Geno Smith is still leading the Seahawks’ QB battle, but Drew Lock is closing – Seattle Seahawks Blog

RENTON, Wash. – Shane Waldron spoke blankly until he couldn’t help but smile.

The Seattle Seahawks’ second-year offensive coordinator was asked last week if the team has any timeline for deciding the winner of the quarterback contest between Geno Smith and Drew Lock.

“Uh, Denver,” Waldron said, referring to the Seahawks’ season opener Sept. 12 on Monday Night Football against the Broncos and Russell Wilson, whom Smith and Lock are vying to replace. “Yes, although we have a plan.”

The Seahawks have been quiet about that plan, but it’s been clear they’re in no rush to settle on a starter. Because if they were, they would have already started giving Lock more of the first-team reps needed to properly evaluate him against Smith.

Instead, Smith has done most of the work with the No. 1 offense while Lock has stuck with both, occasionally pulling off a series behind the starting offensive line and/or with first-team receivers. That was to be expected in the spring, when Lock was still getting his feet wet in a new offense while Smith returned for his second season in Waldron’s system and fourth in Seattle. But he has stayed that way through the first two weeks of training camp, even after Lock outscored Smith in the team’s simulated game Saturday at Lumen Field.

“They both make plays every day,” coach Pete Carroll said a day before the simulated game. “I’m watching to see how it swings, if it gets heavy one way, heavy the other. The guys are doing a good job…Geno is still on top. He’s ahead. obvious reasons, and he’s holding on to that and doing a really good job fighting.”

However, based on naked eye observations, it hasn’t been so obvious why Smith has stayed in the lead. Neither quarterback had distinguished himself until Lock did on Saturday. Prior to that, both had equally displayed the talent and arm mobility that made them second-round picks, but also the flaws — occasional lapses in decision-making and accuracy — that prevented them from holding onto the starting spots.

Lock has done a slightly better job of taking care of the ball, even accounting for the “wacky” shot – as Carroll called it – that got away with it late in first practice, when his ill-advised backstroke – the field shot fell incomplete. Smith has thrown three interceptions in 11-on-11 stretches to one by Lock.

So why has Smith gotten ahead of himself?

“He’s just doing the right thing,” Carroll said Friday. “He runs the system, he’s doing the controls at the line of scrimmage, he’s able to control the protections working with [center Austin Blythe]. Those guys are hitting it real good. And he is really talented. He has thrown big pitches every day. I’m still looking for them to really come in, and really take ownership, and put together days where they don’t have negative plays, plays that they wish they had back.”

The closest thing to that for either quarterback was Lock’s performance on Saturday. He completed 18 of 27 attempts for 185 yards and a touchdown through a well-covered Cody Thompson end zone juggling. While most of his damage was done on shorter shots, Lock did well to keep the ball out of harm’s way and take what the defense was giving him without forcing shots downfield.

Lock said he was “pretty close” to the best version of himself in the first half and wanted some plays in the second half. One was his light pass to rookie wide receiver Bo Melton on a wide, deep throw.

The five possessions that Lock led ended with two touchdowns, a field goal and two clearances. Smith, meanwhile, was 10 of 19 for 94 yards. He got away with an errant deep ball that was almost intercepted. His five drives resulted in a touchdown, two field goals and three clearances.

Lock’s day was even better by comparison when you consider that four of his five possessions came with the No. 2 offense and against the No. 1 defense. Smith got the opposite done, playing with the starters on offense and against the backup defenders on four of his possessions.

On a play during Lock’s drive with the No. 1 offense, he showed the discretion that has sometimes eluded him when he wanted to throw deep, but passed the ball to rookie running back Kenneth Walker III for a small gain when neither DK Metcalf nor Tyler. Lockett were open in the field.

Lock went 5-for-5 on that drive before Walker finished with a touchdown run. He felt he showed his talent to play quarterback with that kind of success in his only series with the No. 1 offense despite the limited work he’s had with that group.

“It’s what I wanted to do with those guys,” he said. “It’s what I wanted to show today. I’m glad I did.”

Carroll offered only vague observations about the quarterbacks’ game on Saturday, deferring any evaluation of individual performances until he saw the movie. He didn’t speak to reporters after Sunday’s tour, during which Smith got all the first-team reps. That seems to suggest that Smith will start in this Saturday’s preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers (4 pm ET Saturday, NFL Network).

“Competition-wise, I’m not the one to judge all of that, so I’ll leave it up to the coaches,” Smith said after the simulated game. “But I think Drew played great. I’ll go on the record and say I’m covering it. Whatever happens, I’m covering Drew Lock’s backup. I want it to be known. We’re teammates, we’re competing, but we’re on the same offense, we’re in the same room and we’re going to improve each other.

Lock echoed Smith’s sentiment, saying he did it last year in Denver after the Broncos named Teddy Bridgewater as their starter.

“That’s what that job is about,” Lock said. “I would give everything I have for him if that were the case.”

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