Uncertain Future for Geno Smith’s Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks announced the departure of nine time Pro Bowler and Superbowl XLVIII champion Russell Wilson in a trade to the Denver Broncos March 8, 2022. The Seahawks, after a disappointing 7-10 season in 2021 decided it was time to part ways with their 10-year veteran quarterback, who had previously expressed interest in a trade. 

For the previous couple years before Wilson’s trade, rumors had circled around that he wanted out. Wilson, in 2021, reportedly listed four teams he would like to be traded to, before playing another season in Seattle. After the Broncos deal, the Seahawks used their first round draft pick (from Denver) on offensive lineman Charles Cross, passing over standout University of Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett. As a result, the Seahawks went into the season with the quarterback options being Geno Smith, Wilson’s previous backup, and Drew Lock, who had a poor year for the Broncos in 2020 before being replaced by Teddy Bridgewater

Smith won the starting job after Lock’s poor preseason performance. He started in the Sept.12 Monday Night Football game against Wilson and the Denver Broncos. Denver was the heavy favorite going into the game, but two fumbles on the goal line and a missed field goal from 64 yards cost them the game. 

Smith, in his postgame interview when asked about his doubters, said in iconic fashion, “they wrote me off, I ain’t write back though.”

Seattle faced the San Francisco 49ers Sept. 18, where reality hit the Seahawks in a crushing 27-7 defeat in Santa Clara. 49ers starting quarterback Trey Lance went off with a season-ending injury, and previous starter Jimmy Garoppolo subbed on to convincingly beat Seattle. 

The situation worsened in the Seahawks return home against the 0-2 Atlanta Falcons, led by previous Raiders backup quarterback Marcus Mariota. This was the first game of the season in which Seattle was statistically considered to be the favorites, but the defense gave up 27 points in a narrow defeat.

Seattle turned things around against the Detroit Lions Oct. 2. In an intense and high-scoring affair, Smith and his team escaped with a 48-45 victory, a scoreline that’s never occurred in the NFL before. Seahawks defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson addressed the defensive woes of the game, saying that he doesn’t think it’s an issue of talent, rather, he and his team don’t feel as though they’re maximizing their talent or playing to their best ability. 

Seattle U athletic trainer and Seahawks fan Marisa Manus expressed that key injuries alongside the newfound defense and new quarterback:

“I think it’s a new season with a lot of new entities ready to step up to the plate and I think because of that, there’s an adjustment period that people fail to notice. I think people aren’t giving time and grace to Geno Smith, and when Jamal Adams gets injured it sends a problem down the line.” 

Manus also would like to see the team draft a quarterback to replace the now-departed Wilson. 

“In the next draft, I think a quarterback is on everyone’s radar, and if you’re a true Seahawks fan, you don’t want them to get too many wins this season so they can get a high draft pick. Geno Smith isn’t doing a terrible job but someone with more repertoire in the collegiate game can do much better in the pros, and elevate the team.” 

Seahawks Journalist Mike Dugar argued that the main issue of the Seahawks was simpler: the defense.

“The defense cannot consistently stop anyone, and it’s hard to win games in the NFL when you’re overly reliant on your offense to save the day. They’re not good at rushing the passer or defending third downs, and they very rarely force punts, despite being pretty decent on the goal line,” Dugar said.  

With the Seahawks sitting at 2-3, there are far more questions than answers about this team. With the quarterback exceeding expectations, and the defense massively underperforming to start the year, the rest of the year could go a number of ways, and the next NFL draft could as well. 

Communications Major and Class of 2024 SU student Justin Myung Hwang Kim had a similar opinion to Dugar, arguing that the defense is the main issue at hand:

“Defense is probably in the bottom rank, and although it’s easier to blame Geno Smith, he’s been throwing even better than Russell Wilson throughout the first four games of the season. It generally looks like the defense is lacking. I do think the talent is there, but it seems as though some players are being used incorrectly, and maybe that’s a coaching issue.” 

It’s been a turbulent start to the season for Seattle. In a year with no real expectations, it’s most certainly going to be the most up-and-down season the Seahawks have had in a long time, but one thing is for certain: there’s lots to fix over the upcoming year, and we can’t be certain whether or not it’s going to happen.