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Geno Smith: Needs Help!
The Seahawks are not that far from the top of the conference actually: Seaside Joe 1515
Where does Geno Smith rank among NFC quarterbacks? It’s smart to remember what the answer to that question would have been going into last season and to not be overly confident that we know how the year is going to play out. Not only did Geno turn his life around in less than six months of action, but the Eagles were seriously considering a trade for Russell Wilson to replace Jalen Hurts last winter.
Now every team supposedly wants to draft the next Hurts, if not sign the next Geno.
In 2024, the media’s attention could be on “the next Desmond Ridder” or “the next Trey Lance” or “the next Sam Howell”. When will it be time for “the now” player? Not today. Because today, I will at least attempt to assess where the Seahawks stand with Geno and I don’t feel like his ranking in the conference has actually changed that much. It was last April 15th that I wrote about either Geno or Drew Lock having the ability to be a top-20 quarterback…because there are always going to be at least a dozen replaceable ones.
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They didn’t have to become stars to become capable and I don’t feel much different about Geno now than I did last April. I’d say that the NFL is mostly in agreement, because Geno got $27.3 million guaranteed at signing on his latest contract; that’s $4 million less than the franchise tag. Hurts got $110 million guaranteed at signing.
Where Geno ranks in the NFC today is not about a single number, but a single bucket. I would not say that there is one particularly great quarterback in the conference, with the top-four (Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Aaron Rodgers), if not the top-five (Justin Herbert), if not the top-six (Trevor Lawrence), if not the top-seven (Deshaun Watson) all currently residing in the AFC.
The AFC’s next tier of quarterbacks (Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tua Tagovailoa, Ryan Tannehill, Mac Jones, Kenny Pickett) bares an interesting comparison to the NFC’s top tier of quarterbacks (Hurts, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones, Derek Carr, Geno).
It’s because of that comparison that I understand the Panthers’ willingness to trade a 2024 first round pick and D.J. Moore to go up for QB1 in this draft. Forget Mahomes and Burrow, if a team in the NFC can say in two years that they have someone like Herbert or Lawrence, they could be perennial participators in the NFC Championship game, at least.
We saw what it did for the Bucs and Rams when they added Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford to ready-made rosters. We saw what it meant for the Eagles when they were only tasked with beating Daniel Jones and Brock Purdy to reach the Super Bowl. There’s a lot of “Rah-Rah” for Hurts right now (I can’t tell you how many times in the last month that I’ve heard someone mention that Jalen Hurts was benched in the national championship game, but it’s a higher number than his total of touchdown throws last season), but would there be any conversation about him if he played for an AFC team?
This isn’t criticism of the player, it’s an observation that I think is impossible to dispute. In the AFC, Allen, Lamar, and Herbert have combined for zero Super Bowl appearances. Burrow has slayed Mahomes only once. Watson has a career 1-2 playoff record. Wilson’s career died. Russ, not Zach. But also Zach.
Am I to understand that if Hurts played for the Indianapolis Colts that he would have gone to the Super Bowl last year? Or the Steelers, Patriots, Jets, Titans, Raiders. You can name it, it won’t change it.
In the NFC, it was a relatively short road that eventually even included an appearance by Josh Johnson in the championship game.
I sympathize with fans who argue that most of these QBs have not had much time to reach a Super Bowl yet. Fair. But is it also fair to say that Herbert (0-1 playoff record through three seasons) could have already made at least one deep playoff run if he played for the Vikings or Saints or 49ers? Could Lawrence, in year two, have put up a fight against the Eagles in the NFC playoffs with a solid supporting cast?
I think so.
Is this a plea for Seattle to draft a quarterback? No. Unrelated to Thursday’s events. It’s an observation I am making in an attempt to step away from the DRAFT EXHAUSTION that I think has set in for most of us through this arduous process. Where does Geno Smith rank among his NFC counterparts?
I think there’s good news and bad news related to that.
ELITE - 0 names
“Oh no, you don’t think Jalen Hurts is elite? You must be Cynicism Incarnate!”
I try not to overthink any single season. Let’s see what happens next year.
Level II - Jalen Hurts, Matt Stafford
I don’t know what else to call this tier, so I’m calling it “Level II” which just feels right. And I’m not even sure I know enough about Stafford’s situation right now to really judge. I do feel that if he plays for the Rams, he’ll be as bad as he was last season. That’s where we’re at in the NFC.
Good Enough, Maybe - Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins, Kyler Murray (ACL), Daniel Jones, Brock Purdy (Elbow), Jared Goff, Derek Carr, Geno Smith
This is now where we live in the NFC. The Cardinals will probably start Colt McCoy for half, if not all of the season. The 49ers will probably start Sam Darnold for half, if not all of the season.
Your Futures Are Unclear - Panthers QB (Bryce Young, we think), Desmond Ridder, Jordan Love, Sam Howell, Justin Fields, Bucs QB
This is why and where I don’t rule out the Falcons, Packers, Bucs, and Moons drafting a quarterback in the first round, potentially after trading up. I’m not going to put Fields in the “good enough, maybe” category, I would actually say that I’m more skeptical of his ability to pass the ball well or avoid a sack than I am Love, Ridder, or Howell because at least we don’t know what’s going to happen with them yet. Fields has 25 starts on record and he was as bad throwing the ball in his first game as he was in his most recent.
But whether you are Fields, Young, Ridder, or Geno, there’s good news: The road to Tier II is not paved in booby traps.
The Bad News
Let’s start with the bad so that we end on a good note. Geno was fine in 2022, but the further we get away from the season, the easier it is to fall for the premise that he was “good” because people tend to look at the macro (30 touchdowns, playoffs, Pro Bowl, new contract) and not the micro (taking a lot of sacks, drive-killing moments, underwhelming production in the red zone, interception luck caught up to him by the end of the year).
The negatives hold Geno back from becoming a great quarterback, they probably aren’t going to drastically change, and I do worry a little that he won’t take ownership of his faults just based on his reactions to criticism.
I firmly believe that “good enough, maybe” is a fair tier for Geno and that Lock could carry a similar value, if given the opportunity.
The Good News
Speaking of “Not a real stat”, going to the Pro Bowl is not a real stat. Just ask Tyler Huntley. “Who’s that?” He’s a Pro Bowl quarterback. “From what decade?” From this year. “Oh, did he play like Brock Purdy or something?” No!
Now, Huntley plays in the AFC, not the NFC, but the point is that there isn’t a huge leap to be made for Geno—an NFC Pro Bowl quarterback—to reach Tier II or the top of “Good Enough” in the conference. I have Stafford in Tier II and a lot of that is recency bias. He might not even be in the NFC this year and he could be legitimately finished as a pro quarterback already.
The “good news” is that in spite of his flaws, Geno or Lock could be good enough to get the Seahawks into the NFC Championship. We know that the Rams aren’t going to make a playoff run, so somebody needs to emerge to challenge Philadelphia for the Super Bowl and right now Seattle is as good of a bet as any.
I think there’s also something to be said for Geno having such a long break in between starts in the NFL and playing an 18-game season including playoffs that he may have simply been worn out by December. Perhaps he could have a peak season in 2023. He might be worse, but he might be better. If it’s a 50/50 bet, that’s still a 50% proposition that Geno Smith will be better.
So what are the Seahawks to do?
Keep building it. What do 2020 Brady, 2021 Stafford, and 2022 Hurts actually have in common? They were on great teams.
Last offseason, the Seahawks got two new starting tackles, a new running back, a new tight end, a new receiver, and a new center. Two of those names are gone (Austin Blythe, Marquise Goodwin), but only because they’re replaceable. But Charles Cross, Ken Walker, Abe Lucas, and Noah Fant could all be better versions of themselves next season.
That’s FOUR offensive upgrades in a year, plus DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Will Dissly. So where does Seattle view their next opportunity to upgrade? Because they spent most of their money on defense, with only Evan Brown added to the offense thus far. We aren’t even sure that Brown will start.
There are huge opportunities to get a third receiver, a complement to Walker (DeeJay Dallas is the only other true RB on the roster), a new interior offensive lineman, and a high ceiling tight end. I don’t believe that an opportunity to try and get one of those players should be ignored on Thursday.
In the previous three offseasons, the Eagles added Hurts, DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, Landon Dickerson, Cam Jurgens with first and second round picks—to an offense that was already fairly talented.
In the last two years, the Seahawks have used firsts and seconds on Dee Eskridge (miss), Cross, Walker, and Boye Mafe. Three offensive picks, two of them will start next season. Seattle has two first and two second round picks and they need to get at least one defensive lineman (Defense is also a big help to Jalen Hurts) but they can’t ignore helping out their quarterback by lower the bar on “degree of difficulty” with those players around him.
Center? Receiver? Bijan Robinson? A swing on tight end Dalton Kincaid, who could maybe be the first or second-best receiver to any offense he goes to?
Who the Seahawks already have at quarterback could be “good enough, maybe” but Hurts, Stafford, and Brady all had teams around them in the NFC that made them good enough to get to the Super Bowl. Could Seattle emerge as contenders in this field at this time if they keep throwing more logs on the fire? Maybe.
Earlier I was worried that it might sound like I was advocating to draft a quarterback. Now I’m worried that this makes it seem like I’m advocating against drafting a quarterback. At this point, I just want them to draft.
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Pete Carroll Draft Clues Answers!
I posted a 7-round Seahawks mock draft but didn’t tell you who any of the picks were. Instead, I used Pete Carroll’s methodology of using music videos and songs as draft clues to see how many of them you could figure out. So far, we already have SIX correct answers and I’ll share them now. Seasider Bill, you ABSOLUTELY CRUSHED IT.
Thank you to everyone who has participated, let’s see if we can get answers to the remaining four picks. Here’s what’s been solved so far:
1.5 - Warren G - “Regulators”
Warren Sapp went to Apopka High School in Florida, same as Jalen Carter. The first pick was Jalen Carter. A few of you guessed Carter for other reasons, but Bill was the first to answer because of Sapp.
2.52 - Tegan and Sara - “Closer”
Twin musical artists. There is a set of twins out of Illinois making noise going into the draft and in this case, the Seahawks select one of them: Safety Sydney Brown. Bill got this one and I didn’t even realize that Canada connection until he pointed it out.
3.83 - Tyler, the Creator - “See you again”
Seasider Luke immediately got this one right: WR Tyler Scott out of Cincinnati. His comp is Tyler Lockett. Tyler, Tyler, Tyler!
4.123 - Renée Zellweger - “Sugar High”
Another one for Bill… This was a tough one, but RZ is from Katy, Texas. You know who else is from Katy? Moro Ojomo, defensive tackle out of Texas.
5.151 - Bob Dylan - “Hurricane”
5.154 - Randy Newman - “Short People”
I wasn’t feeling very clever on these ones and Bill got me dead to rights, two for two: TE Will Mallory (a Miami Hurricane) and RB Deuce Vaughn (a short person).
That’s at least 4.5 out of 6 for Bill. Great job! We still have four more unanswered picks:
1.20 - Barrington Levy - “Here I Come”
Here’s a second clue for this pick, and I will give a hint: Focus on names for both musical artists I’ve used so far…
Korn - “Freak on a Leash”
2.37 - Les Paul - “There’s No Place Like Home”
Some of you guessed that the “home” was maybe a reference to Washington. That’s not the home I’d look at, if I were maybe Les Paul.
Next clue… Afrojack - “Ten Feet Tall”
6.198 - Johnny Cash - “A Boy Named Sue”
Lyrics: “So I give you that name, and I said goodbye, And I knew you’d have to get tough or die. It’s that name that helped make you strong.”
Next clue… Grimes - “Player of Games”
7.237 - Blackstreet - “No Diggity ft Dr. Dre, Queen Pen, and Li’l Penny”
Pretty weird that I included Li’l Penny in there, isn’t it? Seems out of place for me to be adding Li’l Penny to the artists list, it’s just a doll that appears in the music video and I’m not even sure if that’s the real Li’l Penny or not. Hmmm.
Next clue…. AC/DC - “T.N.T.”
Thanks for playing, let’s get these all wrapped up before Thursday!
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