Pete Carroll: Jeno Smith still leads the quarterback competition

USA Today Sports

When Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made a temporary exit from training due to a COVID diagnosis, Geno Smith was leading the quarterback competition. Now that Carroll is back, Smith continues to hold the top spot on the depth chart.

Carroll addressed his quarterback competition with reporters on his first day with the team. He confirmed that Smith is still the favorite at the moment.

“They keep doing things every day, they make plays,” Carroll said of Smith and Drew Locke. “They both play every day. I’m watching to see how it swings. If you go heavy in one direction, heavy in the other. Guys are doing a good job. We’re working hard to match the cast with the players who play up front, the receivers, and we’re working on getting that done, and it’s going to happen.” And you’ll see how it happens again tomorrow, and how the cast is distributed, just so we can make it a really level competition.

“Geno is still up front, he’s ahead, he’s been on top for all the obvious reasons, he’s sticking with it and doing a really good job in the fight. Both guys communicate beautifully, they’re learning really well, and we don’t have any issues with anything we’re trying to do. Problems here where we have to “Oh, we can’t do this or that with this guy or that guy”, it’s not. They’re so talented, they have the ability to throw the ball out into the court. So let the games begin. Its middle, and we’ll see what happens. It’s a really great day tomorrow. It’s going to be a really great day tomorrow.”

So why is Gino still the number one guy?

“He does things right,” Carroll said. “He deals with the system, performs checks on the line of melee, is able to control protection and work with [center] Austin [Blythe], these guys hit her really well, and he’s really talented. He was making big throws every day. I’m still looking for them to really get in, really own it, put days together where they don’t have any negative plays, and the plays they want to take back. So, in a sense, there were opportunities for both men not to take the whole day, get it all done, and end the day near perfection.”

This means there is still a way for Drew Lock to win the job. What should he do to achieve this?

“Just stay outside,” Carol said. “He just needs to stay there and show us how he’s going to make his decisions when the big opportunities come up. He’s made a lot of plays already. He’s made a lot of good throws, he’s doing really well, he’s elusive, he’s motivated really fast, showing his ability to launch Football, he has a lot of talent now. So we just need actors. We need roles, we just need to see more situations to find any real reason to tell the difference between the players. There are not enough things yet.”

A lot of that stuff will come in pre-season, it seems. The Seahawks continue to maintain the schedule to decide on Russell Wilson’s first week back near the jacket. It will be interesting to see who starts each of the first two pre-season games, and whether the Seahawks will run the competition all the way through the third exhibition.

What’s vaguely looming about the competition is the possibility that the ultimate answer will be “none of the above,” with someone like 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo trying to go after him if he isn’t traded for another team. Eventually, it will be cut off. By then, however, there won’t be much time for Garoppolo to walk through the door and prove he’s the better choice – even if on paper it’s a better choice than Smith or Lock.

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