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The Seahawks QB competition, and that time Tarvaris Jackson was leading Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson...

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Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The 2022 NFL offseason is in full sway, and the Seattle Seahawks quarterback competition is starting to heat up, right on cue. And for the first time in a decade, this is a major story worth monitoring. Early reports indicate that Geno Smith is leading Drew Lock, which makes total sense given his history with the team and his solid performance in 2021. According to Michael-Shawn Dugar of the Athletic:

“Geno Smith has the lead on Drew Lock in the quarterback competition based solely on his knowledge of the scheme, an advantage I expect will help win him the job during the preseason. Smith handled most of the first-team reps during practice Monday. But Smith’s familiarity with the offense won’t matter if Lock plays the position better, which is still a possibility. After all, it’s May.”

However, it is not like Carroll and Schneider to simply tread water; for better or worse, they seem to have considerably higher regard for the passers on their roster relative to many fans and the media. According to Corbin Smith of Seahawks Maven, “both players [have] losing records with more than 20 career starts under their belts... [they] understandably may not inspire the fan base. But while Smith appears to hold an early advantage due to his prior experience running offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s offense and popularity in the locker room, if the Seahawks hope to unearth a long-term successor out of this competition, Lock presents the only viable option for numerous reasons.”

But let’s backtrack for a minute here. The list of Seattle Seahawks starting quarterbacks under Pete Carroll is relatively brief, especially considering that this covers more than a decade;

  1. Matt Hasselbeck (2010)
  2. Charlie Whitehurst (2010-2011)
  3. Tarvaris Jackson (2011)
  4. Russell Wilson (2012-2021)
  5. Geno Smith (2021)

You may notice that a name is missing from this list. Or rather, not missing but simply not present because he was never a starter during the regular season for the Hawks;

When the team signed former (and future) Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn, the general assumption was that he would be the starter barring injury. So much so that people were essentially calling QB competition in Seattle that year a sham; here is a quote from a Bleacher Report article by Ryan Rudnansky from back in the day:

“Pete Carroll may say it’s an open quarterback competition between Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and rookie Russell Wilson, but it’s all a smokescreen... let’s be honest, Wilson’s a rookie, and Flynn has shown more in two starts than Jackson has in his entire career”

It wasn’t like Pete Carroll was anything less than forthcoming, as he said during the 2012 offseason: “Jackson was our starter last year and he’s coming in to compete head-to-head for the starting job. It’s my job now to make sure I create a competitive opportunity for both kids to show they can fit in and we’ll go with the best guy and it’s going to make our quarterback position better certainly. We are happy about that.” Interestingly, though, people didn’t take Pete at his word. The general assumption persisted that Matt Flynn would be the starter, due to contract and his awe-inspiring performance in his brief appearances while backing up Aaron Rodgers. For a more nuanced (but still totally incorrect take), see Gregg Rosenthal in 2012: “(Matt) Flynn is the favorite to win the gig, but odds are that both (he and Tarvaris Jackson) will start during the year. The biggest question: Will there be another big name added to the mix?”

And here we are in 2022, where Week One of the NFL regular season is still months away, but the thought of seeing a Russell Wilson-less Seattle Seahawks team take on a Russell Wilson-led Denver Broncos team looms large. The offseason can feel like an eternity, and so many things can change in the days and weeks ahead. Looking simply at the facts, though, we know for sure that the team didn’t draft a quarterback, and they waived Levi Lewis. Geno Smith and Drew lock are neither Tarvaris Jackson nor Matt Flynn, but as we have seen time and time again, the difference between a solid signal caller and a true franchise quarterback is vast. How vast? To quote C. Montgomery Burns, “Vast.”

The biggest difference between now and 2012, of course, is that the team only has the two veterans to compete for the position, and they have yet to make any moves to indicate that this will change before Week One. Pete Carroll isn’t being any less coy about it this time around, either, saying of Drew Lock, “He’s right with us. Geno really has the package nailed so I have that to gauge him on. He’s hanging with (Geno) throughout all of this. We’re not holding anything back. We really have just unloaded the installation. He’s doing well.” So get used to seeing a lot of this over the next few months:

My point in all this is simply to suggest that we have barely even glimpsed the tip of this quarterback competition. I have no pretensions of knowing who will be lined up under center in September and beyond. I simply know that history indicates that monitoring the coach-speak and media-speak for clues that will assuredly only add further murkiness is an exercise in futility (a fun one, perchance, but futile nonetheless). And just as you don’t win in the first quarter, you don’t win a QB competition in June. At least, not while Pete Carroll is watching. So buckle up, strap in, or whatever it is you do because this ride is about to get bumpy.