The Seahawks’ quarterback fight was going well in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL preseason. Both Geno Smith and Drew Lock had solid performances against the Steelers and were able to keep the offense moving for most of the contest.
The duo could not build on the positive momentum of the second week of the pre-season.
The Seahawks lost 27-11 to the Bears to kickstart the Week 2 preseason. Chicago dominated Seattle for most of the contest, building a 24-0 lead before the Seahawks were able to pick up some late points in trash times with their reserves.
Smith struggled throughout his half of the action and left the game in one fell swoop. Meanwhile, Lock was unable to play at all due to illness. It was expected to start on Thursday, before a positive COVID-19 test eliminated that chance.
As a result of these issues, Seattle’s quarterback fight looks the most choppy it has been in Week 3 preseason. It has also led to some Seahawks fans demanding an upgrade at the position.
— CROCK MAN⚡️ (@eric_crocker) August 19, 2022
What’s going on with Smith and Lock, and what could the Seahawks do if they’re not happy with their quarterback room? The Sporting News breaks it down.
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Geno Smith highlights, injury update
Smith played one half of the action in Seattle’s preseason game against Chicago. The Seahawks quarterback was only decent, completing 10 of 18 passes for 112 yards, but he couldn’t lead a scoring drive.
Smith had some nice deep passes that boosted his stats. His best throw of the night was a 41-yard smash into Penny Hart that put the Seahawks close to field goal.
— NFL (@NFL) August 19, 2022
That said, Smith struggled to generate consistent yards and completions. He’d hit a few balls at the line of scrimmage and was just a hair off with his accuracy.
Smith also suffered a minor bruised knee. Pete Carroll explained that Smith could have returned to the game if it weren’t the pre-season, that’s a positive for its availability in the future.
Despite this, Smith could not materially part ways with Lock, despite being given the opportunity to do so. That will make Seahawks fans less than enthusiastic about counting on him to start the 2022 NFL season.
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Does Drew Lock have COVID?
Lock was diagnosed with COVID on Tuesday. The news came shortly after he was named a starter for the second preseason competition.
Being left out was crucial for Lock as it didn’t allow him to show what he can do with the Seahawks’ top weapons. He didn’t start the game against the Steelers so now he only has one chance to start in Week 3 as he tries to take the job from veteran Smith.
Unfortunately, Carroll said Lock was “really sick” with COVID. Though the plan is to start him against Dallas on Friday, August 26, it’s unclear if he can recover ahead of the competition.
Lock may be taken off the COVID list on Sunday. His status will certainly be watched as he will likely have an impact on which quarterback starts the final game of the preseason.
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Other Seahawks QB options
The Seahawks may want to look elsewhere if neither Smith nor Lock stand out to wrap up the preseason. The selection is slim, but there are at least a few quarterbacks Seattle could target.
Below is an overview of the best potential options:
Garoppolo is the obvious target for the Seahawks if they want to rise as a quarterback. You’ve seen him put up solid numbers over the years with the 49ers, leading them to a 31-14 regular-season record in 45 starts.
Last year, Garoppolo completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Those numbers might not be top notch, but they’re better than what Seattle currently has on its list. Jimmy G also helped lead the 49ers to last year’s NFC Championship Game and the 2020 Super Bowl. So he can win with a quality supporting cast.
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Getting Garoppolo wouldn’t be easy for the Seahawks as the 49ers may be reluctant to sell him within the division. Still, giving Garoppolo an advantage would be better than sacking him for nothing, so perhaps the 49ers will strike a deal when the deadline for the 53-man roster (August 30) quickly approaches.
Minshew is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league and could eventually get a chance to start again. The 26-year-old passer has completed 63.2 percent of his career passes for 41 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. He’s accurate and doesn’t make mistakes, so in the right situation he can be an ideal game-leading starter.
The Eagles have shown no desire to trade with Minshew and they trail only Reid Sinnett and undrafted rookie Carson Strong on the depth chart. As such, Philadelphia could choose to keep Minshew as a top backup behind Jalen Hurts, but it wouldn’t hurt the Seahawks to at least ask about him.
Rudolph is like the anti-Minshew. He has a big arm and is accurate on deep passes, but he hasn’t always succeeded when called upon to start due to his turnover issues. In 17 games (10 starts), Rudolph had a total of 2,366 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a completion percentage of 61.5.
Still, Rudolph could be ideal for Seattle as he could often field the ball deep to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett appear to be ahead of Rudolph in the Steelers’ quarterback fight, so perhaps Pittsburgh will be willing to trade Rudolph. This would save them about $3 million in cap space.
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Unless the Seahawks are keen on trading for another quarterback, there is little choice in the free agent market. Newton represents the best option available, and there are questions as to whether the 2015 NFL MVP has anything left in the tank.
Newton was cut by the Patriots in favor of Mac Jones prior to last season but was eventually signed by the Panthers. There he started five games and completed 54.8 percent of his passes for 684 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions. He added 230 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, but the Panthers went 0-5 in his starts.
Newton has dealt with frequent shoulder and hand injuries since tearing his rotator cuff in 2016, so his arm may not be viable enough to make him an NFL quarterback. However, if the Seahawks want to add an experienced, mobile option to their quarterback room, they could call Newton.
Fitzpatrick only played half of football for Washington in 2021 before suffering a season-ending hip injury. The 39-year-old then retired after playing for nine different teams in his 17-year career.
The Seahawks could try to convince Fitzmagic not to retire and play for his 10th other roster. He has 147 starts to his name and has thrown 223 career touchdowns on 169 interceptions.
However, it’s hard to imagine Fitzpatrick coming out of retirement after his hip injury. Additionally, he’s never led a team to the playoffs and set a winning record in just two of the 15 years he’s started. He may not be the deciding factor the Seahawks would hope to land at quarterback.