A strong argument could be made that no quarterback has been impacted by drops during the preseason than Geno Smith. Pro Football Focus indicates that 7 of his passes have been dropped through three games, which is second to only Jordan Love, who has 9. However, Love also has nearly twice as many dropbacks and pass attempts as Smith. Similarly, the percentage of Geno Smith’s passes that have been dropped sits at 23.3%, which is easily the worst rate for any passer with at least 20 attempts in 2022.
Given how unreliable the team’s preseason pass catchers have been, I am especially happy that when Geno Smith takes the field as QB1 on September 12th, he is likely going to be joined by decorated pass catchers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. This is a good thing for obvious reasons, but especially this one: the Seattle Seahawks have dropped a lot of passes during the preseason. 16 drops, to be exact. Below is an itemized list by intended receiver.
- Aaron Fuller — 3
- Bo Melton — 3
- Freddie Swain — 2
- Dareke Young — 2
- Will Dissly — 1
- Penny Hart — 1
- Darwin Thompson — 1
- J.J. Arcega-Whiteside — 1
- Kevin Kassis — 1
- Cade Johnson — 1
Now, I don’t need to tell you this is bad. But just how bad is it? Well, for comparison... PFF credits the Seattle Seahawks with 14 dropped passes in ALL OF 2021. Metcalf had 4 (which was a massive improvement from his 18 drops over his first two seasons), with Tight Ends Will Dissly and Gerald Everett posting 3 each. But this is regular season compared to the preseason, where teams should expect players to be a little bit rusty, right? WRONG.
During the 2021 preseason, the Seahawks had 4 drops. Total. And two of these went to the promptly released Dominick Wood-Anderson. The other two were split between Cody Thompson and Aaron Fuller — both players who would not be on the active roster for Week 1. Suffice to say that putting the ball on the turf is not typically how you guarantee yourself to make it through final cuts.
A lot of factors could influence this situation, the most obvious being skill-level of the players on offense; the preseason is a trial period for a lot of guys, and experience levels vary greatly. Another factor could be QB play — while a catchable pass is a catchable pass, there is something to be said for ‘touch,’ so it is certainly possible that Geno Smith, Jacob Eason, and Drew Lock are just delivering some difficult to corral spirals. However, I think the former is far more impactful than the latter; Corbin Smith is projecting that only Dareke Young and Penny Hart will be making the team out of the wide receivers listed above. This, of course, is in addition to the established duo of Metcalf and Lockett, along with Marquise Goodwin (Smith lists Freddie Swain as a cut candidate after a rough preseason). Tight End is a little bit less nebulous, with Smith tabbing Dissly, Fant, and Parkinson. This indicates that the team probably isn’t going to be digging too deep to figure out who is going to be running routes in September, and a lot of these guys aren’t exactly making it a difficult decision.
With all this in mind, hopefully this case of the drops is just a passing fancy and this team is going to be ready to hang on to the football when the games count, because this level of performance isn’t sustainable. It has been difficult to really evaluate the play of Geno Smith — and by extension this offense — when the ball is hitting the turf with this regularity. Smith’s 59% completion rate doesn’t look inspiring, but given that he has only 39 attempts over three games, it is fair to say that the drops have had an impact (PFF gives him an adjusted completion percentage of 83.3%). While he probably won’t be completing >80% of his passes in 2022, I think he might do a bit better than the sub-60% rate we have seen so far.