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Why Geno Smith will improve in 2023

Everything is in place for Seattle’s breakout QB to break out again.

Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

At this time last year, the collective we had no idea what to expect. Geno Smith was unproven, Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson were unrostered for the first time in a decade, Tom Brady kept unretiring.

The Seattle Seahawks then doubled the predictions of quite a few, going 9-8 and not 4-13. Looking at the 2023 season, everything is different.

The biggest surprise of all, bar none, was Eugene Cyril Smith. From the first half of game one against the Denver Broncos, optimism was there for anyone with eyes to see it. Geno Smith then backed it up all year, nearly hitting the elusive 70% completion rate along the way.

I believe not only that Smith is legit, but is poised to at least match his success, if not improve for four reasons.

1 - Accuracy Matters

It’s really not that complicated - if you complete most of your passes, good things follow. This can obviously be negated throughout a game by bad sacks and horrendous decision making, or exclusively three-yard throws.

But Smith proved to not be interested in the underneath safety throws, posting his ridiculous 69.8% completion percentage at a respectable depth of target. He also excelled at the quick and intermediate game, even more so than his predecessor.

That above comparison is to rookie year Justin Herbert, which I like as a highlight of how Smith might grow through familiarity and experience as a starter, as well as offensive line progression.

2 - Sustained Drives

This is an interesting one. The goal is not to run the most offensive plays; the goal is to score points. If anyone on here is a UW or WSU fan, and watched the occasional matchup against the University of Oregon, they’ll know that Oregon’s famous for scoring multiple times on like three plays, but then failing late in games when sustained drives are needed.

Look for example at the Kansas City Chiefs halfway down the list at 19. That’s a much more explosive offense than Seattle’s, often times simply needing fewer plays to find the endzone.

But this is still a good mark in Smith’s favor - just look at the teams around them, Buffalo and Philadelphia. Not bad offenses. Look at Russell Wilson’s Denver. Bad offense.

A significant contributor was how good Geno was on third down last year. Even when the running backs couldn’t convert, Smith had such a proclivity to finding the sticks on third-and-short, it provided the Seahawks the opportunity to have such long scoring drives. Smith had a season passer rating of 100.9, and a third down rating of 104.6, which is exactly when you want your quarterback to elevate.

3 - Go Long, Tyler. Or DK. And Hopefully Jaxon.

I retweeted this during the offseason and still maintain that Smith had almost double the big throws as Justin Fields and so the author’s “not close” is really something.

As we mentioned before, not only is Geno a precise passer, he’s not remotely afraid of airing it out:

What this signifies to me, is that Geno Smith remains a perfect fit for what Pete Carroll wants to do with an offense. For a decade now, he’s maintained that he wants a balanced attack, with the ability to get explosive plays. Geno can do it, the receivers can absolutely do it, and Pete will let him do it.

Being this good at 40 yards in the air means that defenses will not be able to over-emphasize the middle of the field or the underneath stuff. Smith can do it all, and defenses have to respect that.

This is where the addition of Jaxon Smith-Njigba is significant. He certainly can go for big plays, as we saw immediately in the preseason, but what this will do for the overall balance of the Seattle passing attack is tantalizing. There are passes the team has forced to Metcalf for four years, that will probably be shifted away in favor of JSN, and more big-play looks for Metcalf. The personnel upgrade and scheme fit for Smith leaves him in the perfect position to have another stellar season.

4 - Leadership

This is not quantifiable, but it’s still significant. Smith had a life-changing career season, got paid, and reportedly went to work like a rookie this offseason.

I think he’s a tremendous competitor and has the trust of his teammates. There’s nothing from a locker room standpoint that will prevent Smith from giving full attention to 2023.

I’m all in for a Geno Smith repeat performance. Enjoy the ride, everyone.