After an offseason of change brought waves of optimism to fans of the Seattle Seahawks, the first two preseason games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears slapped those same fans in the face with some reality.
That reality is that, at least as of right now, Geno Smith is slated to be the starting quarterback for the 2022 Seahawks, and playing the entire first half of each of the first two preseason games, he managed to lead the offense to a grand total of 10 points.
shit that third to last one is supposed to say missed FG— Seaside Joe: Daily Seahawks Newsletter (@seasidejoenews) August 19, 2022
Now it’s certainly true that the Seahawks have other options in Drew Lock or Sean Mannion (who’s on the practice squad). But at the end of the day, the simple fact of the matter is that Lock has been on the roster since coming over from the Denver Broncos in the trade that sent Russell Wilson packing for the Rocky Mountains, and yet he hasn’t shown enough to overtake Smith as the starter.
The counterargument to that is, of course, that Lock was set to start the debacle against the Bears before COVID sidelined him, but that ignores one key fact: Simply put, coaches get to see both Lock and Smith in practice every day. They see how much of the offense Lock can handle. They see what each can do on the field. The coaches know what each is capable of, and yet, more than five months since the trade that brought him to Seattle, Lock has not forced his way into the starting lineup the way Wilson did upon his arrival in 2012.
And in a quarterback-driven league where the rule adjustments and tweaks to the game seem to make things easier and easier for the offense each season, trading away a franchise quarterback doesn’t seem like a great idea. The fears of many were borne out in the preseason, with more and more evidence piling up that the Hawks might need to look outside the current roster to find Wilson’s replacement.
That of course discounts what Lock could potentially offer, but again, he’s been with the team for more than five months and if he were an unquestionably better option at the position, he would have started the preseason opener. Instead, he’s been playing second fiddle to Smith since arriving and missing out on the opportunity to start against Chicago in Week 1 of the preseason after contracting COVID. In his extended playing time against the Dallas Cowboys, he showed his best (a touchdown to Penny Hart) and his worst (three interceptions, although one was a dropped pass). At that point, Geno definitely had the job secured.
There’s no question that the level of performance seen on the field in the preseason contests will not get it done once the regular season arrives, so the question becomes: What will the 2022 season look like for Seattle? How ugly could it get? Will the team come together as a unit and defeat the Denver Broncos in Week 1, leading to a victory around which the team can rally? Or will Week 1 see the team fall to the very player who carried the team in recent seasons?
The sportsbooks have no questions about what the results of the season will look like, with the over/under on wins for the Seahawks currently at 5.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the over/under for Wilson’s new team sits at 10. Given the performances of the team in the preseason, 5-12 or 6-11 likely isn’t far off the mark. The ‘Hawks have won seven games in all three seasons under Pete Carroll where Russell Wilson didn’t start 16 games, but that could be a best-case scenario for the group assembled for this season.
There are certainly many fans who remain hopeful and optimistic that the Hawks can pull out a surprise season, sneaking their way into the playoffs. However, Seattle is slated to face one of the toughest schedules in the league, and they’ll do so without a true franchise quarterback. Whether a fan hopes that Smith or Lock is the starter, at the end of the day, the entire quarterbacks room for the 2022 Seahawks has 21 combined wins as starting quarterbacks in 13 seasons of NFL experience. It’s hard to win in the NFL, and nearly impossible to do so without a franchise quarterback, meaning Carroll and company are staring into an abyss of questions at the quarterback position; perhaps the darkest abyss in all of sports fandom.
So, while some will hold out hope for a Cinderella season that shocks the world behind a strong running game and a revamped defense, the reality is that 2022 is likely to be an ugly season for the Seahawks and for fans of a team that has become accustomed to making the postseason in recent years. Basically, hunker down, hold on through 2022 and stay the course in laying the foundation for another era of greatness.
Now they just need to find a franchise quarterback.