Getty Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and QB Geno Smith.
Pete Carroll is known for his relentless positivity. His infectious energy and seemingly constant affirmations are some of the reasons he has become a national champion coach and Super Bowl winner at the college and professional levels. So when he spoke openly about Geno Smith and his lack of consistency this season, it “surprised” former Seattle Seahawks linebacker KJ Wright.
KJ Wright translates Pete Carroll’s QB comments
Retired Seahawks star KJ Wright joined Brock Huard and Mike Salk for their weekly conversation on Seattle Sports Radio this week, and the hosts played former linebacker Pete Carroll’s quotes about Geno Smith after the team’s dramatic 29-26 win about the Washington Commanders in Week 10.
“He was a little more consistent last year,” Carroll said. “I think we’ve seen a little more consistency from game to game.”
The coach went on to say Smith played “great football” in Week 10 and praised his cool, calm demeanor in a close game. Still, Wright — who played for Carroll from 2011 to 2020 — found the fact that Carroll started out somewhat negative interesting.
“That’s a billion percent true,” Wright said of Carroll’s conflicting assessment of Smith. “Are you from Coach Carroll? I was a little surprised to hear that from Coach Carroll. Normally he stays present. Usually stays in the moment.”
After playing for Carroll for a decade, Wright knows what his former head coach was up to.
“What’s the idea here? [Carroll saying]“I want to see the old Geno.” I want to see a consistent Geno. “I don’t want to see any turnovers, Geno,” Wright translated. “Obviously in the last few games he hasn’t been the Geno that we’re all used to, so he just wanted him to be more consistent and I think when he says that he means the turnovers. ”
These turnovers are slightly worse this season, but the team and its QB are in a similar situation to last season. The biggest difference between 2022 and 2023 is that Smith isn’t going full throttle like he was last year.
“Consistency” isn’t really Geno Smith’s main problem in 2023
Entering Week 11 last season – the Seahawks’ bye week – Seattle was 6-4 this season. This team is 6-3 and the bye is certain. As for Smith, his turnovers and completion rate are currently worse.
In 2022, Smith had 11 interceptions all season and just 4-10 weeks. He has 7 picks in 2023 in nine games. He also completed a league-leading 69.8% of his passes in his first season as the Seahawks’ starter, but is connecting on just 65.3% of his throws this year.
Smith’s PFF grades for last season were 79.8 overall, 76.1 in passing and 82.8 in rushing. This season they are at 75.3 overall, 75.0 passing and 58.7 rushing. The last number is interesting.
In 2022, Smith ran 33 times for 306 yards. In nine games this season, the Seahawks QB has completed just 11 scrambles for 71 yards, putting him on pace at 21 for 131 yards. That’s 175 yards lost and honest defense this season.
Digging deeper into the numbers, it appears that Smith was actually more “inconsistent” in terms of ups and downs last season, according to his PFF grades.
Smith has three games this season with a PFF rating in the 50s, the rest are all in the 70s, meaning he was pretty good in those games and not great – but not terrible either – in the 50s. In 2022, Smith had three games in the 90s, one in the 80s, two in the 70s, eight in the 60s and four in the 50s, including two games in the low 50s, which were worse than anything he had this season has made.
While Carroll Smith’s weaker play this season could be framed as a consistency issue, it’s really about not reaching the heights he reached last year, particularly in the first half of last year’s season.
The good news is that Smith played one of his best games of the year in Week 10, beating the Commanders with a game-winning performance and rushing for a career-high 369 yards. This could be a sign that Smith is on the rise and his best ball is still ahead of him in 2023 and early 2024.
Tim Crean covers the NFL for Heavy.com, with a focus on the Seattle Seahawks. He began writing about sports in 2016 and has covered the NFL, NBA, soccer, sports media and more, with bylines at ClutchPoints, Sportscasting and The NIL Deal. More about Tim Crean
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