Geno Smith came under intense scrutiny following the frustrating Week 6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Then the team narrowly* defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7 and his effectiveness was questioned again.
*by 10 points
Geno Smith continues to be an above-average quarterback in the NFL, which is legitimately difficult to do. Some organizations spend most of an owner’s life looking and failing to find a manageably good gunslinger. I don’t want to name names, but I will. It’s the Broncos.
Anyway, here are couple of examples that surfaced this week that serve to highlight how reasonable it is for the Seattle Seahawks to stand behind Geno Smith.
Right place, right timing.
The charts below are quite long; you have to click on them to see the entire thing. If you don’t, I’ll give the summary. The category is accuracy, the specific metric is how often a QB throws and misses an open receiver. This season, Geno Smith is third at 3.1% behind only Patrick Mahomes and Kirk Cousins. For the 3-year cumulative, he’s 10th at 5.3% of all QBs with over 300 throws.
Open target miss rate: the percentage of time that the receiver was charted as open, but the pass was charted as inaccurate, as a percentage of all charted open target attempts. Just 2023 only so far. pic.twitter.com/XtAMwbsxmi— Shaun Newkirk (Soros funded blue checkmark) (@Shauncore) October 20, 2023
Past three years (two for Geno):
Updated version of the chart. Data now back to 2020 (removed some inactive QBs like Brady). Also included total of open throw attempts.— Shaun Newkirk (Soros funded blue checkmark) (@Shauncore) October 21, 2023
Realized I cut off Bryce Young, who actually only had one bad throw! Good for you Bryce. pic.twitter.com/b7RaxJ735i
It’s always interesting when a perceived strength in a player, upheld by a certain metric, is categorically confirmed by another. Geno Smith’s accuracy - backed by league-leading completion percentage last season - is no joke. He does not misfire to open players.
Brock Purdy’s miserable 10.5% was massively exposed in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and check out who’s coming to town this weekend - league-leading PJ Walker.
Big Value with a Big Arm
Moving on from accuracy alone, this recent chart of Expected Points Added relative to salary is a great metric.
Outside of Tua Tagovailoa, the 2nd overall pick, and a correctly questionable reflection of Brock Purdy, the NFL has to spend roughly twice the money to get EPA better than Geno Smith. 11 franchises are spending massive amounts of money to get far inferior play than Smith.
Finally, do you actually want a boring quarterback?
Ready, Fire, Aim.
Tyson Bagent is a few more checkdowns away from basically becoming the accurate and conservative label. pic.twitter.com/jHIaVBrtwX— Opta Analyst US (@OptaAnalystUS) October 23, 2023
There’s our quarterback! Spearheading the flight up and away into Accurate & Aggressive.
Over on the other side of the map is Daniel Jones, Bryce Young, and a one-legged Joe Burrow. No thank you.
Geno’s fun. He’s actually quite good at quarterbacking. Offensive line and red zone play problems have compounded the issue - neither of those are his fault - which largely stems from some of the questionable decisions he makes (and those are his fault).
But it’s not really a relationship that can be divided. Smith has the arm strength to make the big throws, and he wants to make the big throws. When it works - which is far more often than not - it’s great. When he misses something, the turnover-worthy play conversation comes back to the fold.
Smith’s ability to maneuver inside the pocket, escape pressure, get the ball out on time, and improvise will all be on display in a pivotal game against the Browns. Hope he’s up to the challenge.