Pete Carroll Reveals Frontrunner in Seattle Seahawks’ Quarterback Competition

by Nick Geddes

When the Seattle Seahawks traded star quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos in March, the expectation was that Drew Lock would be the man under center this upcoming NFL season.

Lock, 25, was one of the main pieces Seattle acquired from Denver. Through two weeks of training camp, however, he has failed to separate himself from the pack. Head coach Pete Carroll returned to practice Friday following a COVID-19 diagnosis and updated reporters on the team’s quarterback competition.

Pete Carroll said although there’s a ways to go, veteran Geno Smith is the favorite to start in Week 1.

“Geno continues to be on top, he’s ahead, he’s been in the lead for all the obvious reasons, and he’s holding onto it and doing a really good job of battling,” Carroll said, via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “Both guys are communicating beautifully, they’re learning well, we don’t have any issues with anything we’re trying to do. There are no issues here where we have to ‘Oh, we can’t quite do this or that with this guy or that guy,’ it isn’t like that.

“They’re very talented arm-wise, and the ability to throw the ball down the field is there. So, let the games begin. Getting out there, now we’re in the middle of it, and we’ll see what happens. It’s a really big day tomorrow. It’ll be a really big day tomorrow.”

Pete Carroll Impressed With How Geno Smith ‘Handles the System’

Pete Carroll continued, elaborating on why he feels Smith has earned the QB1 distinction thus far through camp. Entering his 10th year and third in Seattle, Smith has a full understanding of how to run the offense.

“He’s just doing things right,” Carroll said. “He handles the system, he’s making the checks at the line of scrimmage, he’s able to control the protections and working with [center] Austin [Blythe], those guys are hitting it really well, and he’s just really talented. He’s made great throws every day. I’m still looking for them to really come in, and really own it, and put days together where they don’t have any negative plays, the plays that they wish they had back.

“So, in a sense, there’s been openings for both guys by not having the complete day, getting everything done, and finishing the day close to perfect.”

Smith, 31, was last a full-time starter in 2014 with the New York Jets. He’s since served as a backup for three other teams, finding a home with the Seahawks in 2020. After Wilson went down with a hand injury this past season, Smith filled in for three games, going 1-2. He threw for 702 yards with five touchdowns and one interception on 68.4% passing.

Does Drew Lock Have a Shot to Start?

Lock, meanwhile, went 8-13 in 21 starts with the Broncos from 2019-21. Pete Carroll said the door has not closed on Lock, but noted he needs to see more reps out of him to properly compare him to Smith.

“Just stay out there,” Carroll said. “He just needs to stay out there and show us how he’s going to make his decisions when the big opportunities come. He’s made a ton of plays already. He’s made a ton of good throws, he really runs well, he’s elusive, he has a really quick trigger, his ability to release the football shows up, he has a lot of talent now. So we just need reps. We need turns, we just need to see more situations to really find any reason to see a difference between the guys. There’s just not enough stuff yet.”