Saturday the Seattle Seahawks faced off against the Seattle Seahawks in something resembling a football game at Lumen Field, and while it didn’t carry any meaning in the standings or even give most fans an opportunity to actually see the action, it was enough to get fans excited. So, without wasting any time with boring word count fluff, diving right into the details, here are three potentially meaningful takeaways:
After being drafted in the fourth round of the 2020 draft out of Stanford Parkinson was hailed as the next Jimmy Graham. A 6’7” post up threat who could take over in the red zone, Parkinson has totaled seven receptions without scoring a single touchdown, and to this point has a career high of 16 receiving yards in a single game.
That said, Parkinson had received praise from the coaching staff, and in particular from head coach Pete Carroll, as one of those players to watch for a third year jump. Maybe it’s simply because he was playing against a familiar defense. Maybe it’s because the Seahawks defense is still learning their assignments. Or maybe it’s just a meaningless preseason scrimmage. In any case, Parkinson posted what would have been a career high of 27 receiving yards Saturday.
The excitement among fans during the offseason was largely in the corner of newer players. Whether that’s from those hoping for a healthy, second-year breakout from Dee Eskridge, or those who are excited about the raw potential of 2022 seventh round selections Dareke Young and Bo Melton, Thompson has drawn little attention.
That may start to change after Saturday, as Thompson posted the third highest receiving yardage totals among the receivers, behind only DK Metcalf and Marquise Goodwin, and the lone receiving touchdown of the game.
Thompson’s ability to contribute on special teams is no secret, after he saw the field for 47 special teams snaps during the 2021 season.
As for what has changed Thompson’s upside potential heading into 2022, well that’s an easy one to answer. During his time tearing up the secondaries of opponents to the tune of 3,312 yards and 30 receiving touchdowns at Toledo Thompson specialized in finding the open space in the intermediate zone. That, of course, is significant in the fact that with Russell Wilson at the helm in recent seasons, the intermediate zone wasn’t exactly an area of high utilization for the Seattle offense.
Add in Andy Reid’s assessment that Thompson is, “Probably a better inside guy in the slot position,” and if the Seahawks offense is indeed evolving to make better use of the intermediate area, along with better use of the middle of the field, and the upside for Thompson could be substantial. That’s not to say that he’s going to come in and be the Seattle version of Cooper Kupp, but I’m not not saying that either given the physical and athletic similarities.
cade doesn't measure up to Kupp like Thompson pic.twitter.com/ioKfdJTVdI— John P Gilbert (Full stop) (@JohnPGilbertNFL) June 16, 2022
No, Drew Lock has not overtaken Geno Smith in the quarterback competition
There has already been plenty of ink spilled on speculation that Drew Lock played himself into the top spot in the quarterback competition with his performance Saturday. Looking at the stats alone, it’s not an outlandish conclusion to draw, but Lock hasn’t overtaken Smith by any means. First, for the stats.
Those stats are what led to the takeaway that Lock could potentially be ahead of Smith.
The stats spoke pretty loudly in favor of Drew Lock over Geno Smith after the Seahawks' mock game, but Pete Carroll didn't want to make any sweeping judgments. https://t.co/cfcWlMQ2bm— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) August 7, 2022
Drew Lock is more effective and dynamic than Geno Smith in the Seahawks' mock game.— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) August 7, 2022
Pete Carroll isn't exactly saying so, but Seattle's quarterback competition changed today at Lumen Field: https://t.co/JjSWQQHXl8 @thenewstribune
And so on, as there was no shortage of this type of takeaway.
Now, it’s certainly true that the quarterback competition likely changed following the mock game Saturday, but it may not have changed as drastically as many may believe. The reason is simple, and it’s because the team was basically using two different offenses during the mock game.
Seahawks' offense is more dynamic, moves more, with Drew Lock. Play-action, option throws on the run, more outside play action when Lock is in compared to Geno Smith, who they have drop back more.— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) August 6, 2022
Which style will they pick?
Lock 10 for 10 passing to begin the mock game
Why is it that the Seahawks basically ran separate offenses for the different quarterbacks? Is it because they’re different players and they built separate game plans for them? No, it’s because when Lock was on the field the offense was running the dumbed-down-for-Jared-Goff version of the offense that reduces the complexity of the reads for the quarterback, while when Smith was under center they ran the drop-back-read-it-and-sling-it-like-Matthew-Stafford version of the same offense.
The reason for that is simple. They know Geno can run the simplified version. The coaching staff of him in real games against real NFL opponents running play action concepts and simplified boots very effectively. They also have film of him playing less effectively when asked to drop straight back, read the defense and get the ball where it’s supposed to go.
On the flip side, as for Lock, a big part of his struggles in Denver were making the correct read and getting the ball where it was supposed to be. When he explained it in his own words a couple of years ago, this is what he had to say.
Drew Lock on his bad plays: “Half the time, right as the ball leaves my hand, I’m like… 'Oh no.’”— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) November 19, 2020
So, while for Geno the next step is finding success in reading the whole field and getting the ball where it needs to be, for Lock the next step heading into Saturday was taking a simplified gameplan that reduced the complexity of his reads and letting him demonstrate he could get the ball where it was supposed to go.
As the stats from the mock game show, Lock obviously did that for the most part, so now he’ll likely have more complex portions of the offense put on his plate through the preseason. But any exclamations that he has overtaken or pulled ahead of Smith at this point are easily premature, as in order to do that he’ll need to execute and put up better numbers than Smith while tasked with executing the more difficult portions of the offense, as Smith was charged with doing Saturday.
Whether or not Lock is up to the task won’t be known until fans get to watch the Seahawks take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 of the preseason next Saturday.