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Pete Carroll identifies leadership at quarterback as a strength for the Seahawks

He praised Geno Smith’s strength and leadership at his most recent presser.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

The 2023 NFL season has ended unceremoniously for the Seattle Seahawks with a fun but ultimately meaningless victory over their NFC West foes, the Arizona Cardinals. Despite the fact that they will be watching the entirety of the playoffs from home this year, Seattle finished with its second consecutive 9-8 record. This is clearly quite impressive following the blockbuster trade that resulted in Geno Smith taking over as the presumptive starter at quarterback. As we have been reminded time and time again, this move was supposed to signal Jody Allen, John Schneider, and Pete Carroll hitting the reset button and positioning themselves for a rebuild.

Clearly, that was not the plan they had in mind.

While their success last season was shocking to many, their repeat was hardly as impressive this year. As they dropped winnable game after winnable game, questions persisted about the direction and leadership of this team. Evidently, this seems to be among the least of Pete Carroll’s concerns. When asked on his Seattle Sports 710 radio show about the strengths of the team, Pete praised the quarterback position in particular, which you can read below.

This may come as a mild surprise to some, as a subset of fans and analysts pointed to the performance of Geno Smith as a focal point for the team’s decline; indeed, he was not able to put up the same kind of statistical numbers as he did last year, but the offensive line was basically the football equivalent of this:

Despite playing behind a patchwork O-line, he managed to let his talent shine through in moments where he demonstrated why he was once such a coveted prospect. Even still, his perceived inconsistency has led to myriad questions about what direction the organization would go at signal caller this offseason. Which is fair; even impressive individual performances can’t mask the fact that this squad was far from Super Bowl caliber.

I don’t think Carroll is trying to cover for the fact that the offense underwhelmed and at times looked straight up bad. Rather, he is indicating what a lot of us saw during the season: Geno Smith is not the problem. While it is fair to question what level of success this team can achieve with him as their leader, it is also fair to recognize that Pete’s praise of Geno isn’t lip service, it is hard-earned and well-deserved. It isn’t a guarantee of who will be under center next fall or a direct indication of how the team will approach the position this offseason, but it at least indicates that the team sees stability at the position that matters most.