Discover more from Seaside Joe
Seahawks QB competition: Pete's latest comments should be taken with a Geno salt
Seaside Joe 1266, 8/23/22: Don't listen to what he says, listen to your heart
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has been consistently stirring the pot with regards to the quarterback competition by erring on the side of ambiguity on why certain decisions have been made and shying away from transparency that would enlighten fans on these confusing rotations. On Tuesday, Carroll went a step further by announcing a mind-bending plan for Friday’s preseason finale against the Cowboys in which both quarterbacks will split reps with the starters.
Then Drew Lock will finish out the rest of the game.
For over a month, I have not been pushing any desire to see Lock named as the starter; I’ve only shared my opinions on why I believe the Seahawks intend to start Lock and without any strong counter-evidence presented (or I’ll even take someone refuting my arguments directly in a PowerPoint presentation), I continue to see that as the plan. Lock got sick and was prevented from playing in the second preseason contest and that amped up the confusion. Then Pete didn’t immediately hand Lock first team reps when he returned and that caused more confusion. And Pete’s insistence to use ambiguous language with regards to “the plan” and the “competition” even up to Tuesday has only fired up the fans more.
But I have never really felt confused about Pete’s speak because while I listen to every word that comes out of Pete’s mouth to the media, I’m much more interested in codes that require no such cipher.
Like that it makes sense to keep Jacob Eason out of Friday’s game—he will not make the final roster and Seattle’s got one major family disagreement to settle—and there’s really nothing more to see from Geno Smith. His appearance in the first half may just be insurance to stay warm if indeed he does have to start in Week 1. And if that happens, I’ll still assume that it is a week-to-week audition that keeps the door open for Lock quarter after quarter.
As reported by Bob Condotta in The Seattle Times, and seen here at the full media session, Pete’s comments about the competition on Tuesday continue to pave a road of contradictions:
“I’m wide open for whatever happens,” Carroll said. “Geno has been the guy in the lead position the whole time, and I’ve protected that thought throughout. He’s done a really nice job. He’s been very consistent. So we’ll just see what happens.”
Carroll again wouldn’t say if Lock will start Seattle’s preseason finale Friday night at Dallas, but he did say again that Lock will play substantially.
“Drew needs to play a lot of football,” Carroll said, calling it kind of a “make-up deal” for Lock not getting to play against the Bears. “So that’s the main thing that needs to get done this weekend.”
Pete Carroll emphasizes that Geno Smith is the starter and that he’s remained consistent in calling him the starter during the entire offseason. It reminds me of Matt Nagy and Andy Dalton with the Bears last season, always looking over their shoulders at Justin Fields every time that Nagy reminded reporters that “Andy is the guy.”
Okay, that would be fine in this case too. But only if Pete actually made an announcement that Geno is the starter. Except he doesn’t do that, he uses tricky phrasing like “lead position” and spends almost just as much time saying that Lock “needs to play” and that the Seahawks could be weeks away from naming a starter. What kind of a quarterback not about to start “needs to play a lot of football”?
“There’s two more weeks of practice after this,” Carroll said. “So there’s the timeline. I had a set thought on what we would do with the timeline but that got disrupted.”
Pete insinuates that Lock’s illness disrupted the ability to name a starter. Which is quite a consideration for a quarterback unless he has a very good chance to win the competition by having a strong outing this week.
“We weren’t afforded that opportunity this time around,” Carroll said. “I could just call it. But I want to let the guys battle and let them show where they are and let us get as much information as possible.”
Pete doesn’t outright say who he could “call it” for and the expected way to infer that is that means “Geno Smith” because that’s who he says is in the lead. But the question isn’t “Who is he talking about?” The only thing that matters is that Pete can say whatever the hell he wants on Tuesday, since he’s made it clear that he’s not done collecting information. Pete can say 30,000 words of meaningless blabber (also known as “July of 2021” at Seaside Joe) today because there are no consequences when you stay ambiguous!
That seems to be the theme of the whole month. Just as people are pretty ambiguous in their “praise” for one quarterback or another without making any meaningful statements about how valuable and successful they think either quarterback will be this season (except for me, and I’ve been clearly on the side of “not likely to be successful, but Seaside Joe will revel in the glory of being proven wrong if it happens”), so too can Pete keep his plan to himself.
Through every article about the competition this summer, I’ve been steadfast in my observations on the Seahawks’ quarterback situation and one thing that has already afforded us at Seaside Joe was the comfort of bypassing every rumor about Baker Mayfield, Desmond Ridder, or Jimmy Garoppolo. Even when I addressed Garoppolo or Jared Goff back in March and April, it was with the tone of, “This is possible in case of a disaster with Geno and Drew, but it otherwise doesn’t fit the probable agenda.”
That agenda? Five months of survival at the quarterback position. Outwit, Outplay, Outlast. I’ve already referenced this once before so you may remember that I don’t believe this is a game of “outplay” or “outwit” for Geno Smith and Drew Lock.
It’s a game of outlast.
So since the beginning of camp, Pete has been calling Geno the “leader” for the job and I’ve always felt that’s merely what he needs to say in the moment. He’s never once said, “This is Geno’s job” or implied that there’s only going to be a competition if Geno chokes. Pete has always said that this is a job that Lock can go win and so what does it matter who gets the reps with the starters five days before the preseason finale?
I care much more about the fact that Pete said Drew Lock will “play a lot” against the Cowboys. Surely there isn’t a Seahawks fan out there who will choose to ignore the outcome if Lock happens to have a really good game this week and even Broncos fans will tell you that yes, Lock is capable of doing that sometimes.
My advice: Don’t worry about what Pete Carroll says. Evaluate what he does. Measure everything that he’s done for the last 13 years, not a Monday practice or flipping between the ones and the twos mores times than a DJ.
It’s the same advice for those who feel confused about all the reports and PFF grades that claim that Geno is “lights out” this preseason. We know by now how narratives can drive false claims. “Hey look, a quarterback can throw 30 yards downfield to an open receiver.” “Hey, we’re PFF and we heard we might be able to get some attention over here because it’s the last remaining quarterback competition???”
Mind if I reference the last nine years of Geno’s caree-
Terms like “common sense” are too ambiguous, but I really do want to caution people against sacrificing their credibility by overrating players at a time when we do not have enough information to suddenly flip a decade-long belief by practically every analyst that Geno Smith is not a starting quarterback.
Do NOT confuse this as an endorsement for Drew Lock.
If anything, I continue to endorse Grayson McCall. Or more accurately, I endorse Pete Carroll’s clear decision to suck at quarterback this season for a chance at a bright future beginning in 2023.
If Smith or Lock end up playing moderately well this year, by all means go do that. I’m not rooting against either of them to do that. I’m rooting for fans to have access to realistic takes on football, that’s all.
People are living such a manic existence on Twitter, following the day-to-day 24-hour news cycle as if life really works that way. No, the media works that way. I believe that Seaside Joe has proven that you can cover a team 365 days a year without giving up common sense, rationality, and reason.
If Geno is named the starter before Week 1, then I believe what is most likely is that Lock didn’t show the progress that Pete expected of him maybe up to even a week ago. Pete may have expected him to do well enough to start at the time of the trade, but maybe the Seahawks will be as disappointed in Lock as many Broncos fans were when he lost out to Teddy Bridgewater in 2021.
If Lock is named the starter instead, then I will believe that all went to plan. Or at least, Pete is forcing a plan because the other option has never played like a starter and has had two underwhelming first halves in the preseason, no matter what PFF grades and cherry picked throws shared on Twitter will tell you. The offense can’t score points with Geno Smith, that’s been the case in every game he’s appeared in over the last year—including the Jaguars game. Too many negative drives.
But don’t pick sides in the QB competition. Instead, pick yourself and your right to have common sense as a guide through these tumultuous and often jarring times of over-examining every little moment through a camp competition. It’s always been Geno Smith and Drew Lock.
The same Geno Smith and Drew Lock that you remember from the past.
The way I see it, Pete is just Pete-ing.
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.