RENTON – The burning question about the 2022 Seahawks – who will be the starting quarterback? – is one that isn’t going to be doused anytime soon.
While the Seahawks are evaluating everything Geno Smith and Drew Lock do during the offseason program – which continued Thursday with the team’s fifth of nine scheduled OTAs (organized team activities) at the VMAC – no decisions will be made until deep into August, if then.
So what will be the ultimate determiner of who gets the job?
In what was his first news conference of the offseason, second-year offensive coordinator Shane Waldron said it’ll be a little bit of everything.
“I think really just the overall command of the position,” Waldron said. “Who gives us the best chance to win games when it comes to the fall.”
What does overall command of the position mean, Waldron was asked?
“I think understanding all of our concepts, understanding how the operation works, where all the concepts are intended to attack, understanding of the run game, understanding the cadence,” Waldron said. “All the things that go in to put yourself in position as a quarterback to make a play.”
The reference in the last topic to making a play may eventually loom the largest of all.
And that for now is something that’s hard to determine as the Seahawks are in a no-pads, no-contact portion of the offseason when the emphasis is on teaching.
As Waldron said, the goal for now is to pick up as much of the offense as possible to hit the ground running when training camp rolls around in late July.
“Right now, it’s just a good learning opp – this time of year, we’re in T-shirts and shorts – for them to really build that foundation where they can go into training camp, and put themselves in the best positions to compete,” Waldron said.
Maybe by then Seattle will have added someone else to the mix.
But for now, Seattle has three QBs on its roster in Smith, Lock and Jacob Eason, with what has been a pretty clear pecking order.
Smith, Russell Wilson’s backup the last three years, has generally run the first-team offense and Lock the second with Eason getting snaps where he can.
In the first two OTAs open to the media, Smith took all the snaps with the first team and Lock the second. But Thursday, Smith at times ran the second unit and Lock the first.
Waldron said that was by design and not indicative of any movement on the depth chart, noting there was some alternating of players with units throughout the entire team.
“We’ve really tried to do a good job of we’ve had the ones and twos, so to speak,” Waldron said. “But we’ve had a lot of mixing and matching of different guys getting their chances, not just at the quarterback position but all throughout our offense, so everyone can have that chance to be with the first group and get a chance to go with the second group and mix and match with different people and different teammates throughout the course of the practice.”
Eventually, Waldron said the team will come up with a plan of how to spread out the reps of the quarterbacks in camp and in preseason games to assure the best competition.
That’s not something Seattle has had to worry about since Wilson’s rookie year in 2012, when he won a competition with Matt Flynn for the starting job and held it until his trade in March.
And that figures to make Seattle’s three preseason games the three most interesting the team has had since 2012.
One thing Seattle could consider is giving each QB a start in the first two preseason games.
That’s something with which Lock is familiar – he started Denver’s first preseason game last year and Teddy Bridgewater the second as the two battled for the job. Bridgewater was then named the starter for the season following the second preseason game after leading TD drives on Denver’s first two possessions against the Seahawks.
Bridgewater held the job all season until suffering a concussion that held him out the last three games, which Lock then started.
If Seattle had to play a game today the nod would go to Smith, due mostly to his experience with the team and knowledge of the offense.
“Yeah, it definitely does,” Waldron said when asked if Smith’s experience with the Seahawks and second year in Waldron’s system shows up. “He’s got full command of the offense, knows everything that’s going on, understands all the concepts – all the run game concepts as well. So he’s done a great job. He did a great job when he was in that number two role of not just being in the role but preparing everyday like he was going to be the starter that week.”
But Waldron said Lock is doing what he can to catch up.
“I think Drew’s done a great job of really picking up the offense quickly,” Waldron said. “He’s got a great overall understanding of the game. And so he’s done a nice job of really starting from a little bit of a back seat right there, just the system, to really jumping in here and maximizing the time we’ve had out on the field.”
• Former Seahawk linebacker K.J. Wright attended the workout, watching from the sidelines and conversing at times with former teammates, coaches and others. Wright remains a free agent and has not ruled out attempting to play with an NFL team in 2022. Another former Seahawk, defensive end Cliff Avril, showed up to the practice later and Avril and Wright could each be seen talking with Seattle general manager John Schneider after the workout.
• One player who had not been seen in the previous two OTAs who was back on Thursday was third-year defensive end Alton Robinson. OTAs are voluntary and some veterans have not attended while rehabbing injuries, or some others who are not taking part in on-field drills to limit wear and tear. But the Seahawks expect all in attendance in one way or another for next week’s minicamp. Seattle will hold an OTA on Friday that is not open to the media before taking the weekend off and then prepping for the minicamp next week.
• The Seahawks on Thursday officially announced the signing of first-round pick Charles Cross, who is the front-runner to start at left tackle. His signing had been reported on Wednesday. Seattle has all but three of its draft picks now officially signed. Those who are not are second-rounders Boye Mafe and Ken Walker III and fourth-rounder Coby Bryant. But all have been taking part in OTAs.
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