One of the true open quarterback competitions ahead of the 2022 regular season is expected to play out throughout the summer months. As things stand, the Seattle Seahawks are internally unassertive regarding who will serve as their starting signal-caller during their Week 1 Monday night contest against the Denver Broncos. Veteran journeyman Geno Smith re-signed with the Seahawks earlier this offseason after serving as their backup quarterback since 2019. Drew Lock, who the team acquired as part of a packaged blockbuster deal that sent Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson to the Broncos, is the other quarterback vying for the starting job. It currently carries the appearance of a wide-open competition, but Seahawks Offensive Coordinator Shane Waldron recently revealed the early favorite via a local radio appearance.
“Familiarity has given Smith an early edge over Lock to replace Wilson,” Waldron said while speaking with the hosts of 93.3 KJR in Seattle.
Fear not, Seahawks fans who are hoping to see a younger and more aggressive Lock wrangle away the job from Smith’s metaphorical grip. Waldron’s comments likely qualify as standard coach-speak given the time of year, while also showing appropriate respect to a veteran member of the team. It’s conceivable to believe that Smith currently has a better grip on Seattle’s offensive playbook than Lock does—which is at the heart of Waldron’s comments. Smith is scheduled to enter his fourth consecutive campaign with the Seahawks in 2022, and his second season under Waldron’s tutelage.
Furthermore, Smith actually started three contests for the Seahawks in 2021 and played extensively in another as a result of a painful finger injury suffered by Wilson in an early October loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Smith actually handled himself rather impressively given the situation. The former West Virginia standout completed 65-of-95 throwing attempts (a respectable 68.4 completion percentage) while throwing for 702 yards and five touchdowns versus just one interception. The Seahawks went 1-2 throughout Smith’s three starts, and both losses were of the three-point variety. Smith kept Seattle competitive throughout Wilson’s unexpected absence.
Smith also currently possesses more chemistry with Seattle’s starting receivers D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and D’Wayne Eskridge as a result of actually playing with them for several seasons (one season in Eskridge’s case). These are the primary reasons why Smith would have a metaphorical leg up on Lock currently, but the summer months are truly just beginning to take shape. Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll has showered Lock with praise since acquiring him, and Lock has plenty of time to master Waldron’s offensive playbook while gaining ground on Smith.
For all of Lock’s warts, he’s an intelligent processor that shouldn’t have an issue familiarizing himself with Seattle’s offense in a rather efficient manner. An abundance of practice and preseason reps should allow Lock to become increasingly comfortable in his new role as he continues acclimating to his surroundings. It’s worth noting Lock already possesses chemistry with new starting tight end Noah Fant, who spent the previous three seasons with Lock in Denver and was a part of the same package Seattle acquired in exchange for Wilson.
Lock is roughly six years younger than Smith and undeniably possesses a higher ceiling, mostly as a result of featuring through a smaller sample size. Smith likely is who he is at this point, whereas it’s somewhat plausible to believe Lock can still develop into something more than the below-average showcases he sparingly fielded in Denver.
The performances of Smith and Lock throughout training camp, daily practices, and the pre-season will serve as the ultimate deciding factor. Smith may be viewed as an early favorite due to familiarity and familiarity alone, but the most uninspiring quarterback battle still has twists and turns to deliver.