Although it seems like it all paid off this week as he was announced as QB1 for the Seattle Seahawks heading into 2022.
Head coach Pete Carroll revealed the decision following their final preseason contest versus the Dallas Cowboys:
“Geno was solid in his outing and Geno is going to start in the opener. He has earned it, he won the job. I’m clear about that, so I just wanted to let you know, so everybody knows, so you don’t have to ask about it anymore.”
Smith had been competing with former Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock who Seattle traded for earlier this offseason. However, Lock contracted COVID during the preseason which Carroll said caused the “timing to mess up” in regards to his chances to win the job.
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According to Bob Glauber of Newsday, this will be the first time Smith has entered a season as the top quarterback since 2014 when he was in his second season with the Jets.
The former West Virginia product originally entered the league as the No. 39 overall pick in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Smith ended up playing and starting in all 16 games of his rookie season because veteran QB Mark Sanchez suffered a shoulder injury during the preseason versus the New York Giants.
Smith showed a ton of promise and followed it up with an up-and-down sophomore campaign. Although he ended it on a high note with the best game of his NFL career against the Miami Dolphins.
That seemingly set the bar for what could be a magical 2015 campaign. However, a disagreement between Smith and pass rusher IK Enemkpali changed the course of history that offseason.
Enemkpali ended up punching Smith in the face, breaking his jaw, and opening the door for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to seize the starting gig and he never looked back.
Fitzpatrick ended up having one of the greatest offensive seasons by a quarterback in Jets history on a loaded offense, armed with a talented defense, and delivered a 10-6 season. That is the only winning season for Gang Green in the last 11 years.
If Smith never gets punched and stays the starting quarterback, does he have that same level of success? The world may never know, but what we do know is that was his final leg of the race before Smith transitioned into a new role as a long-term backup quarterback in the NFL.
From Backup to Starter Again
For the next five years, Smith would bide his time as a clipboard holder for the Giants, Los Angeles Chargers, and most recently with the Seahawks.
The now 31-year-old patiently waited for his second whack at the pinata and he is finally getting his chance in Seattle.
Everything is in front of Smith heading into 2022. He has a golden opportunity to be a starter for an NFL team that has no current long-term answer at the position.
If Smith can pop in 2022 for Seattle, perhaps he can carve out a role as the guy for the foreseeable future.
He got a bad shake with the Jets and a few of his other stops. Some were self-inflicted and some weren’t, but the point is he can change his football destiny this season for better or for worse.