takes to improve and be ready for the opportunity. “

Before taking over from Wilson last week, Smith’s playing time with the Seahawks had been a clean-up duty, especially a good showing at the end of a landslide win over the Jets in 2020. With Wilson playing pretty much every game. plays, Smith was best known in Seattle for his heroics as the Seahawks’ designated perpetrator on overtime coin tosses.

That changed when he relieved Wilson in the fourth quarter against the Rams. Smith brought the Seahawks to life when he threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver DK Metcalf, culminating a 98-yard drive in which he hit 5 of 5. Seattle’s hopes were dashed when Smith was intercepted late in the fourth quarter with a throw to receiver. Tyler lockett, who collided with a defender and fell.

The way Smith played last week, plus his talent in the early rounds and 31 career starts, lends some legitimacy to the confidence that head coach Pete Carroll and his teammates have displayed.

“He’s more than ready. I know he’s eager to get things going, eager to get out there and play,” Lockett said. “When you get the chance, shoot, that’s what you’ve been waiting for. So you want to go out there and make it happen. You want to be able to prove to yourself, not just everyone else, that you want to prove to yourself that you can still play, You still belong here, you’re still as cool as everyone saw when you were little, when you were in Morgantown dancing at the Big 12, even when you made it to the League. “

If he does, who knows, maybe Smith could seize the opportunity to get a better job next year as a bridge starter. Or at least an increase from the minimum wage deals you’ve been playing on.

After last week’s game, Smith was asked what he wants to show the NFL if he starts in Pittsburgh.

“I just want to win,” he said. “That’s all that is important. I just want to win.”

ESPN New York Giants reporter Jordan Raanan contributed.